DCN October 2016 - Page 32

cooling COOL OF THOUGHT Matthew Baynes of Schneider Electric discusses some cooling options for data centres. C ooling has always been a vital issue in data centres as IT and networking equipment must operate at temperatures and humidity levels optimum for performance and safety. In addition, cooling systems must also operate efficiently, cost effectively and in as environmentally friendly a manner as possible. Depending on the specific requirements of a data centre a number of options may be considered to achieve the best possible combination of these parameters. These range from deliberate organisation of the IT 32 equipment within a data centre to manage the inevitable heat dissipation of servers, storage arrays and networking gear as efficiently as possible to the use of ambient conditions to minimise the effort needed by power hungry cooling equipment such as chillers and fans through to the deployment of innovative techniques such as liquid cooling. Developments in the last of these are providing operators with interesting efficient alternatives to more traditional methods of cooling. In the simplest terms the cooling operation of a data centre comprises a combination of systems for cooling the ambient temperature of the facility, typically through the use of air conditioning units or chillers, and other systems at the rack or component level for cooling the IT equipment directly. Typically, cool air is passed by fans over heat sinks within the individual equipment units to remove the heat. Air conditioning units, equipped with refrigerants or chilled water, reject the heat to the outside environment via devices such as air cooled condensers and the process starts over again. Limiting the energy expended on air conditioners and fans is the