Evaporative filter pads cool

air conditioning filter pads

Keep Data Centres Cool

Data centres are massive building that are home to a staggering amount of IT equipment. If you have ever sat with a laptop on your legs for any amount of time, you will have an idea of just how hot that equipment can get. Your laptop is on a tiny scale when compared to what is housed in these giant facilities, so you can imagine just how difficult it is to keep the whole space cool enough to allow the equipment to do the jobs they are designed for. There are a number of different methods used to keep data centres, and the equipment that they house, cool, so let’s take a look at some of them.


Fresh air, not recycled air

Fresh air cooling is perhaps one of the most common methods used, and can be achieved in a couple of different ways. Direct systems pull in fresh air to cool the space, whereas indirect systems use a plate heat exchanger to continually circulate cool air throughout the building. You would lose your mind if you dropped you laptop in the bathtub when it was full of water, yet liquid immersion is a method that is gaining popularity for keeping IT equipment cool. The equipment is submerged in mineral oil, and is an effective way of cooling equipment for a lot less money.


Evaporation




Chillers are used to exchange heat between units, and come in 3 very specific types, which are water-cooled, air-cooled, and glycol-cooled. While they are slightly different from one another, they all essentially perform the same task, which is to keep the IT equipment cool at all times. The use of power is greatly reduced when using hot and cold aisles to cool the equipment. This set-up is a little tougher to explain, but the system basically prevents any warm air from mixing with the incoming cool air.  Given that Australia is known to have a hot and dry climate, the use of adiabatic cooling is a method that is quite often used in data centres. This system uses evaporated water in order to create the cool air, and it is that setup which is perhaps the biggest drawback. This type of cooling system requires a tremendous amount of water, which makes it a poor option for many larger facilities.


Water in evaporative air conditioning systems

Water is also used in evaporative air conditioning systems, but it is a much more efficient use of water, and one that does not require the vast amounts used by adiabatic systems. This set-up uses filter pads that have water dripped onto them before air is passed through them. While this may sound like a strange way to cool a massive building, the effectiveness of it can be seen through a simple test. Blow on your hand to see how cool it feels, and then wet your hand and blow again. You will clearly feel how much cooler it is when moisture is added.

The evaporative air conditioning system is highly efficient and cost effective, which is why data centres are now routinely making the switch to that particular form of cooling.