An overhead view of the server infrastructure in Google's data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (Photo: Connie Zhou for Google)

An overhead view of the server infrastructure in Google's data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (Photo: Connie Zhou for Google)

Free Cooling Concepts for Your Data Center

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The modern data center has truly evolved into a complex system designed for a variety of applications. Now, there are more requirements around density, constant uptime and efficiency all while keeping costs down.

Cooling costs can account for more than half of a data center’s total annualized operating cost as energy costs and IT power consumption continue to rise. As such, data center operators are pursuing various strategies to increase their data center cooling efficiency. One of these strategies is leveraging free cooling—an approach to lowering the air temperature in a building or data center by using naturally cool air or water instead of mechanical refrigeration.

With so many advancements in cooling efficiency technologies, the concept of free cooling is very real and can be applied to your data center.

In this whitepaper from CES Group, you’ll find out how:

  • Free cooling can offer impressive energy cost savings for data centers
  • New recommendations for both thermal and dew point ranges mean free cooling can be used in more climates
  • Several available methods of free cooling provide data center operators with the opportunity to select the option that best meets their specific system requirements

Some data centers utilize the cooling tower to cool the condenser water to a low enough temperature when outdoor air conditions permit, to pre-cool the data center loop without using the chiller. Alternatively a source of cold water from local rivers, lakes or ocean sources can be circulated into a data center and used to achieve the same result. Systems using this approach are often called water-side economizers, which can either be used to cool room air or directly liquid cool IT equipment cabinets using rear-door heat exchangers or other systems.

In both cases, mechanical cooling would only be needed when the outdoor air temperature becomes too high for free cooling systems like air or water-side economizers to be effective. Consequently, the working life of installed refrigeration systems can be significantly extended.

Download this whitepaper today to learn about the types of free cooling that are available within the data center as well as the various methods of data center cooling. This includes:

  • Strainer Cycle
  • Plane & Frame Heat Exchanger
  • Refrigeration Migration

You’ll also learn about free cooling throughout the various seasons. This means understanding winter operations, various seasonal limitations, high ambient operations and operating climates mid-season.

Remember, reductions in cooling system use also mean drastic reductions in data center power consumption and service/repairs, lowering the energy and maintenance costs for facility owners. If local climatic conditions allow continuous use of air or water-side economizers, mechanical cooling systems may be eliminated entirely.

About the Author

Bill Kleyman is a veteran, enthusiastic technologist with experience in data center design, management and deployment. His architecture work includes virtualization and cloud deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Currently, Bill works as the National Director of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies, a Stamford, CT based consulting firm.

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