tion,” says Vaccaro. According to Seger, other energy-sucking mistakes include the “classics” – operating comatose
servers and ignoring air filter changes at appropriate
intervals for a given facility. Over-provisioned cooling and
stranded electrical capacity are more obstacles to consider
if you’re fine-tuning your data center.
Overcome Split Incentives
To tackle these common challenges, manage the split
incentives between IT and facility departments and take
a frank look at processes. Encouragement from facility
owners is also important.
“A lot of it comes down to communication,” says Seger.
“We’re all providing a service of delivering something to
somebody who’s paying us. If we all work together, we
can do it very efficiently and increase our bottom line,”
he adds, noting that some of his clients have enforced
procedures like requiring FM signatures on large capital
outlays or only allowing facilities staff to install IT equipment in order to accurately track load.
A few simple ideas can help bridge the gap between IT
and FM groups who need to get together for the sake of
efficiency and costs:
IT heads never would have allowed the facilities team
to fiddle with the HVAC to make it more efficient if we
hadn’t put monitoring equipment in there to assure them
the server inlet temperatures were going to remain in the
range they wanted,” says Huang.
Other obstacles to efficiency are less interpersonal and
more mechanical. Paul Vaccaro, technical program manager for infrastructure projects at Intel, finds the decision
between facility upgrades vs. new construction to be a
major challenge. Finding downtime to retrofit is a struggle,
and older buildings aren’t always equipped to meet the
needs of evolving technology.
“There are a lot of demands from new computing models
“I’m astonished at how often I see poor airflow separa-
that are very different in terms of density from what
we’ve had in the past,” says Vaccaro. “Blade servers, new
chassis, integrated components – all of these impact the
design and operation of the data center. One of the biggest
challenges is that FMs and IT managers don’t necessarily
have a lifecycle process for managing the equipment.”
Knowing when your systems have outlived their
efficiency is key to running a smarter data center.
Another factor is adopting the “building as an air
handler” approach to design.
CRAC Hot Aisle
Cold Aisle Cold Aisle Server
Hot Aisle Containment
Loose Seal Barrier for
EFFICIENCIES FROM HOT AISLE CONTAINMENT Exhaust air from facing server racks is directed to a plenum
above a false ceiling and then to a perimeter cooling unit before it is supplied to the front of the server racks.
This airflow management can save energy while supplying more consistent and predictable inlet temperatures
for the equipment. Source: 42U www.42U.com
HOT AISLE CONTAINMENT