How New Environmental Concepts Are Being Defined By Your Data Center Rack

Feb 9 2015
Big change is happening within the modern data center as new server platforms, greater user densities, and new kinds of applications are redefining not only the data center, but also the rack itself.  The important piece to understand is that these kinds of changes are happening both within large data center environments and smaller data center closets.

Data center administrators are constantly tasked with creating new ways to better cool and control the environmental variables impacting their racks. If you are a data center administrator, how do you make this kind of cooling, power control, and airflow management as efficient as possible? When it comes to data center and even rack control – we’re going to discuss a new kind of concept. Cooling distribution units and heat management solutions now help remove heat from the server rack – at the source. They further add direct efficiencies by then discharging the heat to the building chilled water system via a Cooling Distribution Unit (CDU). What’s the result in these kinds of use-cases? A cooling and distribution platform that uses just 20% of the energy used by conventional close control air conditioning unit based systems.

These new kinds of environmental concepts are directly impacting rack technologies. We’re seeing a lot more convergence happen. Organizations are actively trying to place more users on single system by deploying application virtualization, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), and even expansive cloud platforms. All of these strategies result in direct environmental impacts on your rack and cooling infrastructure. Integrating an advanced CDU from Nortek Air Solutions into a next-gen rack environment suddenly poses a number of benefits for both your workloads, and your data center.

  • It controls the flow of clean, treated water to one or more rear door heat exchangers at above dew point to ensure condensation free operation.
  • Water volume is limited to a few quarts (litres) at controlled low pressure.
  • Individual racks can be isolated without impacting others.
  • It has N+1 reliability built in and if two CDUs are used in tandem, can provide tier 4 resilience.
  • Plug and play manifold provides scalability and white space flexibility upgrade path.
  • Only 4kW of power provides 305kW of cooling

You don’t have to be a big shop to enjoy advanced cooling benefits
Let’s pause here and break a bit of a misconception around small IT environment rack cooling and environmental controls. Just because you have a small server room or IT deployment does not mean you can forget about cooling and your environment. New kinds of modular CDUs from Nortek Air Solutions can be installed within a single rack taking up no more than 6U of space. From there, these units designed for a smaller environment can provide up to 20kW of cooling and can be deployed in a variety of scenarios. Modern cooling platforms completely understand that, in some cases, a smaller environment simply has to deploy racks within a closet, smaller server room, or other kind of tight space. In these kinds of deployments, room temperature is not critical to cooling the servers, which means that the rack can stand in the corner of a room or even in a cupboard. For smaller shops – this kind of flexibility is critical to deploying the right kind of cooling management solution.

As you consider all this, make sure to abstract your thinking when it comes to your data center and your rack. Whether you have just a couple of racks within your environment – or you have an entire data center – working with the right cooling and environmental control system is critical. Most of all, these cooling optimizations are being brought down to the rack level. New kinds of advanced cooling units such as those from Nortek Air Solutions can help your environment run more efficiently regardless of size or data center configuration.

Ultimately, whether you’re a large organization or a small one, you have the flexibility to design a system with the lowest possible footprint to maximize available space for computing and/or data storage equipment. Moving forward, your data center will continue to be an integral part of your business. This also means your rack environment will continue to evolve. Always look for new ways to optimize not only your data center – but your rack environment as well. Your users, your servers and your business leaders will thank you for it.

For more information about data center rack cooling systems from Nortek Air Solutions, please contact us at or visit our data center products web site,

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