Data center cooling is an important aspect of data center planning and management. While individual devices (and device clusters) inside of the data center often have self-contained cooling resources, when you pack enough hardware into a limited space, those cooling systems can be strained.
Often, the best answer is to cool the entire facility more effectively. That’s the concept of data center cooling. You keep the building cooler, and this helps with heat management across the board.
Specifically, there are five key benefits that stem from planning around data center cooling.
Data centers push equipment hard. They cram a lot of hardware into limited spaces, and they often run at capacity. That generates a lot of heat, and as you already know, excessive heat buildup can impact server performance.
Without data center cooling, it’s often necessary to rotate bits of equipment to manage temperatures. Sometimes, entire segments have to go offline in order to allow for heat dissipation.
Effective cooling solves this problem. Heat has a hard time building up inside of the facility, and the efficiency of device cooling systems improves. Most importantly, you can avoid downtime associated with data center heat management.
When the entire data center is cooler, the individual hardware components don’t have to work as hard to stay cool. Because they have cool air to pull in for cooling and cool air around the exhaust, there’s less overall heat that has to be managed at the component level.
This means that cooling fans and circulators don’t have to work as hard, and over time, they last longer as a result.
Much more importantly, you get better electrical efficiency at cooler temperatures. If data center cooling can help the servers maintain a lower average temperature, then the efficiency through the systems inside of those servers is better.
That reduces excess electrical resistance which can also slow down carbon scoring and other common sources of wear and tear. On multiple levels, data center cooling is helping your hardware last longer.
You know the basics of cable management already. Labels and color coding help to keep track of everything and cables should not be arranged willy-nilly. And, while you already understand that stress is bad for cables, many network engineers still allow too much in their systems. The key to managing cable stress is the same as doing any job in the world: use the right tools.
Horizontal and vertical hangers are widely available. They’re an easy place to consider cutting costs, but more often than not, this is a mistake. The hangers help manage cable stress, and they almost always save money in the long run.
The other key to alleviating stress is to take your time. Yes, labor is expensive. That’s exactly why you don’t want to be re-running cables that have kinks and tears. As much as you feel pressured to get work done quickly, it’s worth a small investment of time to make sure every bend has a gentle sweep and nothing is unceremoniously stuffed into a corner of your pathway. It’s the simplest thing in the world, and it costs data centers everywhere thousands of dollars a year.
Very large fans can move a lot of air very efficiently. You’ve already seen that data center cooling offloads some of the cooling responsibilities for equipment inside of the center. Server fans and other component cooling resources aren’t working as hard on average.
That translates into better electrical efficiency across the entire data center. By offloading cooling workloads from small systems to larger, more efficient systems, you use less overall electricity throughout the data center. Combine that with the equipment longevity gains, and you’re improving efficiency in your data center in several key ways.
Sustainability is easy to understand. If your data center cooling is making the entire facility more efficient, then that’s clearly more sustainable. Using less power is a core component of sustainability.
Data center cooling can offer much more in this field, though.
By investing in sustainable and passive cooling systems and technologies, you can improve the efficiency and sustainability of your data center several times over. These improvements also translate into energy efficiency gains, creating a positive feedback loop.
Sustainability is good for efficiency, and efficiency is good for sustainability.
The efficiency gains generated by good server cooling ultimately allows you to pack more capacity into a single location. It’s an inevitable result of improving cooling efficiency across the facility.
This simple fact provides more flexibility in server design, and the crux of that is that you can raise the value of a single data center location.
You can increase the locality of your server assets, reducing the need to supplement with offsite servers.
Through this benefit, cooling can dramatically lower long-term data center costs and feed into better and more efficient scalability strategies.
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