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Today’s IT equipment is more robust than ever, and new standards developed by ASHRAE are encouraging us to turn up the heat in our data centers. But that’s a daunting prospect for many data center managers who have spent their careers doing just the opposite.
In White paper No. 199, “How to Fix Hot Spots in the Data Center,” by Schneider Electric Data Center Science Center research analyst Paul Lin, he asserts that data centers often have excess installed cooling capacity, particularly when the cooling capacity is determined by the rated “nameplate” capacity of the IT equipment.
And still, many data centers are experiencing hot spots, which prevent many clients from raising space temperatures because they are managing them to the lowest common denominator — in this case, the hot spots within the room.
Hot Spot Reality
The real reason most hot spots occur in a data center is due to the inadequate distribution of cooling capacity — not because of inadequate cooling capacity or excessive heat load.
More often than not, there is enough cooling capacity but not enough of the cooling capacity can get to where it’s needed due to the lack of airflow management.
Good data center design practices combined with the ability to monitor and control your data center environmental condition (temperature and, where appropriate, static pressure) will enable you to properly balance your airflow and eliminate hot spots in your data center.
The ability to provide uniform cooling conditions throughout your data center environment will, in turn, allow you to comfortably raise your space temperatures without the fear of having a hot spot that would exceed the desired inlet air temperature of the IT equipment within your data center.
Cooling Performance Impact
The installation of an environmental control system can have a huge impact on the data center cooling system performance.
Not to mention, it could also free up stranded capacity and help avoid unnecessary capital expenditures to support future load growth.
One customer that deployed an environmental control system in their data center portfolio saw incredible results.
It started with balancing the air distribution in the white space, which resulted in the removal of 50 percent of the perforated floor tiles in the white space. With uniform space temperatures achieved throughout the data center, this allowed them to increase the supply air temperature and chilled water temperatures.
The end result, the PUE was reduced from 1.8 to 1.6 and they achieved a payback on the investment in less than one-and-a-half years.
Data center airflow management is an easy and cost effective way to eliminate hot spots and can lead to significant operating expense reductions and the avoidance of the unnecessary capital expense associated with adding more cooling capacity.
Please visit the Schneider Electric website for information about our StruxureWare Cooling Optimize software and learn how this product dynamically eliminates hot spots and saves energy through intelligent cooling control.