Air Containment Systems

btn_contactPTS provides Air Containment Systems (ACS) for hot-aisle/cold-aisle containment. The solutions reduce data center cooling costs by directing cold air where it is needed most – through the computer racks.

Data center managers across the county are discovering that ACS or airlock systems consisting of clear panels, vinyl curtains, door enclosure solutions or strip doors are ideal for use in computer data centers where hot-aisle/cold-aisle containment is important. Hot-aisle/cold-aisle design is the data center best practice where server racks are lined up in alternating rows with cold-air intakes all facing one aisle and hot-air exhausts facing the other. Cool air is vented into the cold air aisles, directed through the computer racks, and into the warm air aisles.

Air Containment System

By further separating the hot and cold air aisles with an ACS, managers can effectively separate cold air aisles from warm air aisles, directing cool air where it is needed most in the data center: through the computer racks. Additionally, a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds facilities that use curtains or partitions to direct airflow in data centers, “can save energy on both air conditioning and fan systems – 15% and 67%, respectively.”

PTS typically designs this solution & CFD models its application to guarantee the results, savings & performance prior to implementation.

The key design criteria parameters serve as a basis to monitor and properly manage the data center. Use of PTS ACS solutions provide clear return-on-investment as an integral component of the eleven-step computer room design and management process.

Features Benefits
Hot and cold aisle separation. Save energy on both air conditioning and fan systems – 15% and 67% respectively (according to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)
Includes airlock panels, transparent curtains, vinyl curtains, door enclosure systems, strip doors, panels and patented hardware. Solutions available for a variety of applications.
Specially formulated solutions which are low-outgassing and anti-static. Fire retardant to meet ASTM and NFPA requirements.
Drop-away curtains. Curtains fall away in the case of fire, allowing fire sprinklers full operating range.
Airlocks raise the intake or ducts the intake of a CRAC to the plenum Improves the effectiveness of your HVAC system
(Click image to view full-size)
(Click image to view full-size)

To learn more about PTS consulting services to support Air Conditioning Equipment & Systems deployments and support, contact us or visit:

 

Economizer Cooling Solutions

The data center cooling system is a primary target for energy efficiency improvements. Emerson Network Power analyzed data center energy usage and found that cooling systems — comprised of cooling and air movement equipment — account for 38 percent of energy consumption within this mission critical facility. Fortunately, cooling system technologies, such as Economizers, exist that can substantially slash costs from the data center electricity bill.

Economizer systems can have a significant impact on energy usage. In many locations, economizers can be used to allow outside cool air to complement data center cooling systems and provide “free cooling” during colder months. A study on building control systems conducted by Battelle Laboratories and reported by the National Building Controls Information Program, found that on average the normalized heating and cooling Energy Use Intensity (EUI) of buildings with economizers was approximately 13 percent lower than those without economizers1.

When an economizer system is operating, the use of an air conditioning system’s compressor(s) and related electro-mechanical components is reduced or eliminated. This reduces energy consumption.

Economizers-Data-Center-Incorporation
This data center cooling system incorporates economizers in modular mixing boxes mounted on top of the computer room handling units.

Types of Economizers and How They Work (PDF Download)

The two basic types of economizer systems are air economizers and fluid economizers. While both have the ultimate goal of free cooling, they possess fundamental differences that impact the environments in which each is most appropriately used. The air economizer serves as a control mechanism to regulate the use of outside air for cooling in a room or building. It admits into the room the appropriate volume of outside air to satisfy cooling demands. Sensors on the air economizer measure the outside and inside air conditions. If outside conditions are suitable for the use of outside air for cooling, the economizer introduces the outside air for complete or partial cooling of the space. During the time these conditions exist, the need for the air conditioning system’s chiller(s)/compressor(s) is reduced or eliminated, which results in significant energy savings.

Liebert Economizer Solutions
Liebert Economizer Solutions

Air economizers are available in two types: a “dry air” system and an “evaporatively conditioned” air system. The former is the most common, but its use is restricted to a few geographic locations because of contamination issues and the high cost of energy required to add moisture to the room when the outside humidity is too low or too high. The evaporatively conditioned system is an economical method for conditioning the air before it comes into the data center, but reliability issues (mildew concerns and high maintenance requirements) have generally made this approach unattractive to most data center operators.

As its name would suggest, a fluid economizer system is typically incorporated into a chilled water or glycol-based cooling system. This type of economizer works in conjunction with a heat rejection loop consisting of a cooling tower or drycooler to satisfy cooling requirements. With the economizer operating, the fluid used in the cooling system passes through an additional heat exchanger/coil, minimizing the need for chiller/compressor operation.

