Behind the scenes of our ever-growing information and entertainment consumption, huge datacenters are an essential part of today’s massive Internet connectivity. In addition to the general web-support services provided by the likes of Google, large companies also are running their own datacenters. With so many proliferating, the efficiency, reliability, and energy-use of these buildings that house racks upon racks of servers operating 24×7 is a concern.
The white paper “11 Top Tips for Energy-Efficient Data Center Design and Operation… A High-Level ‘How To’ Guide” describes how to use thermal simulation software to look at alternative design aspects for building more energy-efficient facilities. The authors recommend a holistic approach in which the cooling strategy is proven to work as desired from the outset by CFD simulation during datacenter design.
Conventional layout of perimeter, computer-room, air-conditioning units focuses on the room-level design, and the racks and the equipment are an afterthought. More recent design approaches, such as aisle containment and liquid-cooled racks, focus on cooling individual equipment, avoiding the need for full-room/cold-aisle air cooling. These approaches are based on an assumption that the airflow environment within the data hall will support the cooling method from commissioning through full operation.
As an alternative approach, CFD tools such as FloTHERM can be used for commissioning and operation to ensure that the cooling methods continue to work during changing business needs and increasing equipment power consumption.