What are hot/cold air aisles?
They are a way of orienting server racks and erecting physical barriers so that hot and cold air are segregated, allowing cooling systems to work more efficiently. The point of this layout is to prevent hot air that’s expelled by servers to intermingle with cool air, so that CRACs (computer room air conditioners) don’t waste energy re-cooling air that’s been warmed by IT equipment.
Luckily, there are several services and products to help data center operators achieve the benefits of hot/cold air containment. They can range from near-DYI kits to full-fledged consultancy and installation. Here are some online resources to help you get started as you embark on your research into the topic. And if you have some links of your own, share them in the comments!
Create A Hot Aisle/ Cold Aisle Setup – Processor
In terms of pitfalls, a common one is relying only on aisle separation as the sole thermal management strategy, Domich says. “One must still continue the best practices of using blanking panels, sealing around cables routed through cut floor tiles, taking care to not overdo it with perforated tiles, and ensuring that hot air has a dedicated return path to the heat exchangers.”
Hot Aisle Or Cold Aisle For Containment? – Slashdot
Some excellent discussions, including this one:
HAC (The APC method): Seemed to be cheaper and easier to install. Since the hot aisle is being contained, if something happens to your coolers, you have a longer ride-through time as there’s a much larger volume of cold air to draw from. However, at least when I got out of the business, HAC *required* the use of in-row cooling, and with APC, that meant water in your rows…
The Data Center Hot/Cold Aisle Containment Debate – InformationWeek
Most server equipment manufactured today is designed to draw in air through the front and exhaust it out the rear. This allows equipment racks to be arranged to create hot aisles and cold aisles. This ‘hot/cold aisle containment’ approach positions racks so that rows of racks face each other, with the front of each opposing row of racks drawing cold air from the same aisle (the cold aisle). Hot/cold aisle containment systems often use makeshift design solutions like vinyl plastic sheeting used in meat lockers to prevent the mixing of hot and cold air and there is some debate at the moment about whether it is better to contain the hot or cold air.
Google’s Budget Containment System – Data Center Knowledge
Clear vinyl data center curtains are offered by vendors including Simplex, and are being used in a growing number of facilities, including high-profile sites like Sun’s Colorado data center. Steve O’Donnell at The Hot Aisle has long argued for curtains as a pragmatic approach to airflow separation. In highlighting isolation strategies using curtains, Weihl focused on best practices that are accessible to companies with modest data center operations.
Hot aisle – Wikipedia
In data center operations Hot Aisle refers to the arrangement of 19″ rack computer cabinets within the data center so that hot and cold air are separated into Hot and Cold aisles thereby improving cooling efficiency…
Image Credit: ~Bob~West~’s photostream