During colder months, the glycol solution returning from the outdoor drycoolers or cooling tower feeding the CRAC units is routed to the second coil, which becomes the primary source of cooling for the room. As long as the “free cooling” fluid is 8 degrees Fahrenheit below the air temperature returning to the CRAC unit, there is some benefit for having the free cooling running, because it minimizes the load on the primary cooling method. Similarly in CRAH units, a secondary heat exchanger between the cooling tower fluid and the chilled water loop takes away part of the heat from the return water loop and reduces the load on the chiller.

To learn more about PTS recommended Economizer Cooling Solutions, contact us or visit (in alphabetical order):

To learn more about PTS consulting services to support Air Conditioning Equipment & Systems deployments and support, contact us or visit:

Room-Based Cooling Solutions

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Room-based-Cooling-SolutionsSmall Room

Room based Cooling ApproachLarge Room

Traditional data center, computer room, and server room cooling methodologies provide room-oriented cooling which provides an entire room with cold air from centralized units at one end of the room. This approach is acceptable when power densities are minimal and, therefore, there are few hot spots in a room.

Stulz-CRAC-CyberAir-Cooling-Solution
Stulz CyberAiR Room Cooling Solution

Effective Room-Based Cooling approaches start with well understood Key Design Criteria to understand the total cooling requirement, areas of possible hot-spots, design elements (I.e. raised floor, ceiling mounted air ducts), room architecture, hot-aisle/cold-aisle containment strategies to name a few requirements and design considerations.

In large data centers Room-Based Cooling Solutions remain the most economical approach to cooling and, where appropriate and necessary, can be deployed in a hybrid environment with Row-Based Cooling Solutions and Rack-Based Cooling solutions. This approach is beneficial to data centers operating with a broad spectrum of rack power densities.

Floor-Layout-Utilizing-Room-Row-Rack-Architectures
Floor layout utilizing room, row, and rack-oriented architectures

In this approach each of the types of cooling solutions approaches plays a role to provide cooling throughout the facility:

  • Room-Based: Supplying a room but primarily serving a low density area of mixed equipment such as communications equipment, low density servers, and storage.
  • Row-Based: Supplying a high density or ultra-high density area with blade servers or 1U servers.
  • Rack-Based: Supplying isolated high density racks or ultra-high density racks

Manufacturers provide small-room and large-room oriented cooling systems. In many cased small-room cooling can be efficiently deployed using Rack-Based cooling solutions and appropriate isolation solutions and heat rejection solutions. For large-room deployments designs may include the cooling systems deployed within the data center, computer room, or server room, heat rejection solutions, and economizers.

Liebert DS Upflow
Liebert DS Upflow

To learn more about PTS consulting services to support Air Conditioning Equipment & Systems deployments and support, contact us or visit:

Row-Based Cooling Solutions

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in-row-cooling-approach
In-Row Cooling Approach

Traditional data center, computer room, and server room cooling methodologies provide room-oriented cooling which provides an entire room with cold air from centralized units at one end of the room. This approach is acceptable when power densities are minimal and, therefore, there are few hot spots in a room. However, room-oriented designs are affected by room constraints including ceiling height, room shape, obstructions above and below the floor, rack layout, CRAC location, power distribution, etc.

With a row-oriented architecture, the CRAC units are associated with a row and are assumed to be dedicated to a row for design purposes. The CRAC units may be mounted among the IT racks, they may be mounted overhead, or they may be mounted under the floor. Compared with the room-oriented architecture, the airflow paths are shorter and more clearly defined. In addition, airflows are much more predictable, all of the rated capacity of the CRAC can be utilized, and higher power density can be achieved.

Liebert CRV In Row Cooling SolutionThe row-oriented architecture has a number of side benefits other than cooling performance:

  • The reduction in the airflow path length reduces the CRAC fan power required, increasing efficiency.
  • A row-oriented design allows cooling capacity and redundancy to be targeted to specific rows.
  • Row-based cooling allows a data center, computer room, or server room to be implemented without a raised floor.
  • In-Row cooling allows for varied room designs and constraints. For example, load-bearing supports can be managed at the row level rather than trying to handle at the room level.

To learn more about PTS recommended In-Row Cooling Solutions, contact us or visit:

To learn more about PTS consulting services to support Air Conditioning Equipment & Systems deployments and support, contact us or visit:

Rack-Based Cooling Solutions

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Rack-Based-Cooling-Solutions
Rack-Based Cooling Solution

The Rack-Based Cooling approach takes the concept of Row-Based Cooling one step further and places the air conditioner and humidifier appliances in close proximity to the IT devices to be cooled. By being in close proximity and, therefore, dedicated to a single rack of equipment, the rack-oriented airflow paths are even shorter and exactly defined, so that airflow are totally immune to any installation variation or room constraints. All of the rated capacity of the CRAC can be utilized and the highest power density (up to 50 kW per rack) can be achieved.

