As our technological lives increase year by year and many companies start digitalizing their services, data centers continue to grow.
Even though data centers have improved during the last few years, and they use less energy than they did 10 years ago, they are still a huge source of energy consumption.
Data published by Statista inc. on September 30, 2021, in their report titled “Global Data centers energy demand” shows that traditional data centers all over the world have decreased their consumption from 97.6 terawatt-hours in 2015 to about 50 terawatts in 2019. However, Hyperscale data centers have doubled their energy demand.
Data centers create heat that must be dissipated and removed from the data center by cooling equipment that runs on electricity.
Some of the largest data centers in the world require more than 100 megawatts (MW) of power capacity. This is enough to provide electricity for around 80.000 households in the U.S.
So, what is data center cooling?
Data center cooling is mainly making sure that the temperature inside a data center is controlled and that heat is reduced. Not being able to control the heat can have an enormous impact, not only on spending too much energy to keep them cool but also damaging the servers themselves.
For a data center to have an efficient cooling system, they must control factors like energy consumption, cooling performance and the center´s inside temperatures.
Choosing the optimal cooling solution will depend on the site size, location, and design of the data center.
What are the different types of cooling systems?
There are many different cooling systems in the world, and they can be used in different types of centers some of the most commonly used ones are:
1. Traditional cooling systems
Many years ago, the main way to keep data centers cool was to use cool air coming from an AC to pass through perforated tiles on the floor that would allow for the air coming from below to circulate on different air intakes that would direct the air to the server and then the heated air would return to the AC unit to be cooled back again.
The main benefit of this system is that it will allow a very small volume of cool air to mix with the air in the room and still be able to cool the server itself. Even though this is still used all over the world, the system is considered today a legacy system as it worked fine when ITE densities were low.
It is also not considered to be energy efficient and modern centers do not have it because new air delivery technologies have rendered this system unnecessary.
2. (CRAH) Computer room air Handler
A CRAH – is a unit that is powered by an extensive system from a water plant. Cold water goes through a coil in the unit, this uses fans that extract air from outside the facility. These types of units are very efficient in cold countries as they use cold air from outside for cooling the system.
3. (CRAC) Computer room air conditioner
Like a residential AC unit but designed for a server room. It’s the most affordable equipment, but very inefficient because it works using a compressor drawing cool air across the refrigerant cooling unit, and then creating cool air for the whole server room.
4. Calibrated Vector unit
This type of cooling system is very good, because it optimizes the airflow path, allowing the cooling system to manage heat efficiently. This type of cooling system saves energy by sending cool air to the hottest spots thus using fewer fans.
Besides these, there are many other techniques to cool a data center.
But what are the possible causes of not cooling a data center properly?
All data centers generate heat, and it is considered that around 1% of the world´s energy is used in cooling them.
Overheating of peripherals, processors, or any other component of the data center could end up creating a system failure that will cause data loss and cause the data center not to work.
If a data center stops working, the information might be lost or data will have to search for different ways to reach its destination, making users disconnected from a network, taking longer time for them to reach it, or simply losing all connection at all.
A well-cooled data center will not only protect it from system failure but also allow for energy saving and allowing for cost-effectiveness that can be influenced by the design and operation of the facility.
This will help reduce the maintenance cost and guarantee the center can operate all year long.