Cooling and Monitoring Solutions

Environmental monitoring solutions


Cooling Solutions

With so much energy wasted in the cooling of ambient air, the cost benefits of moving towards a containment solution are huge. When coupled with technologies such as Free Air Cooling, and intelligent BMS (Business Monitoring Systems), it is possible to run cooling systems at zero cost for around ten months of the year.

Saving costs with containment cooling systems

Data Centres that utilise traditional methods of CRAC (Computer Room Air Conditioning) such as perimeter cooling, and basic power provision through unmanaged PDU’s often result in a high TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and a low DCIE (Data Centre Infrastructure Efficiency). But with intelligent design, these figures can be reversed.

Typically these data centers run at an ambient temperature of around 14°C. This is not a pleasant environment to work in for long periods, but it certainly keeps the servers cool. In the event of a CRAC failure, the ambient temperature will rise quickly and servers can overheat and fail within hours or sometimes minutes of the air conditioning failure.

Utilizing containment solutions allow for a much higher ambient temperature within the data center – typically around 22°C - making it far more comfortable to work in. Moreover, in the event of a CRAC failure, the ambient temperature does not rise quickly. This leaves sufficient time to bring down critical servers in a controlled shutdown or provide backup CRAC systems.

How do containment cooling systems work ?

Hot Aisle Containment Systems - Removing hot air above the cabinets.
Hot aisle containment relies upon removing the hot air from above the cabinets and using it, elsewhere in the building as Sensible Heat, or transporting it outside the building. Either way, if a CRAC unit fails, the ambient rise in temperature is a very slow process. Another benefit of hot aisle containment is that it is much easier to install into an existing data center.

Cold Aisle Containment Systems - Usage of outside fresh air.
Typical outside air temperatures are often lower than inside, making it possible to utilize external air to cool the data center through a free cooling system. This provides a zero cost option for much of the year. The only time chillers are required is when the outside ambient temperature is higher than 22°C.

Containment systems can be provided following a site survey. Black Box will visit your site, discuss your needs and understand your goals. From here we will design a data center solution that fits your requirements exactly.


Hot Aisle Containment Systems


Providing the perfect containment solution for existing data centers, hot aisle containment can easily be installed in existing data centers, since the required access is above the cabinet. By placing aisles of cabinets back to back with a gap of approximately 1.5 meters, it is possible to place a door at each end and a roof over the top to capture all the hot air expelled from the rear of the cabinets. This air is extracted from the containment room and either pumped outside, or elsewhere to provide Sensible Heat to other parts of the building such as the offices. No under floor ducting is required, allowing for easy access and minimal disruption during installation. The ambient temperature within the data center becomes a comfortable temperature at around 22°C or so, which also provides a very useful bi-product – if the hot air extraction should fail, the temperature will increase very slowly, since the ambient room temperature is cool enough to keep components functioning correctly. This provides an extra level of resiliency to the data center and allows ample time to respond to the failure.

Cold Aisle Containment Systems


Cold Aisle Containment Systems utilize chillers and / or free air cooling systems to bring cold air to the front of the cabinet door via an under floor ducting system. Ideally suited to green field sites, these containment systems dramatically reduce the cost of cooling the data center. Typically, the cabinets are arranged into aisles, and are positioned with the front doors of the cabinets facing each other. A roof is placed over the top of the aisle and doors are added to each end to trap the cold air but still provide access. The cool air is forced under the floor and brought up through vented tiles into the aisle, where the perforated steel doors of the cabinets allow the air to be drawn into the front. The active equipment within the cabinet will draw the cool air in and across its component boards, and the resultant hot air is expelled out through the rear of the cabinet into the data center. Since the ambient air within the data center is not the air being used to cool the cabinets, it doesn’t matter that the temperature is much higher. The result is a cost effective way to cool the equipment only, rather than waste vast amounts of energy cooling the entire data center room.

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