DESIGN

Hot / Cold Aisle Containment

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Liebert cold and hot containment

Overview

Hot & Cold Aisle Containment

Secure I.T.Environments Ltd offers a range of aisle containment solutions from the out-of-the-box partial containment solution to fully bespoke aisle containment solutions that are fully flexible and customisable for use in new build Data Center projects or retro fit applications. All of our bespoke  cold aisle containment  and  hot aisle containment  systems are independent of cabinet manufacturer and can be designed to fit any rack configuration including aisles with varying rack heights, widths, depths and alignment. Where budget is a concern Secure IT also offer a  Thermal Curtain solution.

What Is Cold Aisle Containment?

To achieve the highest levels of energy efficiency in your data centre or server room it is critical to get the layout of your sever 19″ cabinets and cooling correct. One of the most widely recognized data center cooling systems, cold aisle containment system or a hot aisle containment system, manages air flow by restricting the loss of cold air and preventing the mixing of cold and hot air. 

Designed for server and network cabinets located within server rooms and data centres, cold aisle containment maximises cooling predictability, capacity, and efficiency. Our range of containment solutions offer the option to include containment for cabinets of all sizes and by all manufacturers.

What Is Hot Aisle Containment?

Hot aisle containment systems has the advantage that the room as a whole is at a comfortable temperature. It introduces a physical barrier that guides hot exhaust airflow back to the air conditioning return. Hot aisle containment within server room environments takes advantage of the natural properties of warm air rising. The system directs the upward airflow to an air conditioning return system such as a drop-ceiling void and by installing this containment system can increase cooling efficiency by 30% or more and greatly improve energy costs.

What Is the Importance of Air Containment Systems?

Whether you ultimately decide to implement hot or cold aisle containment within your data centres, one thing is for sure: Containment of the different temperatures is essential. You’ll be able to tell if your returns are not positioned properly by first observing them, and second by looking for hot or cold spots. If there are hot or cold spots, the CFM (cubic feet per minute) airflow may need to be adjusted. An HVAC professional may be needed to help you find out how much CFM your cooling unit is putting out and adjust the airflow output . Different servers are rated with different CFMs, and will require different volumes of air for optimal efficiency. If these hot or cold spots cannot be controlled by a CFM adjustment, Hot or Cold Aisle Containment is your best option.

Aisle containment in data centers is essential for any organization or business that have a substantial amount of servers, because in addition to keeping your equipment running at its peak performance levels, containment can help you save on your energy bills—as much as 50 percent!

When you are making updates to your data center, or you’re starting to build yours from the ground up, it’s a perfect time to consider data center and building security. Check and double check things like keyed access to the room (versus it being open and available for anyone to access) and adjust accordingly

The Benefits of Hot and Cold Containment Solutions

How Does Cold Aisle Containment Work

Although it might look like most data center just line up racks because that is the easiest way to fit them in, there is actually a lot more science behind the reason for this configuration and getting it right will lead to huge energy savings in running costs and improve air flow management efficiency.

The easiest way to provide data center cooling in the most efficient way possible is to segregate hot and cold air using the hot aisle / cold aisle configuration. The hot aisle / cold aisle configuration conserves energy and lowers cooling costs by managing the hot air or cold air flows. This is common practice in every data centre and may seem obvious to most people, and although not always adopted it is still just as important in smaller server rooms.

The idea is quite simple, it involves lining up rows of server racks (front to front) so the IT equipment air intake (usually at the front of the device) faces the cold aisle where your air conditioning equipment delivers cold air and the hot air expelled from the device (usually at the rear) faces the rear of the row of server racks next to it (back to back). The hot air exhausted is then returned to the air conditioners return ducts.

This layout eliminates the direct transfer of hot exhaust air from one system into the cold intake air of another system. It is the first step towards achieving the highest levels of data centre efficiency and eliminating dangerous hot spots in your data centre or server room.

Built for You

Installing an aisle containment system is an effective way of improving airflow management within Data Centres and IT rooms. 

By separating the hot and cold aisles it reduces the risk of hot and cold airflow patterns from mixing. This segregation not only improves the delivery of conditioned cold air but also the hot air return path. As well as aisle containment systems reducing the hot and cold air mixing, they also reduce the risk of by-pass airflow and air re-circulation – all of which contribute to cooling optimisation. With these improvements it enables the potential energy efficiency gains at the CRAC unit level by raising set points, lowering fan speeds or it some cases turning CRAC units off.

Hot and cold aisle containment

What Is the Difference Between Hot Aisle and Cold Aisle Containment?

When constructing and designing a data center, it’s important to know the best options to ensure efficiency, especially when it comes to choosing hot or cold aisle containment. You’ll want to consider energy efficiency, the climate you live in, how much infrastructure you will be putting into the center, and other aspects of the facility. Learning the differences between cold and hot aisle containment is the first step in deciding which one is the right choice for your data center

Cold aisle containment systems work by efficiently directing cold air to the front of the servers, where it is pulled through the servers into a warm aisle or a space near a warm air return to be re-cooled. Cold aisle containment is ideal for cooling specific parts of the room, such as where the servers are installed, which can save a lot of energy.

Cold aisle containment solutions work by the server cabinets which are placed with the heat-generating backs to the outside of the enclosure, and the cooled air is contained at the front of the server racks controlling airflow management Mounted panels or doors create an enclosure filled with cooled air. By containing the cooled air at the front of the server rack, there is less chance for overheating. When using data center  or curtain/panels in your aisles, you’ll be able to count on the cold and hot air staying separated.

With hot aisle containment in data centres the servers are positioned not with their backs to the outside of the enclosure, but back-to-back. This setup creates an aisle between the servers where heat can escape. With hot aisles, the hot air is efficiently captured and channeled back to the computer room air conditioning, or CRAC, system. This setup also prevents “over cooling” of areas, because it minimizes the short-cycling of cold air. In turn, this model also allows you to use less air conditioning.

Case study

Ensuring the Health of NHS IT

The demands being placed on current digital infrastructure has led to a need for greater storage and processing power. Given the rapid growth of picture archiving and communication systems and medical imaging, most healthcare organisations need more data centre capacity. The data centre is at the heart of the operation, from CCTV to phone equipment, to life-saving equipment and vital patient data.

Yet Secure I.T. Environments is seeing a trend where communications and server hardware cabinets are being located in what can only be described as the ‘broom cupboard’ as the existing data centre does not have the capacity. In some cases, the incorrect infrastructure – power, cooling and no fire suppression – has been installed, resulting in inefficiencies.

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