Datacenter Design: Key Components and Sound Strategies
Arnie W. Evdokimo
An efficient datacenter design can reduce down-time, increases operational efficiency and cuts maintenance costs. A good design also saves money by eliminating the need to expand or upgrade the facility in the future. Industry analysts report data center managers are looking for solutions to reduce energy costs and increase capacity to extend the facility s useful life.
Key Components of Datacenter Design
For a top performing data center, companies need to look at three key areas:
Equipment. IT equipment accounts for the majority of power consumption. As
focuses more on green options, companies are focusing on energy-efficient hardware and replacing older hardware.
Newer equipment comes equipped with thermostatic fan control. By maintaining equipment so no dust accumulates in intake grills, companies can improve reliability. Data center managers should also ensure cabling is protected and all equipment is positioned to not block exhaust ports. Careful datacenter design can help eliminate equipment operational issues.
Airflow.In proper datacenter design, air should flow from the air conditioning equipment through the IT equipment and back to the air conditioning equipment. However, airflow can take a couple other paths that produce undesirable effects.
One example of improper airflow is when air flows from the air conditioning equipments outlet and back directly to the input. In this situation, the air conditioning equipment does not provide adequate cooling and the total capacity is reduced.
Another case involves the hot exhaust air exiting from IT equipment. The hot air being expelled into the datacenter must be re-circulated through the facility s air conditioner and cooled. However, before it is re-circulated, some of this hot air may be returned to the IT equipment through its air intake vent. The recycling of hot exhaust air in this manner reduces the effectiveness of the air conditioning equipment and puts the IT equipment at risk of not being properly cooled.
Datacenter design needs to manage airflow by isolating hot and cold air. By doing so, companies can save money on cooling. Equipment racks should be configured in such a way to eliminate extra spaces and be aligned in a hot aisle/cold aisle design. Using this design technique ensures equipment air intake comes from a cold aisle and exhaust air is pushed out into a hot aisle.
Temperature. Just as heat can cause major issues, overcooling causes inefficiencies and is a common problem in datacenter design. The hot and cold air separation techniques outlined in the previous section represent the starting point to temperature control. The next step is to thoroughly understand the manufacturer s specifications for each piece of equipment.
By adhering to the temperature requirements listed on data sheets, IT managers can avoid overcooling the facility. By improving energy efficiencies, companies can save money on data center operations.
Developing Sound Strategies for Datacenter Design
When designing or updating a data center, IT managers need to think about their future as well as current needs. Considerations should include company growth and when upgrades are expected. With careful planning and use of sophisticated tools, data center managers can understand equipment, airflow and temperature issues.
An efficient datacenter design can save companies money and ensure systems availability. The first step in reducing energy consumption and emissions is to understand the environment. A high performance data center is not only good for the business, but an environmentally and socially responsible way to manage operations.
Arnie W. Evdokimo is Chief Executive Officer of DP Air Corporation, a leading provider of data center design, build and maintenance services based in Phoenix. For more information about
, visit our website.