Degree Controls discusses new data center consulting service

Degree Controls discusses its new data center cooling consulting service.

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Degree Controls discusses new data center consulting service

Mark Fontecchio: Hi I'm Mark Fontecchio, I'm a reporter with TechTarget and I have with me Tim Hirschenhofer who is with Degree Controls, they're a cooling consultant company and he's going to tell us a little bit about the data center cooling center services that the company now offers.

Tim Hirschenhofer: We now offer a monitoring service, so basically after our system is installed in a data center, we will remotely monitor the customer's thermal conditions and ensure that they have thermal peace of mind in their data center. The reason that we decided to offer this service is because data centers are always changing, so the state of the data center as we put our system is going to be different six months and a year down the road after that. People swap out servers, they put in blade servers, they add racks, they take out racks and we decided to offer the service as a way to ensure that throughout those changes our customers are maintaining a thermally safe environment in their data center.

Mark Fontecchio: Can you explain how, exactly, it works? If they need to install a new row of servers, you go into the site and actually install them for them, or you work with them remotely? How do you do it?

Tim Hirschenhofer: What we would do is provide consultative services to the customer in that particular case. If they wanted to install a new row of servers, they could consult us on the best location to do it in the data center, on the density of the racks that they could put in with a given cooling load. If they needed additional cooling, we would do a lot of CFD analysis for them and help them understand the best place to put the new cooling units. We offer that as an ongoing service, but our service also provides monthly and quarterly updates for the customer.

Basically we're taking all the environmental information that our system gathers and we're compiling histories and trending and then analysis of that information, providing it back to the customer in monthly reports. Then we go even a step further and do updated CFD analysis, if necessary, in a more in depth quarterly report. The customer has a lot of information that comes back to them basically outlining the thermal condition of their data center, alerting them to trends that we see, for example, if we notice a certain area of the room heating up over time, we can recommend that they put additional cooling over in that room.

The service also allows the customer who's purchased our system to not have to come back and buy individual components. In other words, they're paying us a monthly service fee and that monthly service fee covers growth of their data center and expansion of our system to handle that growth.

Mark Fontecchio: Can you explain the benefit of using Computational Fluid Dynamics, or CFD analysis, to determine where the best place is from a cooling standpoint to locate servers?

Tim Hirschenhofer: Absolutely. When we do the CFD analysis, we're looking at things that are not necessarily intuitive. For example, if a CRAC units are placed or offset across a room, you can often get a vortex in the middle of the room which would cause negative pressure, so you don't have enough air coming out of the floor in that scenario at that particular spot of the room. It's not necessarily apparent; you can't see a vortex with your eyes. CFD modeling helps us identify those types of problems and then we can also insert our fan trays into a CFD analysis so that we ensure we're locating the fan trays in the optimum spots to provide the best solution to the customer.

Mark Fontecchio: Tim, thanks a lot for talking to us.

Tim Hirschenhofer: Thank you.

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