The Finer Points of Aisle Containment

Aisle Containment2DCW

DAMAC Products Booth #1312

To learn more about controlling and stabilizing power consumption and operational costs in today’s high-density data centers, stop by our booth #1312 at the 2014 Data Center World Conference.

Server hardware, storage systems, networking equipment and other data center technology have gradually become smaller and more powerful over the years. While this has allowed organizations to pack more computing punch into their data centers, it can also cause cooling costs to spiral out of control.

To control and stabilize power consumption and operational costs in today’s high-density data centers, cooling optimization is an absolute must. While a hot-aisle/cold-aisle configuration is helpful, an aisle containment system that completely isolates cold air from hot air is generally the most effective, efficient solution. However, aisle containment isn’t as simple as sealing off a few aisles. Here are several important factors that need to be considered.

Should you contain the hot aisle or the cold aisle? The answer often depends upon whom you ask – and what product they’re selling. A neutral scientific study, DataCenter 2020: Hot Aisle and Cold Aisle Containment Efficiencies Reveal No Significant Differences, revealed exactly what the title of the study says. Both approaches have advantages and disadvantages, so the proper strategy should be based upon the architecture within each individual data center and the goals of each organization. A one-size-fits-all approach won’t work.

A true containment solution goes beyond the aisle level. While containment of the entire aisle is critical to optimizing cooling costs, containment must be considered at the cabinet and rack levels. For example, not all equipment is front-to-back breathing. Some new equipment is now rear-to-front breathing and doesn’t require air containment inside the cabinet, while baffles can be used to control airflow from side-breathing equipment. Also, empty spaces should be covered with blanking panels to maintain separation of cold and hot air.

Aisle containment should not create a cabling nightmare. High temperatures can affect cabling and hamper network performance, so most cabling should be kept in the cold aisle. Cabinets should be designed accordingly for overhead or floor cabling systems. Within the cabinets, there should be adequate space to run cables without obstructing airflow.

A More Flexible Aisle Containment Solution

DAMAC’s aisle containment products provide the flexibility to configure a system that suits your data center with an eye towards your needs five years from now. You can focus on hot-aisle containment, cold-aisle containment or both, and we offer a number of options that improve cable management while allowing for proper airflow.

DAMAC also recognizes that when it comes to enterprise data centers, the future is custom. Even if your data center doesn’t have standard-sized racks and aisles, you can still take advantage of state-of-the-art aisle containment system. Instead of expecting you to build your data center infrastructure around generic racks and cabinets, our goal is to design solutions that enhance and strengthen your data center.