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How can you use Cooling and Heating in a data center for better Power Efficiency

Author : Nilesh Rane
Date : February 29, 2016
Category : Datacenter

A lot of attention is being given to the fact how can data centers find ways to conserve energy as the demands on them increase exponentially. Data centers consume a lot of power for running operations seamlessly for their clients. With many data center operators rethinking the utilization of available resources in a data center and developing strategies to use these more effectively, ideas have been floating around on how to utilize power more efficiently. One way of doing it is to improve the heating and cooling systems in a data center and use it for a competitive advantage. 

Conserving Power And Energy In A Data Center

With Internet of Things (IoT) around the corner, promising the dawn of interconnected smart devices, data centers are under considerable pressure to meet the ever growing demands to perform. The increased expectations and demand from the data centers would lead to an increase in demand for power from them to function optimally. This, however, will affect the power usage efficiency matrix adversely that data center operators strive so hard to achieve. Merely decreasing the amount of energy consumed by various processes will not serve any purpose given the increasing number of activities that will be put on the servers in the data centers. In such a scenario, data center operators would need to think of other strategies to make any noticeable change to the power being used in their data centers.

For example, Facebook has implemented various measures to optimally use the resources available to their facilities. A key criteria in their site selection was free air cooling from the natural environment. While planning the building and operation of their data center, due consideration was given to free air cooling so as to get the best outcome by using this strategy.


Even the most basic steps for improving energy efficiency are sometimes not yet taken,” industry expert Bob Landstrom told EnterpriseTech. “There is ground to be gained here through education, energy assessments, investment in energy efficiency improvements, or a move to a commercial data center operator who has an established pedigree in energy efficient operations.


Analyse And Review The Cooling Options

If the data center is built at a site where free air cooling from natural environment is not possible, other methods can be used to optimize cooling practices to minimize overall energy consumption at the data centers. Data centers can utilize cooling containment – an approach similar to hot and cool aisles that separates cool inlet air from hot discharge air. With cooling containment, the flow of the hot and cold air in the data center can be regulated to maintain temperatures, thereby, reducing power needs.

Cooling containment in the data center requires meticulous planning and considerations to be implemented successfully. It involves erecting barriers between the hot and cold aisles through curtains, panels, doors or other methods to keep them separate. The gaps between cabinets should be closed and unused rack spaces should be blocked. The cabinets should be planned front-to-front and back-to-back to alternate aisles of cool air and areas with exhaust. How much cooling the data center is able to achieve through cooling containment depends on the budget, facility design and project planning.

Redirecting Heat Generated From Data Centers For Better Use

Heat generated from data centers can be redirected for other uses. For example, according to Green Building Elements, Amazon’s offices and work areas in Seattle, are heated from the waste heat of a nearby data center. The process - called hydronic heat - works by transferring the heat created by the data centers to a network of water pipes, which will travel under the street to Amazon's central heating system. When all the heat has dissipated, the water travels back across the street back to the data centers where the no-longer-warm water can help keep operations there cool. This type of hydronic heating initiative is a significant step toward improve data center energy usage and shows that excess heat can actually be used to benefit operations.

Companies around the world are already implementing this innovative heat reuse approach for energy efficient operations and reducing the consumption of power in data centers.  One step towards building a scalable, flexible, and green data center that is dynamic in its infrastructure.

Author : Nilesh Rane

Nilesh Rane is the Associate Vice President - Product and Service at Netmagic Solutions. Nilesh is an expert in the data center domain, specifically in areas such as Disaster Recovery, DR-as-a-Service, IDC and Bandwidth. He has extensive experience of over 10 years within the data center domain, out of his total work experience of 20 years. Nilesh has been with Netmagic for 6 years handing key roles and responsibilities within areas such as DR, DRaaS, IDC and Bandwidth.