Over 65% of IT equipment failures are directly attributed to inadequate, poorly maintained or failed air conditioning in the server room. Data centers produce too much heat that damages the hardware. Keeping data centers cool for maximum efficiency consumes a lot of power. Therefore, most data centers are embracing innovative ways to keep their rooms cool. Most data centers have installed cold or hot aisle containment to address these challenges. However, the problem is deciding whether to go for hot or cold aisle containment.
Hot or cold aisle containment are design layouts used in computing equipment such as server racks in data center. They are used to manage airflow, hence lower cooling costs and conserve energy.
Ultimately, whether you choose hot or cold aisle containment, the goal is the same. They both increase cooling capacity and reduce operating costs. This improves the data center environment. Since each data center is unique, it is important to understand the difference between these two containment systems. Eventually, you will be in a better position to make an informed decision.
Cold Aisle Containment
Cold Aisle containment system has ceiling partition and doors at aisle end that provide physical barriers to contain airflow. The doors prevent air leakage from the aisle. As a result, you will have uniform airflow and controlled temperature at the intake. Cold Aisle containment eliminates hot spots that hinder efficiency in data center operating conditions.
This containment system encloses cold aisles in data centers. Cold air is directed to each cold aisle with proper control and server airflow requirements. A physical barrier is added to the cold aisle top and ends. Physical barriers include plastic curtains, metal panels, and glass.
The good thing with cold aisle containment is that they do not need a raised floor for overhead ducted supply or raised supply plenums.
Hot Aisle Containment
Hot aisle containment system (HAC) direct hot exhausts to AC return using a physical barrier. Warm air rises naturally which is an added advantage to this system. HAC increases not only energy but also increase cooling capacity. The system isolates hot exhaust air from server racks, hence increasing the cooling capacity of the computer room air conditioning system. This ensures that the hot exhaust air does not mix with cold air on its way back to the AC coil.
A hot aisle containment system encloses hot aisles in a data center. Air from the data center equipment goes into the hot aisles. It is then returned to the cooling equipment through a ductwork or ceiling plenum. Cold air is supplied into the room from AC units through ductwork or raised floor to the general space.
Hot aisle containment allows the data center room to remain cool. Low-density spaces can be uncontained. With hot aisle containment, it is less critical to distribute air supply.
Aisle containment systems are designed to reduce data center operating cost and optimize performance. They use innovative technology to eliminate exhaust air and manage airflow. Whether you choose hot or cold aisles containment, they are both energy-efficient and are cost-effective. They provide numerous benefits to your data center environment.
Benefits of Aisle containment
The supply of a cooling system can be set much higher while maintaining a suitable temperature for safe operation. Lack of aisle containment can cause hotspots that occuring when cold air becomes hot before getting to the IT equipment. To avoid danger of hotspots, you need to set cooling systems much lower. Aisle containment ensures that the temperature of air at the IT inlet and that at the cooling system is the same.
Another advantage is that you can save energy by using economizer mode. The economizer turns the cooling system off when indoor temperature is lower than outside temperatures.
Aisle containment also reduces humidification and dehumidification costs. It increases the temperature of air supply such that cooling system temperatures will be above the dew point. When air temperature is maintained above the dew point, it removes humidity from your room. This reduces strain humidification system that saves water and energy.
In conclusion, deciding whether to choose hot or cold aisle containment can be a challenging task. While hot aisle containment boasts of efficiency, cold aisle containment is cheaper and easy to implement.