What is Datacenter Cold Aisle Containment?

(If a picture is worth a thousand words…how about a video?!)

Why do we need Cold Aisle Containment (CAC)?

To better understand why we deploy our infrastructure with CAC, first we need to talk about datacenter airflow. As anyone working with a lot of electronics can tell you, they generate heat. When we start talking about high density deployments with 12 servers in the space of a traditional three, they generate a LOT of heat.

Servers and network gear do not tend to operate well, or long, if left to surround themselves in that heat. So, how do we get rid of that issue? There are several options in terms of air flow, venting, raised flooring, enclosures, or simply doing nothing. Well that last one simply is not an option we were about to accept.

How does Cold Aisle Containment work?

The image to the right, from APC documentation, shows a flow diagram of recommended best practices. The idea is to first generate cool air from the Computer Room Air Condition (CRAC) and force it beneath a raised floor (plenum) as cool air naturally settles to the lowest point. The air flow then creates pressure to force the cold air up through tiles (which you see in our video in front of the cabinets and servers). This cool air only escapes via the vents which are then also enclosed within the surrounding walls, doors, and overhead.

As you then see, the cold air is contained within just the aisle it is intended for. Cold Aisle Containment allows for the cool datacenter air created, to be directed to where it is most needed, increasing effectiveness and efficiency.

Because of this pressure, the air is then forced into the server intake fans, warmed by servers doing hard work, and pushed outside of the CAC. This hot air then rises and flows back to the intake of the CRAC to be cooled and the process started again.

But why use should a customer care?

Cold Aisle Containment

As you saw in the video, this is the exact deployment that DediPath chose for their cooling solution. If you are building out a facility, you can see the importance of such a solution; but why would an end customer of an IAAS provider care? A good question with a few very clear answers.

First, if you are colocating your equipment in a facility, you have made an investment in that equipment. You want it to remaining running at peak performance for a long time right? Cooler temperatures prevent equipment throttling as well as extend equipment life times as it prevents heat from degrading equipment as well as lowers fan speeds for longevity.

How do I see this in action?

Easy! Stay tuned to our blog as we continue to provide more walkthroughs on datacenter infrastructure and solutions! You can always reach out to us directly for a tour of our facilities or simply sign up to move your equipment into one our outstanding locations in person or ship it and we will even send you a picture back of its new home!

Until next time, stay healthy out there and let us know if you have questions about the datacenter world! Your question could be the next story!

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