Data center evaporative cooling, also known as swamp cooling, is a method of cooling air in the data center that leverages the decrease in air temperature that happens when the state change of water from liquid to gas absorbs energy.
Evaporative cooling works by having a large fan draw warm air through pads made of absorbent material such as wood shavings. When the water in the pads evaporates, the surrounding air drops in temperature and is sent to the data center to lower the temperature there. Water that drips from the pads is collected at the bottom of the cooler and sent back to the top of the pads.
Evaporative cooling is an attractive option for data centers compared to traditional air conditioning because it is more energy efficient, costs less to operate and maintain, does not require hazardous refrigerants, and is cheaper to install. This type of data center cooling works best in dry climates or low humidity environments.
To monitor the efficiency and effectiveness of evaporative cooling, Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software is often used. DCIM collects, reports, and trends on data from environmental sensors such as temperature and humidity to see hot spots at a glance, know when to increase/decrease temperature set points, easily manage their thermal envelope, and simplify how they manage airside economization.