Similar to row cooling, the rack-oriented architecture has other unique characteristics in addition to allowing extremely dense rack designs. The reduction in the airflow path length reduces the CRAC fan power required which increases efficiencies.

A rack-oriented design allows cooling capacity and redundancy to be targeted to the actual needs of a specific rack so a mixture of rack and blade server cabinets is ok within a single row. The biggest problem with this approach is that it requires a large number of air conditioner devices and associated piping when compared to other approaches. It also is typically more expensive to deploy the rack-specific hardware.

APC-InRack-RACSC-Cooling-Solution
APC InRack RACSC Direct Expansion Cooling Solution

Rack-based cooling designs typically use chilled water or refrigerant as the cooling medium. However, the majority of product designs don’t actually deliver the liquid into the cabinet but into a separate enclosure or cooling device integrated into the rack design. The equipment itself is still air cooled.

As with row-oriented architectures, there are a number of side benefits other than cooling performance for rack-based designs:

  • The reduction in the airflow path length reduces the CRAC fan power required, increasing efficiency.
  • A rack-oriented design allows cooling capacity and redundancy to be targeted to specific racks.
  • Rack-based cooling allows a data center, computer room, or server room to be implemented without a raised floor.
  • In-Rack cooling allows for varied room designs and constraints. For example, load-bearing supports can be managed at the row level rather than trying to handle at the room level.
To learn more about PTS recommended Rack-Based Cooling Solutions, contact us or visit:
Liebert MCR
Liebert MCR

Rack-Based Cooling Solutions (in alphabetical order)

To learn more about PTS consulting services to support Air Conditioning Equipment & Systems deployments and support, contact us or visit:

Cooling Optimization Solutions

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Data Center Cooling Optimization Best Practices for Data Centers, Computer Rooms, and Server Rooms

To learn more about PTS recommended cooling optimization solutions, contact us or visit (in alphabetical order):

  • PermaFrost NMR™ Refrigeration Solutions Powertron Global offers PermaFrost NMR™ Refrigeration Solutions in synthetic and non-synthetic formulations. PermaFrost Nucleo Molecular Regenerative (NMR) technology was designed to improve the performance for any A/C, refrigeration system, or heat pump without modification or alterations. The NMR technology uses nanotechnology to increase SEER, COP, and Delta T through thermo-conductive metal enhancement.

To learn more about PTS consulting services to support Air Conditioning Equipment & Systems deployments and support, contact us or visit:

 

Air Flow Management

One of the most common complaints design engineers hear from data center owners and operators is that they need additional cooling capacity because the existing system doesn’t maintain an acceptable temperature at the data equipment inlets. But in most cases, the problem isn’t one of insufficient capacity, but of poor air flow management. The good news is that adopting a strategy to improve data center air flow results in two positive changes. First, by reducing the amount of air that needs to be supplied, less energy is used for data center cooling. Second, temperature distribution across cabinets is improved.

The biggest culprits leading to poor air flow conditions in data centers are recirculation and bypass air flow. Bypass air flow is cold supply air that does not lead to productive cooling at the IT load. Both reduce the overall available airflow for cooling, but do so by two different mechanisms.

  • Recirculation is the mixing of the hot exhaust with the cold intake of the IT equipment
  • Bypass circumvents the cooling path by going around the IT equipment

The primary method for minimizing the impact of both recirculation and bypass is to separate the supply and return air streams using air flow management or containment. With containment, the rack density is only limited by the capacity of the cooling equipment to provide the proper airflow at an acceptable differential temperature (I.e. server inlet temperature to server outlet temperature).

Why don’t all data center managers use containment? Some don’t like that containment restricts access to the cabinets, cable trays, or aisles. However, a less obvious problem is containment requires a carefully planned control strategy to prevent excessive pressure differences between hot and cold aisles. If the pressurization control strategy is wrong, the server fans could starve for air, which could cause them to increase speed in order to maintain acceptable processor temperatures. Thus, to respond to pressure issues, the servers will increase energy consumption and operations costs will increase.

Data Center Air Flow Management Best Practices

  • Air Flow Management Hot Cold Aisle ContainmentHot Aisle / Cold Aisle Containment. Hot aisle containment encloses and captures the hot IT exhaust and ducts the hot air directly back to the computer room air conditioners/handlers.

    While hot aisle containment captures the return, cold aisle containment, as the name implies, contains the cold air supply.

    Both methodologies have the benefit of isolation of the hot air return from the supply air, allowing for increased CRAC/H efficiencies gained from higher return cooling coil temperatures. Additionally, both will reduce the need for humidification and dehumidification as the air is delivered directly back to the CRAC/H without mixing. The two differ in three areas—scalability, thermal mass and operator comfort.

  • Install blanking panels in all openings within each cabinet. Don’t forget bypass and recirculation can occur inside cabinets. An air flow management system cannot effectively cool the equipment in a cabinet without eliminating internal paths of bypass and recirculation. Blanking panels reduce these air flows and are considered a must for proper air flow inside a cabinet.

