Energy-Efficient Climate Control: "Keep Cool" in the Data Centre

In many existing data centres, only around 50 percent of the electricity that is fed into the system actually reaches the servers. The other 50 percent is consumed primarily by cooling systems and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). Climate control offers the greatest energy saving potential, since it consumes almost as much energy as the servers themselves, accounting for up to 37 percent. When selecting a suitable climate control solution for the data centre, a number of aspects must be taken into account.

Climate control is a necessity in almost all data centres, and as such most data centres do indeed invest a large fortune on efficient cooling strategies, more so than system hardware or software upgrades. This primary focus on cooling mechanisms to help improve the overall performance of a data centre is further reflected in some obvious facts. It is common knowledge that 50% or less of the overall energy consumption of an IT centre actually goes to operating the units themselves, the rest of the energy is devoted to operating the cooling systems that reputedly help to keep servers from malfunctioning.

This dependence on cooling and climate control has even extended to the point that the very arrangement of the units is specifically coordinated with the cooling systems itself. This results in better cooling and faster performance for the units and the servers. The necessity for cooling can be explained by the fact that high-performing servers often consume a lot of power and thus discharge a whole lot of heat. This results in a consequent 'slowing down' of the units, which impairs performance and efficiency. In order to avoid such occurrences from happening, a great need for a reliable and thorough cooling system is needed.

This is usually done through the use of large air conditioning systems that blast cool air all throughout the enclosure of the servers. While this achieves sufficient enough cooling to enable for good performance throughout, it consumes far too much power. This power could otherwise be redirected to the servers themselves to further increase their performance. While large cooling systems may help to provide overall cooling for servers, it is a not such a efficient method, because it relies more on cooling the whole of the area instead of addressing the issue of generated heat.

Because of this, more power is required to simply maintain the optimal temperatures of an area to facilitate cooling. The dilemma begins when we realize that it takes up a lot of power to cool a room sufficiently enough to keep a room servers cool. Saving power and costs can be achieved through the use of an alternative method of cooling. A method whereby the process of having to cool water, as in most cooling systems, is skipped as external cool air is used by the cooling systems itself to help generate cold air faster, and with less power.

Another alternative method is to supply the cooling systems with readily cooled water to help facilitate in the faster development of cold air. In order to maximize the cooling further, a minute cooling system can be installed per unit, allowing for direct cooling,. This results in less power consumption and, eventually, less costs.

Technical Article - Energy Efficient Climate Control.pdf

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