Air Flow Management in High Density Data Centers
The Data Center Energy Efficiency Emerging Technology Demonstration Project focuses on the confinement of chilled air distribution in data center cold aisles. This methodology is based on the observation that current industry practices allow the chilled supply air to mix with surrounding warmer air before reaching the servers. By this way, energy is wasted in supplying too much air flow at a lower temperature than required. The first objective of the experiments was to show that, by implementing appropriate air distribution controls, the mixing and recirculation of data center air can be prevented. The second was to show that it results in a reduction of the airflow and cooling load at the CRAH (Computer Room Air Handler) units. The demonstration was performed at the Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Enterprise Technology Center Laboratory in Menlo Park , California . The test results confirmed that isolating the cold aisle from the rest of the data center is a practical and efficient method for air distribution control. Lower server inlet temperatures were measured demonstrating a substantial reduction of the mixing. Potential fan and cooling energy savings of about 20% of the power of the servers have been identified.