  • Deploy perforated tiles in cold aisles. Placing perforated tiles in any location but cold aisles increases bypass. There is never a justification for placing perforated tiles in hot aisles unless it’s a maintenance tile. During maintenance, if necessary, a perforated tile can be used in a hot aisle to support an IT technician. However, make sure not to leave it behind.

  • Polargy-obstructed-cutoutsSeal gaps between raised floors, walls, doors, cable cutouts, etc. Sealing the spaces between the raised floors and room walls is a no-brainer. Those gaps are easily identified by a simple visual inspection. A more subtle form of bypass can be found when column walls are not finished above the ceiling and below the floor. Often, the sheet rock used to enclose a column forms a chase for direct bypass of air into the return air stream. These chases must be sealed to reduce bypass air flow.
  • Use right type of floor tile. Many data center managers install high capacity grates at perceived hot spots (i.e. racks with blade servers) but this can actually be counter-intuitive. Rather, it is critical to perform a computational fluid dynamic analysis (CFD) above and below the floor of the hot spot to fully understand air flow and pressure changes which will drive the type of floor tile (I.e. high-capacity flow) to deploy.

  • Manage the placement of perforated tiles. Calculate the load for the cold aisle and place an appropriate number of perforated tiles or grates (but not both) to cool the load in that aisle. Placing too few tiles in the cold aisle will cause recirculation. Placing too many will increase the amount of bypass.

Air-Flow-Management-Top-Mount-Cooling-ConfigurationTo learn more about PTS recommended Air Flow Management Cooling Solutions, contact us or visit:

 

To learn more about PTS consulting services to support Air Conditioning Equipment & Systems deployments and support, contact us or visit:

 

Plenaform Systems

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Plenaform Systems designs and manufactures thermal tuning solutions for high density data center cooling with vertical under floor partitioning and blanking panels. Their expertise has enabled them to adapt to the constant changing requirements in IT, and their product designs have won several awards.

Plenaform Products

PlenaForm - PlenaFill Blanking Panels PlenaForm – PlenaFill Scalable Blanking Panels (27U) – 19″ EIA, 10-Pack
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PlenaForm - PlenaFill Blanking Panels (Before/After) PlenaForm – PlenaFill Scalable Blanking Panels (12U) – Black, 23″ EIA, 12-Pack
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PlenaForm PlenaFill 23" Wide 1" On-Center Mountain Rails PlenaForm – PlenaFill Scalable Blanking Panels – Black, 23″ for 1″ On Center Mounting Rails 12-Pack
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PlenaForm Raised Floor/Baffle System PlenaForm Baffle – Raised Floor Baffle Kits (includes rivets & cable ties
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Browse all Plenaform Products at the PTS Online Store

Polargy Cooling Products

Buy from the PTS Online StorePolargy is the leading provider of hot aisle and cold aisle containment solutions for data center new construction and retrofit projects. Below are some of Polargy’s products (offered by PTS) that are designed to help cool your data center.

Polargy-Polarblock-skirt-fill-gap-above-racks Polargy PolarBlock Air Barrier Panels: Black, 48″ wide, Magnetic or Reclosable. 10 Sheets per Box

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Polargy-PolarBlock-Skirt3 Polargy PolarBlock Air Dam Skirts: 24″ wide, Magnetic or Reclosable, 3.5″ or 4″ tall. 10 per Box

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Polargy-Frostbyte-frost4 Polargy Frost-Byte Raised Floor Fan Tile with Temperature Sensor and Aluminum Grate

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Polargy-PolarSnap---Mkgt Polargy PolarSnap Metal Tool-less Black Blanking Panel: 1U/2U (Box of 10)

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Polargy-thumb-screw Polargy PolarFlex Thumb Screw, 10/32 Threaded, Black, Bag of 50

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Polargy-Push-Rivet1 Polargy PolarFlex Push Rivets, Square Hole, Black, Bag of 50

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Polargy-42U-PolarFlex1---Mktg Polargy PolarFlex Blanking Panel, 42U per Sheet, Pack of 10

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Polargy-obstructed-cutouts Polargy PolarDam Air Dam Foam (Six 24″x24″x2″ sheets)

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Polargy

Buy from the PTS Online StorePolargy-logoPolargy is the leading provider of hot aisle and cold aisle containment solutions for new data center construction and retrofit projects. Polargy designs, manufactures and installs complete turnkey containment solutions including hot aisle and cold aisle containment, air flow accessories and server racks. Polargy’s industry-leading data center containment solutions save energy and keep mission-critical environments cool across the globe.

Smart designs, innovative products and years of experience ensure that clients achieve significant cost savings with cutting edge air flow management solutions completed on time and on budget.

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