Hot aisle containment is a data center cooling strategy. There are two challenges in data centers, one is cooling the space and the other is getting hot air out. By using the hot aisle containment strategy, data center providers can more efficiently address the need for removing the hot air because it is literally contained in specific areas.
Hot aisle and cold aisle is one strategy. And while hot aisle containment is one strategy is not allows used, it does provide a way to get the hot air out without having to use as much cold air in a space. With rows of electronics racks holding computers and some networking gear, the amount of heat that is generated in even the smallest centers is significant. Server rack sizes may vary, but every data storage center has to evaluate the benefits of hot aisle containment if they want to effectively protect their equipment, with the ultimate goal of providing their customers with the most affordable and reliable storage options.
Computer Storage and Networking Equipment Generate Large Amounts of Heat
A study from 2011, indicated that 38% of large companies were expected to exceed IT capacity within 18 months, so it should come as no surprise that data storage centers are big business. From the selection of different types of data racks to the other kinds of equipment, there are a number of choices. More than any of these selections, however, is the discussion of the benefits of hot aisle containment strategies. Consider some of these facts and figures about the data center storage industry and the suppliers who play important roles:
- To keep servers at the correct temperatures and reduce energy use, 80% of data centers employ or are looking into installing hot or cold aisle containment systems.
- 82% of companies reportedly saved money by moving to the cloud, so the data center industry will continue to expand to meet these needs.
- 25% of respondents would choose storage if they were given the choice of only being able to move one application to the cloud.
- The power density of a data center is 100 times more than that of a large commercial office building and is equivalent to nine small sized shopping malls the size of Wal-Mart.
- More than 65% of IT equipment failures are directly attributed to inadequate, poorly maintained, or failed air conditioning in the server room.
- Air conditioning efficiency improvements can reduce this cost by up to 35%, so based on current electricity price increases and the carbon levy this cost could rise by up to 67% in the next three years.
With the use of specifically made and designed heavy plastic curtains at the end of every hot aisle, data centers still have to have an exhaust system over the hot aisle, but the process is much easier. Big data centers with a three foot raised floors can effectively keep the hot air out of the cold spaces, but not everyone can achieve this without implementing the benefits of hot aisle containment. Another reason for using this method is if your data center is in a space that also has over head cooling systems.