Article

Data center cooling case studies topic of new ASHRAE book

Mark Fontecchio

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) newest Datacom Series publication, High Density Centers: Case Studies and Best Practices, is now available for purchase. ASHRAE has provided

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a preview chapter. You can download Chapter 1, which introduces the challenge of data center cooling and provides an overview of the seven most common data center ventilation designs. Each scheme is outlined in Chapter 1, and then is detailed with measurements of airflow, power, and temperature in the case studies. See the table of contents for more information.

The ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.9, has released its seventh book on data centers. This most recent book focuses on case studies and best practices for designing high density data centers.

ASHRAE TC 9.9 has hundreds of members and is one of the largest of ASHRAE's approximately 110 technical committees. The group has been publishing books at a fast clip in the past couple years, including recent tomes on liquid cooling, energy efficiency and structural design. Now comes case studies and best practices, two topics that TC 9.9 leaders say members are always asking about.

"Those are the most common things they ask is case studies or best practices," said Don Beaty, founder of data center consultancy DLB Associates who is a TC 9.9 member and past chairman. "Maybe it's the most tangible and not as technical. They can compare them to their own facilities and see tangible results."

This new 191-page book includes 11 separate case studies, looking at the data centers of the National Center for Environmental Protection, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Oracle, and others. It also separates the case studies into six different categories of design:

  • Raised floor with perimeter CRAC units.
  • Raised floor with air-handling units un the subfloor.
  • Raised floor with air-handling units ducted directly to the ceiling for hot air return.
  • Raised floor with liquid-cooled heat exchangers next to the server racks.
  • Raised floor with complete hot/cold aisle containment using duct work.
  • Non-raised floor with ceiling-supplied cooling.

"It's such a broad range of projects, all of which are high-density and all of which are working," Beaty said.

For these case studies, Beaty said they solicited sites mainly through the committee's members, looking for those who were willing and could provide data. Sometimes that data came directly from the data center owner and operator, while other times it came from an engineering consultant or a vendor. In all cases, Beaty said the committee questioned the person or company providing the data and qualified it.

The shorter section on best practices, meanwhile, could provide users with a blueprint and starting point on designing a new data center or possibly renovating or expanding an existing one. Beaty said best practices are especially important in the IT industry, which has changed quickly as data center heat loads have gotten denser.

The best practices section looks at topics such as ventilation designs, the correct height of a raised floor, correct room ceiling height, underfloor blockages, perforated tile layouts, and accommodating future data center growth.

TC 9.9 has several other books in the works right now, including one on corrosive contaminants in the data center.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Mark Fontecchio, News Writer. You can also check out our Server Specs blog.

More on ASHRAE:
ASHRAE to expand recommended data center humidity, temp ranges
ASHRAE data center infrastructure book eases bad vibrations
ASHRAE data center special report


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