Data center containment is the separation of cold supply air from the hot exhaust air from IT equipment. Containment enables uniform, stable supply temperature to the intake of IT equipment and a warmer, drier return air to cooling infrastructure.
Benefits of Data Center Containment
- Reduced energy consumption
- Increased cooling capacity
- Stable supply temperature to IT intake
- More power capacity available for IT equipment
- Increased uptime
- Extended lifecycle of IT assets
Hot Aisle and Cold Aisle Containment
There are two types of data center containment, hot aisle containment and cold aisle containment. Hot aisle containment encloses the warm exhaust air from IT equipment and returns it back to cooling equipment. Cold aisle containment encloses the aisle where cold supply air is delivered, allowing the rest of the data center to become a hot-air return plenum. Each type of data center containment has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The advantages of hot aisle containment include:
- Improved energy efficiency with energy savings over an uncontained environment of 40% or more.
- The open areas of the data center are cool and can be used for certain low-density racks or storage cabinets.
- The uncontained area is a more acceptable working environment for technicians and engineers.
- Accurate distribution of supply air is less critical as hot air is properly returned.
- Expensive raised floor distribution systems and supply ductwork can be avoided.
The advantages of cold aisle containment include:
- Easy to implement without the need for additional fabrication to contain and return exhaust air such as a drop ceiling or air plenum.
- Typically less expensive to install than hot aisle containment.
- Easier to retrofit in existing data centers.
- Doesn’t need to be on a raised floor, though it often is.
Data Center Containment and DCIM Software
Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software is used to easily monitor all containment temperature sensors. DCIM software enables data center managers to collect real-time data and automatically plot it against ASHRAE or customized thermal envelopes to see hot spots at a glance, know when to increase or decrease temperature set points, and simplify the management of airside economization.
The benefits of data center containment in conjunction with DCIM software are:
- Ensure proper inlet temperatures in server racks in all your containment aisle
- Save energy and drive green initiatives by safely increasing temperature set points
- Increase uptime through real-time alerting against preset thresholds
- Easily trend active power, energy costs, and environmental conditions
- Monitor other facility equipment, including CRACs, building meters, PDUs, and UPSs
- Generate energy cost reports for customer bill-back
Want to see how Sunbird’s world-leading DCIM software makes it easy for you to optimize data center containment to increase efficiency and uptime? Get your free test drive now!