Implement Containment for Energy Savings
Airflow Containment refers to the practice of segregating the aisles of a data centre so that hot exhaust air from servers does not mix with incoming cold air, while also more efficiently directing airflow into or out of the data centre floor. According to the Uptime Institute’s 2014 Data Center Industry Survey, only 30% of operators have at least 3/4 of their data centre using some form of containment. Less than half of all survey respondents had at least 50% of their data centre heat contained.
The leaves a lot of white space without any form of containment, which is one of the best ways to improve energy efficiency and translates into a more reliable environment as well as direct cost saving.
Airflow containment remains a significant upfront investment that data centre operations teams might not consider, especially at smaller providers or in-house facilities.
ASHRAE has increased the recommended data centre floor temperature, but very high temps (over 100 degrees F) can often lead to equipment failure. Over-cooling, on the other hand, is very expensive when your are pumping Cool Air through tens of thousands of square feet.
In addition to improving cooling efficiency by upto 40% containment also eliminates “HOT SPOTS” in the data centre, or at least minimizes them, Hot spots are areas where hot air pools, causing equipment problems. Containment allows economizers or free cooling equipment for more hours per year, while cooling systems can also operate above the dew point temperature, reducing the use of humidifiers or dehumidifiers on the floor.
What solution can it provide?
Aisles can have partial containment or full containment as well as cold aisle or hot aisle containment.
A partial containment might be as simple as adding plastic flaps to the end of your aisles. Even this small step can have an impact on efficiency. With a partial containment solution, airflow can still get around the edges and tops of your aisles, but each aisle has its hot exhaust air facing another hot aisle.
A Full Containment involves sealing off the entire cabinet with doors at the end and barriers blocking the top of the cabinet to the ceiling.