If you haven’t heard, rack densities are going up. Just three years ago, the average density per rack was 6 kilowatts. In 2019, that number stands at 7 kW, with no sign of flagging anytime soon. In fact, the prediction that by 2025, 40 kW racks will be the norm sounds even less sci-fi than it did when the DataCenter 2025 study was undertaken in 2015.
Wherever you stand on the future of density, there’s a general consensus that today’s current average rack density will continue to rise over time. The fact is, the more power you’re able to pack into a tiny space, the lower your real estate costs will be. Operational costs of high density data centers are also significantly lower than their standard counterparts. This is true because, even though your racks are consuming more power in a high-density environment, you simply don’t need as many of them in the first place.
This brings us around to the topic of cooling. Racks with high densities require more cooling than most data centers currently provide, because most of these were originally built to sustain distribution levels of 2-4kW per rack. Some data center managers have turned to high density zones, but this solution comes with a catch: the supplemental cooling needed to keep these zones from overheating raises the overall kW density of the data center.
Here are a few tips for keeping things nice and chilly as densities rise:
- Don’t overcool. Instead, implement a hot/cold aisle system in order to create convection currents for continuous cooling. A good hot/cold aisle plan includes solutions such as sliding/swinging door options, solid containment panel solutions, vinyl curtains, blanking panels as well as floor and cabinet grommets.
- Consider using Computer Room Air Conditioners (CRAC). These are large, self-contained AC units designed to pull heated air off the equipment and recycle it as cool air that’s delivered back to the equipment.
- Likewise, Computer Room Air Handlers (CRAH) employ fans and chilled water to cool equipment. Learn more about these solutions here.
- Use what you already have to your advantage. If your floor is concrete, you can force cooling from above. If, however, your floor is raised, you can force chilled air through the tiles.
- Stay open to new and alternative technologies, such as non-conductive cooling liquids that pass through server compartments to simultaneously cool the system and retain heat. This natural convection effect has the potential to save money over more traditional air-based cooling solutions.
Instor’s data center cooling solutions include perimeter CRAC units, in-row cooling systems, high-density cooling solutions, cooling design installation, retrofitting existing data centers and more. Contact us today for a consult to help best determine your data center needs.