Data center cooling specialist Opengate Data Systems today introduced a new cooling product focused on addressing "hot spots" associated with networking equipment. SwitchAir Network Switch Cooling Solutions was developed to provide in-rack cooling support for high-density network switches, which can present cooling challenges as data center operators run their facilities at warmer temperatures to improve energy efficiency.
High switch port density has led many data center operators to position network switches facing the rear of rack to simplify network cabling. Due to the high switch port density, intake air typically enters at the sides of the switch chassis and heat exhausts out the rear or out the other side of the network switch chassis. SwitchAir enables rear rack mounted network switches to receive the required cool air from outside the rack, which is delivered to the network switch via the channels alongside the switch.
Raising the temperature in a data center environment can help save on energy used for air handlers and the chiller plant. "While this is good news for data center efficiency gains, it can wreak havoc on the stability of network operations," said OpenGate.
1U or 2U Configurations
SwitchAir is avilable in either 1U or 2U configurations. The 1U model was developed in coordination with Oracle, and has reduced the temperature of their rear rack-mounted Cisco 4948 switch temperatures between 18-20 degrees C. OpenGate says another unnamed "prominent IT equipment manufacturer" helped finalize design details while field testing the SwitchAir 2U.
The SwitchAir 1U is specific to Cisco 4948 gear, while the SwitchAir 2U is universal and will cool up to two switches, allowing the stacking of switches with varying airflow patterns. One key prerequisite: the switch fans must have adequate airflow to support the side channel cooling approach.