You wouldn’t leave the freezer door open

Why aisle containment matters for data centre cooling

When trying to decide whether aisle containment is right for you to enhance your data centre cooling system, and whether it’s a good investment, think of leaving your freezer door open as a useful analogy. With rapid climate change and sizzling temperatures, your freezer will have to work harder to keep food cool. If you leave the door open all day, every day, it’ll have to work harder still. This can guarantee two results. Firstly, your freezer is likely not to last as long and may require more maintenance. Secondly, hot air will mix with the cold air, and the temperature will creep up and ruin your food.

The same applies to your data centre. You may put measures in place whereby you have fewer windows and paint them to reflect light and heat, and install a good air conditioning system, but you may not have considered implementing an aisle containment solution for data centre cooling. An aisle containment solution works like your freezer door – it contains cold air (or it can vent hot air away if you choose hot aisle containment), ensuring your air conditioning unit is not put under stress and continues to perform at optimum efficiency.

What is aisle containment?

Aisle containment is implemented to help stop your servers going into meltdown. It stops hot server exhaust air from mixing with the cold air created by your air conditioning by containing airflow. There are two methods of aisle containment, described below, cold aisle containment and hot aisle containment.

Cold aisle containment provides a barrier to prevent infiltration of hot air into the aisle

Reducing energy consumption has become an increasing concern with focus on various data cooling solutions. Cold aisle containment works by restricting the loss of cold air. Cold air is contained in the data centre aisle by bespoke-made doors and roofs and server racks are lined up in such a way so all server exhausts face away from the aisle (ensuring hot air is kept outside the aisle, preventing it from mixing with cold air). There are various different door and roof options available. Cross-Guard has recently launched its latest aluminium cold aisle solution, which is lighter, smarter and takes less time to install.

Example of cold aisle containment

Hot aisle containment guides hot air back to the AC return

Hot aisle containment also consists of roof and door options like cold aisle but the roof is constructed from up-panels. Server cabinets are lined up in the opposite way to how they are with cold aisle – hot server exhausts face into the aisle and cold air intake is on the outside. All the hot air is forced into the aisle and then vented away via a plenum so it cannot mix with the cold air. In some data centres, if the set-up accommodates it, the hot air which is vented away can even be re-used as part of the building’s central heating.

Example of hot aisle containment

Why aisle containment is becoming increasingly popular

Aisle containment solutions drive return on investment, helping you lower your energy consumption while increasing power usage effectiveness (PUE). Through aisle containment, you can maintain acceptable temperature levels in your data centre while using less energy. Global warming is becoming an increasing concern and keeping your servers cool is a priority in order to ensure they function well and their lifespan is increased. Sources suggest the average global temperature could rise 5.8 degrees by 2100, and already alarming changes are taking place.

Data centre cooling accounts for up to 50% of our overall energy consumption. Not only will containment bring millions of pounds worth of savings, it’ll also reduce our carbon footprint.

Why choose Cross-Guard for cold and hot aisle containment

With over 15 years’ experience, Cross-Guard delivers solutions that work for you. Our products are of the highest quality, built to last, and bespoke to your needs with the option of steel or aluminium for our cold aisle. We pride ourselves in providing practical solutions while also helping you create a data centre space you can be proud of. We have worked with many prestigious and well-known brands to help them achieve their energy-efficiency goals.

If you’d like to know how much we can save you with our hot and cold aisle containment solutions, give us a call on 02081 089 328 or drop us an email to using Code Contain1 to receive our best price.


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