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Cooling a Data CabinetJun 19
Cooling a Data Cabinet
Cooling is imperative for the safe use of data cabinets. Without an efficient cooling system in place a data cabinet will not allow the servers inside it to function properly. Once a server overheats it can shut down, damage itself or start performing in an erratic fashion.
With the increased quantity and speed of data usage in the modern data cabinet showing no signs of letting up, the adherence to a working model of data cooling is essential. There are two basic ways to do it – by cooling the cabinet from within (using fans, which are rack mounted like the servers) or by cooling it from without.
Internet cooling of data cabinets is fine for small installations, where one or two pieces of working hardware are confined inside the cabinet. Typical of a small business installation, this kind of standalone data cabinet is normally fitted with a range of self-cooling aids – included highly vented side panels and a bank of extractor fans on the top shelf of the rack.
The vents leak hot air from the servers into the wider environment of the room, and the fans drag as much of the rising warm air out through the top of the data cabinet as they can.
If you have an array of hardware and several data cabinets, then you may need to rely on external cooling. Typically this is done with air conditioning, though this is increasingly seen as noisy, expensive, energy inefficient and potentially using space that could be better served by filling the data centre with extra communications hardware.
Ultra-modern data cabinet cooling technologies have devised a way of cooling the whole data room without sacrificing any space to air conditioning units. The fronts of the data cabinets are sealed in a “cold aisle” – a contained space with a false floor, which has freezing cold air passed underneath it in a permanent stream. The cold floor chills the air in the data aisle and so keeps the servers cold.
The back of the data cabinet array, in this model, is open into the rest of the room – so the cold aisle effectively forms a self-contained room within a room, which is not touched by the hot exhaust. Instead, the exhaust is sucked out of the air of the larger room and passed under the false floor, where it is refrigerated and used to keep the floor cold.
The method you choose to use to keep your data cabinet array cool depends on the size of your date room and the amount of power passing through it. More power requires a much more intense cooling solution.
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