How to Use Aisle Containment to Increase Data Center Efficiency

For years, organizations have been using hot-aisle/cold-aisle configurations to manage airflow in the data center, extend the life of equipment and lower cooling costs. In a hot-aisle/cold-aisle layout, the fronts of the server racks face each other and draw in cold air to cool the equipment. The backs of the servers also face each other, so that hot exhaust air is less likely to be drawn into the front of the equipment and cause overheating. The Department of Energy estimates that this configuration reduces fan use by up to 25 percent.

However, a hot-aisle/cold-aisle configuration is not enough to meet today’s demandsBecause space is often at a premium, organizations are packing more and more equipment into their data centers. They are also adopting more high-performance servers to support data analytics, artificial intelligence and other demanding applications. Traditional computer room air conditioning (CRAC) systems can’t keep up with the amount of heat being generated.

One of the most effective way to optimize energy efficiency in the data center is to install an aisle containment system. The hot-aisle/cold-aisle layout remains, but cold air and hot air are isolated by partitioning off each aisle. Aisle containment prevents the mixing of hot and cold air, and dramatically reduces the amount of space that needs to be cooled. Organizations can increase the computing capacity of the data center without the risk of hotspots and overheating.

In-row cooling can boost the efficiency of aisle containment even further. One or more cooling units is placed within the row of cabinets, cooling the space within the aisle containment enclosure rather than the entire room. Cold air is focused on the equipment with minimal loss. CRAC units can be set to a higher temperature for substantial energy savings.

Many data centers were built 20 years ago, and organizations are facing the need to upgrade their air handlers and CRAC units to support growing equipment densities. Organizations can forego those upgrades by installing aisle containment and in-row cooling, potentially saving millions of dollars in capital costs. Aisle containment can also be installed on a project-by-project basis to support high-performance equipment, or used to create data center space in a warehouse or other “whitespace.”

It pays to bring in experts to design your aisle containment system. There are a number of variables, and one small miscalculation can derail the entire project. Rahi Systems partners with Enconnex to deploy aisle containment solutions. The Enconnex team consults with each customer to determine the heat load of the equipment, and the ideal size and placement of cabinets in the aisle. Enconnex then puts together a customized kit that includes the cabinets, roof panels, side doors, and airflow and cable management features.

Enconnex also offers a highly efficient in-row cooling solution, as well as cabinet components, accessories, and power and connectivity solutions. By partnering with Rahi Systems and Enconnex, customers gain a one-stop shop for all of their data center infrastructure needs.

Many organizations are finding that traditional approaches to data center heat management are no longer adequate. Let us show you how aisle containment can optimize cooling efficiency and enable your existing data center to support greater computing capacity.

About the Author

Marcus Doran – VP and GM at Rahi Systems, Europe

Marcus Doran is an experienced data center infrastructure sales professional with 20 years’ experience in sales growth, revenue generation and new business development. He joined Rahi Systems in April 2016. Through his three-decade career, Marcus has worked all over Ireland, the Middle East and the UK as a Sales Manager, a Channel Manager and a Major Account Manager.

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