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How Do I Keep My Smaller Telecom Rooms Cool?

January 16, 2009

We recently received a question from our blog audience about this article CPI Passive Cooling™ Solutions Dispel Common Heat Management Theories that is worthy of special mention since several of you may have similar concerns.

Question: With all this talk about data center cooling, obviously where most of the power consumption is, what is being considered for smaller telecom rooms? IE, 1-4 Cisco 3750's in one TR. When you have 100 rooms of this size on a campus, power is still a concern. What mitigating factor, aside from turning down the A/C, is there available? Is anyone looking into it? Posted 1/12/2009 4:53 PM

NSI_INGRAM_MF_COMPTR.jpgAnswer: Unfortunately, these small TR’s are not getting anywhere near the attention that the big multi-megawatt data centers are, as you probably suspected, by your question. The basic principles for efficient equipment cooling are still the same, however, whether we are talking about hundreds of cabinets and megawatts of power or if we are only talking about a single rack. You do what you can to keep your supply air and return air as isolated from each other as possible.

For example, my wife has a “data center” in her small business that fits in one cabinet, which sits in a small multi-purpose office. The rear of the cabinet sits just in front of a ceiling return air grill, so most of her exhaust heat is captured in that return air path before it does much mixing with the rest of the chilled air in the room. So any location strategy like that, in combination with the ubiquitous blanking panels in all unused rack mount spaces will help with that separation and therefore reduce waste and keep a nice temperature rise going back to the AC. Also, the better you can do with that separation, the more room you have to work with to raise your AC set points, because you are not feeding that exhaust air into your switches.

Remember also to check your switches’ environmental specifications – most switches will have higher inlet temperature specifications than most servers. Finally, in spaces where no conditioned air is available, you might want to look at the non-condensing self-contained AC units from Kooltronic or Stulz that can be mounted on the side or top of a cabinet. Again, to maximize the efficiency of these units, you’ll want to be sure you’ve got structures inside the cabinet that help to separate the supply path from the return path.

 Cabinet-With-AC-Drawing.jpg This drawing represents a solution created by our Custom Products Group. The cabinet incorporates space for an air conditioning unit. 

You can find more information in our White Paper Library. Also, feel free to call us at 800-934-4969. We have many employee owners who specialize in helping you keep your cool. Ian Seaton, Technology Marketing Manager

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