Data center cooling is boring and so is oatmeal. My doctor tells me that oatmeal will lower my cholesterol and save my heart, so sometimes boring is a good thing.
Cooling systems are often overlooked in the creation of the data center, but excess humidity and heat can cause damage to data center infrastructure.
It is important to understand the pros and cons between the different types of cooling systems. Here’s some cool information about DC AC that you can take to heart (I promise we are done with the puns).
Water-based cooling systems require an outdoor chiller and pump with indoor variable frequency devices, controls, CRAH units, and filter and leak detection.
• Chillers are a pack with fins and fans. Fan blades are regularly lost and frequent repairs are needed.
• It’s necessary to ensure chillers don’t shut down in cold weather. With a lead and lag chiller, water must run constantly and special mechanisms must be in place. Cold climates require a glycol mix, which makes the system higher maintenance and more expensive.
• A failure within a single unit will result in cooling loss. A backup chiller is required for 2N redundancy.
With a chilled water loop, an outdoor pump is required to keep the water flowing. If this unit fails, you’ll lose cooling. A backup pump should be considered.
Variable Frequency Devices (VFD)
VFD are what control the speed of the pump. If you have multiple pumps, you’ll need multiple VFD.
Controls maintain the temperature of the chilled water loop. It will command the chiller on, control the orientation of valves, control the speed of VFD, monitor differential pressures, maintain status of temperature probes throughout the loop and monitor flow rate.
Chilled water loops require filtration. A sock is typically installed and must be maintained.
Flowing water requires leak detection around joints and cooling units.
Gas systems are similar to the cooling systems at your home. These are typically smaller units. Each indoor unit will correspond to an individual outdoor condenser unit. Because this is a gas system, freeze protection is less of a concern. These systems can be used for large deployments and will be less expensive than a chilled water system. The indoor cooling unit controls the operation of the outdoor condenser unit, which means less system intelligence is required. For small office data centers, this option will supplement your cooling as it is simpler to retrofit and is less expensive.
For more questions to ask when evaluating data centers
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