JESSUP, Md., April 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- In the last ten to fifteen years, mechanical systems in new and existing data centers have been challenged by several factors, including increased heat generation of new IT equipment, variable heat generation based on computing cycles, and changing heat load requirements presented by new equipment during refresh cycles. And these factors were all being impacted by the need for increased efficiency through the minimization of bypass airflow.
For data center operators, the standard answer to these challenges was hot and cold aisle segregation through the application of a physical containment system (a more in-depth discussion of the various levels of physical containment can be found in our previous blog). While physical containment can have a significant impact on bypass airflow and thereby provide data centers with greater energy efficiency and the associated cost savings, it also brings along its own set of challenges. In addition to the construction expenses that comes from installing physical containment ceilings and walls, there are also implications for the data center's structural, fire, communications, and lighting systems that must be considered.
At Tate, our engineers asked the question – If the issue is bypass airflow, then wouldn't the logical place to solve the problem be within the airflow panel itself? They began looking at the traditional design of traditional grates and perforated panels and exploring what changes could be made to these panels to reduce bypass airflow and more effectively address the rapidly changing cooling demands of medium to high density data center environments.
Enter the concept of directional airflow and virtual containment with Tate's DirectAire® and DirectPerf directional airflow panels. By making small but significant changes to the panel's fins to angle the airflow, cold air can be presented at the face of the rack rather than at a 900 angle to the floor. Furthermore, the fins can be angled in a pattern that would allow airflow to be distributed evenly across the height of a 42u rack. Testing proved that 93% of the air delivered through the panel entered the face of the rack.
In terms of real world benefit, this translates to a potential energy savings of more than 40 percent! Directional airflow panels can cool racks for effectively, using approximately half the CFM of traditional airflow panels. Additionally, units with fixed-speed fans can be set to standby mode and variable-speed drives can be adjusted to operate at a lower static pressure.
In addition to the savings associated with the improved efficiency of the mechanical system, directional airflow panels help reduce initial costs associated with physical containment systems. Whether in a retrofit or new build application, the elimination of containment doors, roofs, chimneys, and walls saves capital, and operators avoid cost and code issues associated with alterations to their fire suppression systems.
For more information about directional airflow, please visit our website to learn more about virtual containment. Tate is here to help you understand all the options available for managing bypass airflow, and to find the right solution for your application.