Computer Room Climate Control

Creating a safe and secure server room is a top priority for IT professionals and any organization looking to safely store and protect its data. Whether your organization is looking to renovate its current server room environment or may be considering designing a one from scratch, understanding climate control and room specifications will be the key to a successful outcome.

Temperature Monitoring

Most server rooms require not only room level monitoring, but also at a rack level. Location and space requirements are important considerations, along with potential heat gain, and related power requirement within the server room environment.

Our organization can offer sound advice through our experience and team of experts that are trained to assess critical factors, helping you avoid any potential issues. Our company can provide you with a specific design to meet with your exact specifications.

We can assist you with everything from planning & design all the way to hardware sales and installation, all while meeting with your budget and timeline. When it comes to providing scalability, flexibility, and high availability, our designs and resources set GT Air Mechanical apart from our competitors – keeping your server room cool is our business.

Cooling systems that operate within a data center should be scalable and offer backup cooling systems to guarantee consistent performance.

GT Air Mechanical Services’ expertise is a valuable asset in this area as companies are often unable to predict if their data center cooling system will supply a future load, even when the characteristics of the load are known in advance. If your company is looking to establish a cooling system for your data center that will withstand system failures and load increases, contact us as the next step in your process.

GT Air Mechanical approaches data center cooling designs using our proven project process:

Design goals are established across the following categories:

Adaptability

Availability

Maintainability

Manageability

Cost

Once appropriate design goals are established there are a number of additional steps recommended for data center cooling best practices.

Determine the Critical Load and Heat Load

Determining the critical heat load starts with the identification of the equipment to be deployed within the space. However, this is only part of the entire heat load of the environment. Additionally, the lighting, people, and heat conducted from the surrounding spaces will also contribute to the overall heat load. As a very general rule-of-thumb, consider no less than 1-ton (12,000 BTU/Hr / 3,516 watts) per 400 square-feet of IT equipment floor space.

Establish Power Requirements on a per RLU Basis

Power density is best defined in terms of rack or cabinet foot print area since all manufacturers produce cabinets of generally the same size. A definite Rack Location Unit (RLU) trend is that average RLU power densities are increasing every year. The reality is that a computer room usually deploys a mix of varying RLU power densities throughout its overall area. The trick is to provide predictable cooling for these varying RLU densities by using the average RLU density as a basis of the design while at the same time providing adequate room cooling for the peak RLU and non-RLU loads.

Determine the CFM Requirements for each RLU

Effective cooling is accomplished by providing both the proper temperature and an adequate quantity of air to the load. As temperature goes, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standard is to deliver air between the temperatures of 68 °F and 75 °F to the inlet of the IT infrastructure. Although electronics performs better at colder temperatures it is not wise to deliver lower air temperatures due to the threat of reaching the condensate point on equipment surfaces. Regarding air volume, a load component requires 160 cubic feet per minute (CFM) per 1 kW of electrical load. Therefore, a 5,000-watt 1U server cabinet requires 800 CFM.

Perform Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) Modeling

CFD modeling can be performed for the under floor air area as well as the area above the floor. CFD modeling the airflow in a computer room provides information to make informed decisions about where to place CRAC equipment, IT-equipment, perforated tiles, high density RLUs, etc. Much of the software available today also allows mapping of both under floor and overhead airflow obstructions to more accurately represent the environment.

Determine the Room Power Distribution Strategy

The two (2) main decisions in developing a room power distribution strategy are: (1) Where to place the power distribution units (PDUs)?, (2) Whether to run power cables overhead or under the floor?

Determine the Cabinet Power Distribution Strategy

In deciding how power will be distributed through the cabinet, use of dual power supplies, and cabling approach, it is important to understand the impact of power distribution on cooling, particularly as it is related to air flow within the cabinet.

Determine the Room & Cabinet Data Cabling Distribution Impact

Typically, there are three (3) choices in delivering network connectivity to an RLU. They are: (1) Home run every data port from a network core switch, (2) Provide matching port-density patch panels at both the RLU and the core switch with pre-cabled cross-connections between them, such that server connections can be made with only patch cables at both ends, (3) Provide an edge switch at every rack, row, or pod depending on bandwidth requirements. This approach is referred to as zone switching.

Establish a Cooling Zone Strategy

Recall that effective computer room cooling is as much about removing heat as it is about adding cold. Generally speaking, the three (3) equipment cooling methods along with their typical cooling potential can be determined from the following table:

  • Room Cooling ~2 kW per RLU
  • Row Cooling ~8 kW per RLU
  • Cabinet Cooling ~20 kW per RLU

It is also critical to consider high-density cooling and zone cooling requirements.

Determine the Cooling Methodology

Upon determining what cooling zone will be required, the decision of what types of air conditioners will be needed, must be made. There are four (4) air conditioner types: (1) air cooled, (2) glycol cooled, (3) condenser water cooled, (4) chilled water.

In addition, it is also important to determine how heat will be rejected within the system and what type of cooling redundancy is required and available for a particular methodology.

Determine the Cooling Delivery Methodology

Different architectural attributes affect cooling performance in different ways. For instance, designs should consider the location of the computer room within the facility (I.e. onside versus inside rooms), height of the raised floor, height of suspended ceiling, etc.

Determine the Floor Plan

The ‘hot aisle / cold aisle’ approach is the accepted layout standard for RLUs for good reason. It works. It was developed by, Dr. Robert Sullivan, while working for IBM and it should be adapted for both new and retrofit projects. After determining the hot/cold aisles it is critical to place the CRAC units for peak performance. This may include room, row, or rack based cooling approaches. Each works well depending upon the IT infrastructure, power densities, CFM requirements, and other attributes previously discussed.

Establish Cooling Performance Monitoring

It is vital to develop and deploy an environmental monitoring system capable of monitoring each room, row, and cabinet cooling zone. A given is that once effective cooling performance is established for a particular load profile, it will change rapidly. It is important to compile trending data for all environmental parameters for the site such that moves, adds, and changes can be executed quickly.

Let GT Air Mechanical Services take the risk off your shoulders and maintain the infrastructure that is a vital point in your organization. We can custom build, service, provide a specialized service agreement, design and engineer an air conditioning solution that meets any budget in the Okanagan valley.

Modern computer servers now operate in a broader range of temperature and relative humidity. Most now specify a 10°C to 35°C operating temperature, while relative humidity is less important with the passing of tape to tape and paper systems. Properly designed AC units with the proper sensible loads calculations will provide years of reliable operations and piece of mind that you are protected with your sensitive information.
Contact GT Air Mechanical Services and ask for Greg for a free consultation on your requirements and experience the difference. Use our on line form for heat gain so we can be prepared for our meeting on what the tonnage is.

Heating and Cooling of Computer Room

Mission statement

“To deliver high-quality, cost-effective projects on schedule by employing and supporting motivated, flexible, and focused teams. We value the importance of our relationships and will continue to remain fair and true in our dealings with all employees, clients, vendors, and partners. Our clients count on our dependability, our drive, and our integrity. We take great pride in our accomplishments and build on them every day.”

Contact Details

146 Gray Road, Kelowna, B.C. V1X 1W7
Office phone: 250-763-2665
Office fax: 250-451-9275
After Hours: 250-491-3473