Top mistakes data centre operators make trying to save energy on cooling

When operating a data centre, or managing a chain of data centres, there are increasing pressures to manage energy efficiency, especially where data centre cooling is concerned. Data centre cooling devices consume high volumes of energy due to the amount of cold air required to keep servers at ambient temperatures. Below is a list of the top mistakes that are made while trying to save energy for data centre cooling. To optimise data centre cooling to the maximum, you should avoid the following pitfalls and invest in a cold aisle containment solution.

MAKING THE AIR-CONDITIONING UNIT (ACU) WORK HARDER TO COOL THE DATA CENTRE

Where ambient server temperatures are not maintained, the immediate solution is often to set the temperature lower on the ACU and make your existing cooling system work harder. Additional cooling units may also be installed to aid the data centre cooling process.

Approaching data centre cooling this way doesn’t tackle the core problem: the mixing of the cold air from the ACU and hot server exhaust air. It also doesn’t manage the airflow so it is distributed as needed, keeping energy consumption to a minimum. Making your ACU work harder to cool your data centre may work as a quick fix in the immediate moment, but the costs of higher energy bills and maintenance for the cooling units outweighs the benefits.

Cross-Guard’s Coolgenic cold aisle containment is a longer term solution. The cold aisle system aids data centre cooling by effectively managing airflow, segregating hot and cold air. This means your cooling units do not need to work harder. Return on investment is a core benefit of implementing any aisle containment system.

SETTING UP FANS TO COOL THE REAR OF SERVER RACKS

It can be alarming to measure temperatures at the rear of server racks, and data centre managers can often become concerned. It’s tempting to use fans at the rear of server racks to help with cooling. However, this can have a detrimental effect, as it encourages hot and cold air to mix even further.

It’s important to remember that to be successful in cooling your data centre, you should focus on controlling, managing and separating airflow streams, rather than focus on continually dropping the temperature to account for the mixing of hot and cold air. Data centre cooling is essential for ensuring servers continue to operate at safe temperature levels.

EXCESSIVE PERFORATED TILES WASTE DATA CENTRE COOLING CAPACITY

Installing too many perforated tiles in your data centre could be detrimental to the cooling process due to allowing freer airflow. It’s important to restrict any form of openings so the temperature and airflow in your data centre can be controlled effectively.

LEAKS UNDER THE RAISED FLOOR AFFECT DATA CENTRE COOLING

It’s important you conduct regular inspections of the raised floor in your data centre, including underneath, and keep it in a good state of repair. Cold air can leak from the plenum under the raised floor, which can result in loss of pressure and infiltration of warm air. In addition, not sealing data centre raised floor openings, ie. cable openings, can allow the escape of cold air, which is wasted energy for data centre cooling.

TEMPERATURE AND HUMIDITY SENSORS NOT CORRECTLY CALIBRATED FOR DATA CENTRE COOLING

If temperature and humidity sensors are poorly calibrated, then data centre cooling units are not being managed as effectively as they could be. This means your data centre cooling strategy becomes inefficient as far as energy efficiency and cost savings are concerned.

EMPTY CABINET SPACES HINDER COOLING OF YOUR DATA CENTRE

Having empty cabinet spaces can skew the balance of airflow, causing cold air to become lost, and making the ACU work harder to cool your data centre.

In conclusion, there are a variety of ways you can improve your data centre cooling to avoid these pitfalls. Cold aisle containment is a popular choice to overcome some of these data centre cooling challenges. If you’d like expert advice on cold aisle containment, or how to improve cooling for your data centre, you can always ring the Cross-Guard team on +44 (0)20 8108 9328 or email sales@cross-guard.com.

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