Fresh Air Cooling or Free Cooling for Data Denters? Studies of the company Dell show that Fresh Air Cooling can be a particularly effective method in Europe and offer more hours of economization compared to any Free Cooling approach. Another research, not Dell, shows that slightly higher temperatures in data centers do not affect the IT systems failure rates.
However, it is necessary that i IT devices which servers and storage and networking solutions are built to withstand short-term temperature excursions of up to 45orC, an interesting fact considering that most of the IT equipment currently on the market can only resist up to 35orC of thermal shock.
The scenery. A data center (in Italian Data Processing Center o CED) is the complex of structures, equipment and technological systems designed to keep one or more computers that provide services publicly in the network (on-line). Here are the processing systems, storage and telecommunication equipment.
The function of a Data Center is to provide a correct electrical power supply and to guarantee suitable humidity and temperature conditions so that the equipment can work at its best. This is because all electronic devices produce heat and, if not properly cooled, reduce their performance.
The problem. Data centers consume enormous amounts of energy and represent one of the largest items of expenditure and contribution to carbon footprint of companies. To get an idea of the question in general terms, just think that the total number of Data Centers in the world consumes as much energy as Italy and France consume combined.
The energy consumption of a Data Center is linked to the functioning of the computers and, for the reasons mentioned above, to their cooling; and cooling is one of the biggest costs.
The green idea. Since the air conditioning area of data centers represents an opportunity to ensure financial and environmental efficiency, the technology dedicated to it is certainly a key element of innovation. There economization, that is, the use of external climatic conditions as opposed to the mechanical air conditioning system, has begun to establish itself as a solution to the challenge related to cooling.
The approach to economizing a data center can be of the type Fresh Air Cooling, which uses air as a heat transfer vehicle by bringing cold external air directly into the data center, or Free Cooling type, which relies on external air to lower the cooling water temperature. The water is then channeled into the data center where it acts as a heat transfer vehicle to reduce the air temperature.
The approach Fresh Air Cooling it eliminates the capital costs related to the installation of air conditioners and, by using the outside air to cool the data center, avoids the operating costs associated with the operation of the air conditioners themselves. Typically, these operational and capital savings are achieved through specific approaches, including a particular data center design and geographic location, typically in areas with a Nordic climate.
Dell studied for two and a half years i climate data in Europe, USA and Asia to simulate seven years of use in the worst case scenario of European climate. The results showed that, as mentioned, the implementation of economized data centers requires that IT devices have to withstand short-term temperature excursions up to 45 ° C. A parallel study, not from Dell, also found that failure rates between cooled servers and servers operating at higher temperatures are clearly correlated.
If you consider that the Fresh Air Cooling can guarantee operating savings of $ 275,000 per year per MW of IT and eliminate the costs associated with air conditioning and the capital costs associated with it for nearly 3 million per MW of IT, the ROI achievable through the use of economized solutions it's obvious.