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Be One "Cool" Sleuth. Identify and Solve The Case of Data Center Cooling Culprits

November 12, 2020

In air-cooled data center and enterprise computer rooms, one of the most cost-effective methods of reducing cooling costs is implementing disciplined airflow management practices to isolate and separate hot and cold air within the room. 

Optimizing cooling performance is also a primary operational challenge. In air-cooled data centers, the key to reducing cooling costs and OPEX is to understanding how changes in the site impact cooling, and how airflow management can be used as a tool for optimization.

 It begins with first identifying causes of cooling issues.

Identifying Causes of Cooling Issues in Your Data Center

There are several factors that impact airflow in your data center white space.
  • Shape and size of the room
  • Raised floor and ceiling heights
  • Locations, types and settings of cooling units
  • Location and open are of perforated tiles
  • Location and open area of cutouts
  • Location and size of under-floor obstructions
  • Location, orientation, heat load and airflow of cabinets
  • Location and size of above-floor obstructions
Every situation is unique. But, there is an answer, regardless of what factor or factors you're dealing with. Enter Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling software.

What is the Value of CFD Modeling Software?

By definition, CFD models use numerical analysis and data structures to analyze and solve problems that involve fluid flows. In terms of the factors listed above, CFD modeling software simulates all of these to help you visualize temperature distribution, airflow patterns and pressure differentials. 

CFD modeling is a crucial tool for identifying causes of cooling issues, like unsealed openings in raised floor tiles, through visual analysis and can supply before-and-after images that actually measure the impact of your changes prior to deployment. Take a look at just two examples of CFD modeling below in Figures 1 and 2.

Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling Software
Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling Software
CFD modeling will assist in creating an optimized installation based on better airflow, maximized network equipment performance and the elimination of wasteful power usage and cooling techniques. These insights provide clear direction for devising an intentional airflow management strategy, which ultimately helps to ensure optimal efficiency and operation before timely and costly construction begins. 

This may beg the question, don't you feel the temperature variation in the room? Sure, but in large, complex data centers, often times it's not easy to know the most effective step to take to fix the problem. Questions like, is moving equipment necessary, or is airflow containment appropriate and if so, what method should I use, may be addressed with CFD modeling so that you can see the impact before taking action.

To learn more about this fundamental optimization tool and other key steps to optimize your data center cooling, access the full report at this link: "Data Center Airflow Management Basics: Key Steps for Optimizing Cooling Performance."

Posted by Brittany Mangan, Digital Content Specialist at 11/12/2020 12:38:01 PM
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