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DATA CENTRES


Taking the heat out of


computerisation


Removing heat from a data centre rather than cooling the space is a growing mentality at present. Not only is heat removal more energy-efficient, it can also help to ensure each server is kept in the optimum environment it needs to perform. Matthew Philo, product manager CRAC at DencoHappel, explains the difference between the two, and why this change has led to more energy-efficient technologies being introduced.


T


emperature control solutions designed for datacentres have changed dramatically in recent years. This is largely down to three reasons: advances in better data centre layout, advances in computer technology, and higher permissible operating temperatures.


Compared to today, the machinery used in the first data centres is starkly different. Computer scientists worked at their desks, side by side with the machines. It was important to keep the machinery at a reasonable temperature, while ensuring that the room was suitable for people to work.


In order to provide a suitable environment, the whole room was typically maintained at a temperature of around 21°C. Further to this, the relative humidity had to be kept at around 50%, to ensure high quality paper operated


36 November 2017


through the machine could be stored appropriately. That often resulted in the cooling system supplying air at as low as 11°C, to keep the whole room around the 21°C target. This old notion of ideal temperature and humidity range has remained much longer than the technology inside a data centre itself.


Datacentres nowadays are mostly occupied by technicians rather than data scientists, reducing the need to maintain an ideal temperature.


With the development of aisle containment, it means that the cooling systems can now provide air at mid-20°C temperatures, without affecting server performance. With these elevated temperatures, maintaining the separation of the airflows is key. By preventing air going into the server and mixing with air exiting the hardware, you can focus on containing the hot air in ‘hot aisles’.


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