Creating HVAC Diversity In Your Data Center

Oct 27 2014

If you look back just a few years ago, you’d see a completely different kind of data center platform. The old days of data center deployment revolved around racks filled with servers, network and storage components. How is it different now?

New types of converged systems are directly impacting the modern data center and all of the workloads that it houses. Evolution around server technologies, software-defined platforms, and mobility have all changed the way we consume data center resources. Another big component of the data center that has been impacted by this change is the environmental—control, power requirements, and of course cooling systems. By extension, diversity within your data center also means having diversity within your cooling options. Let’s examine a few ways to achieve this diversity.

  • Upgrade your air – with an in-place upgrade. Airflow and control is a critical part of any data center. That’s why it gets its own section. Many times upgrading air handlers within a data center is an absolute pain. Many air handlers are tucked away in remote corners of buildings with severe egress constraints. Furthermore, significant deconstruction and reconstruction to remove an old air handler and bring in a like-for-like replacement can be cost-prohibitive. Now modern data center and facility managers have the ability to deploy modular air handlers which are sized to navigate your existing doorways, elevators and other access points.Solutions for renovation, expansions and upgrades are a specialty of Nortek Air Solutions. The compact unit footprints, custom configurations, knockdown options and modular construction possible with our systems can help reduce installation and replacement costs where access or space is limited. And that can result in more white space in a data center. In addition, the energy efficiency of our upgrade solutions will help data center managers reduce the operating costs compared to outdated, inefficient equipment. Of specific interest for data centers upgrades, Nortek Air Solutions offers solutions that include FANWALL TECHNOLOGY® for legacy CRAH and CRAC units to improve air flow, efficiency and reliability.
  • Get creative with HVAC – incorporate free cooling! Everyone loves free! Free cooling concepts offers some of the biggest savings for data center cooling systems by using the natural evaporative effect of cool outdoor air instead of mechanical cooling. Already, there are several types of energy-saving options including indirect and direct evaporative cooling units (IDEC and DEC), air-side economizers and water-side economizers. In working with HVAC alternatives for your data center – look for free cooling technologies capable of advanced controls, humidification management and filtration options to take the best advantage of free cooling opportunities.
  • Next-gen DCIM means complete data center cooling control. Creating HVAC diversity starts with having direct visibility into your data center. Now, next-generation data center infrastructure management (DCIM) solutions are absolutely critical to having dynamic cooling optimization within your data center. New, energy-centric platforms, now help increase data center energy efficiency, asset utilization and uptime. These DCIM solutions offer the tools to integrate active monitoring of white space and rack-level temperature and airflow into the controls of mechanical cooling equipment, either using third-party building management systems (BMS) or on a standalone basis, to optimize system performance. Proactive DCIM solutions give your data center the capabilities for real-time and continuous monitoring of white space, rack level temperatures and airflow.

There are so many ways that a data center can continue to evolve and grow. Even now more applications are being deployed within the modern data center to support an ever-changing business world. Consider the following from Cisco’s latest Cisco Global Cloud Index:

  • Quantitatively, the impact of cloud computing on data center traffic is clear. It is important to recognize that most Internet traffic has originated or terminated in a data center since 2008.
  • Data center traffic will continue to dominate Internet traffic for the foreseeable future, but the nature of data center traffic is undergoing a fundamental transformation brought about by cloud applications, services, and infrastructure.
  • The importance and relevance of the global cloud evolution is highlighted by one of the top-line projections from this updated forecast: By 2017 sixty-nine percent, or over two-thirds of data center traffic, will be cloud traffic.

This means there will be more communication flowing through the data center while systems will be tasked with supporting an even greater number of users. Moving forward, your data center will need to create flexible cooling and environmental control solutions to keep pace with a very changing business ecosystem. Remember, the efficiency of your entire data center will directly impact how well your business processing are moving forward.
To learn more about data center cooling solutions or dynamic cooling optimization software, contact datacenterinfo@nortek.com.

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