I Am Your Density: Staying Cool with CRAC and Other Solutions

Posted by James Ball on Jul 4, 2018 6:00:00 AM

In honor of the Fourth of July and a rising heat wave across the nation, today we’ll look at how to keep cool even as densities in the data center rise. From CRACs to alternative solutions, here are the best ways to keep the heat in check.




Chill Out!

There’s a memorable moment in the first “Back to the Future” movie when George McFly, played by Crispin Glover, approaches his love interest and proceeds to mangle the line, “I am your destiny.” What comes out instead is, “I am your density,” prompting confused looks and awkward giggles from a table of teenage girls. While McFly may have bungled the line, he could have been speaking directly to data center managers who contend with density issues on a daily basis.

What do we mean, exactly, when we talk about high density? According to our friends at Server Technology, the per rack average power density has jumped to 6 kW from just 1 kW in the period from 2000 to 2014, with many running as high as 43 kW per rack. Needless, to say, although the numbers are across the board, it’s clear density is rising and will be tough to sustain in the long run.

The typical high-density rack simply needs more cooling than is available in most data centers, which were originally built to handle between 2 and 4 kW per rack. To counter this, here are a few solutions for keeping cool in the data center.

  1. Avoid overcooling and opt for implementing a hot/cold aisle system. By creating currents of convection, this solution creates continual cooling. In the process of containing the air, the possibility of hot and cool air mixing is greatly reduced. Also, consider sliding doors or swinging doors, containment panels, curtains, blanking panels and grommets for floors and cabinets as part of this overall strategy.
  1. Tap into the power of Computer Room Air Conditioners (CRAC), which are self-contained air conditioning units that suck up excess heat from your IT equipment and then recycle it as cool air to be redelivered. Also, Computer Room Air Handlers (CRAH) use fans along with chilled water to provide a similar effect. Explore our CRAC and CRAH solutions here.
  1. Consider emerging and alternative technologies. An example of this is non-conductive cooling liquids passing through compartments in the server to both cool the system and retain heat simultaneously.

As you look at all the ways to keep your data center cool, keep the professionals at Instor in mind. We partner with the top vendors in the industry – names such as Vertiv, Stulz, APC, Opticool, Coolcentric and others to provide cutting edge yet affordable cooling solutions. These will not only help you operate efficiently but help maintain the same level of uptime you’ve come to expect.

See how we can help today.


Topics: Cooling, Data Center Power