Cross-Guard delivers value and energy savings to various industries through aisle containment solutions for data centres. Working with one of the largest mobile network operators and a well-known global brand that delivers cloud and networking services, Cross-Guard has helped to drive return on investment, increase power usage effectiveness (PUE) and reduce carbon emissions by implementing a cold aisle containment system.
Energy efficiency: a key focus for telecommunications
As with any sector using high amounts of energy to operate, telecommunications is always under pressure to find new and innovative ways to reduce energy consumption and to look at greener alternatives. Award ceremonies and events celebrate the success of network operators that embrace alternatives for energy efficiency. A recent example is Telefonica winning a GLOMO award for their 100% renewable energy plan. The introduction of 5G will also bring new capabilities while driving higher energy efficiency.
Many companies within the telecommunications sector have started looking at the way their business operates, implementing energy-efficient cooling solutions for their servers. Cooling solutions are critical to keeping servers at ambient temperatures but, given climate change that sees us experiencing hotter weather, air conditioning units are required to work extra hard, consuming high amounts of energy in the process.
Defining aisle containment
An aisle containment solution consists of secure doors and roof panels to contain your data centre aisle. There are two different aisle containment systems – cold aisle containment and hot aisle containment. The goal of any aisle containment solution is to reduce the amount of energy needed to cool your servers, generating cost savings while reducing your carbon footprint. For the purpose of this article, we will look at cold aisle containment, which has been used within telecommunications with proven results.
Cold aisle containment – how it works
Think of your freezer door as a useful analogy of how aisle containment works. Your freezer generates cold air and, if you leave the door open, it’ll need to work harder, using more energy. The same applies to your data centre. Without using secure doors and roof panels to contain the output of your air conditioning unit, ensuring minimal air is wasted and efforts are directed on the servers, cold air can disperse and mix with hot air. This means you’ll need to drop the temperature setting on your air conditioning or make it dispense cold air quicker.
By lining up server cabinets so the hot air exhausts from your server face away from the aisle, cold air is contained within your data centre aisle, and the resulting hot air is unable to mix. Not only does this extend the life of IT equipment, it also means the air conditioning system doesn’t need to work as hard so energy bills will decrease.
Aisle containment for network operators within the telecommunications sector
So what does aisle containment mean for the telecommunications sector? As mentioned previously, Cross-Guard teamed up with a leading network operator and installed a cold aisle containment system for their data centres. The client benefited from improved power usage effectiveness and return on investment. In addition, the cold aisle containment system reduced hot spots, allowing the client to install more equipment if needed. By reducing power consumption, the client has contributed a positive impact on the environment and can be viewed as a responsible supplier by its consumer base and stakeholders.
Proven results of cold aisle containment
A good example of how cold aisle containment can deliver great results is our case study on Digital Realty. You can click the link to read the case study in-depth, but a summary is provided below for the purpose of this article.
The aim: increasing energy efficiency using cold aisle containment
Cross-Guard’s client Digital Realty measured data from their legacy facility before Cross-Guard installed three cold aisle containment systems. Measurements were also taken at intervals after installation to see the extent of improvements in energy efficiency.
The results: increased energy efficiency for server cooling
- The power usage effectiveness measurement decreased from 1.85 to 1.55, a significant improvement
- Return on investment was achieved in approximately 5 months with savings of £118,500 per year
- During the assessment, IT load grew from around 350kW to 550kW
- Ambient temperatures maintained between 24-27°C
Further information on data centre cooling solutions and aisle containment
You’ll find various other articles and pages on our website detailing the benefits of aisle containment alongside tips for data centre cooling. If you would like to discuss a specific project, you can always give us a ring on 02081 089 328 and we’d be happy to help with your enquiry.