Two Data Center Airflow Management Tips
September 11, 2009 - Contact FacilitiesNet Editorial Staff »
I'm Brandon Lorenz, senior editor for Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip: Making airflow improvements. Air Distribution can gradually become a major problem in existing data centers. The problem is that airflow management is a silent energy drain. There won't ever be a red flag to indicate there is a problem. Here are two easy steps operators of older data centers with raised floors should consider. First, reduce bypass airflow by sealing cable cutouts under existing cabinets. It's not unusual for cable cutouts to be open, which allows cold air to blow directly up the backs of the cabinets and mix with exhaust air from servers. Fire-resistant plank foam is an effective and low-cost way to seal the openings. For new cabinet floor penetrations, nylon brush floor grommets can be used. Also pay attention openings in the raised floor air gaps in the building columns that allow bypass air from the raised floor to go directly into the ceiling space. Second, crack down on through-cabinet bypass airflow. Openings between equipment in a cabinet, which allow cold air to migrate from cold rows to hot rows and mix with exhaust air from servers, can be sealed using clear Plexiglass blanking plates. Magnets can be used to adhere blanking plates in cabinets to rails. This standardized practice made deploying and reconfiguring blanking plates quick and easy, increasing utilization and effectiveness.