Data centers are the world's largest electricity consumers. It is no secret. The data center industry accounts for 1-1.5% of global electricity consumption. As cloud computing, edge computing, AI, and other digital transformation technologies gain traction, this statistic will only increase. Technology efficiency improvements will be offset by an ever-increasing amount of storage and computing required meeting consumer and business needs. Following are some of the data center cooling systems and methods:
Chilled Water System
A data center cooling system that uses chilled water, which is commonly used in large-to-medium-sized data centers, is heated water. This water cools the air brought in by air handlers. A chiller plant is located in the facility that provides water.
Cold Aisle/Hot Aisle Content
Hot and cold aisle containment is a common type of data center rack deployment. It uses rows of "cold" and "hot" aisles. The cold aisle is comprised of cold air intakes at the front of racks and hot aisles of air exhausts at the rear. Hot aisles release hot air into the air conditioning intakes, which are then chilled and vented into cold aisles.
Computer Room Air Conditioner (Crac)
CRAC units are a common feature in any data center. They look very similar to traditional air conditioners powered with a compressor that draws coolant-filled air across the cooling unit. Although they are inefficient regarding energy consumption, the equipment is relatively inexpensive.
Computer Room Air Handler (Crah)
The CRAH unit works within a larger system that includes a chiller or chilled water plant. The cooling coil in the unit cools the water and then draws air from the outside. CRAH units work by cooling external air and are therefore more efficient in colder areas.
Temperature management by exposing warm air and water to water, this causes the water to evaporate as well as draws heat from the air. Water can be released in the form of a misting device or a moist matter such as a mat or filter. This system is very energy-efficient, as it does not use CRAC or CRAH units.
A data center cooling system that makes use of the outside atmosphere to cool the air instead of continuously chilling it, although it can only be used in certain climates, this is a very efficient form of server cooling.
A raised floor is a structure that raises the data center floor from the concrete slab flooring. The space between them is used for water-cooling pipes and enhanced airflow. Although power and network cables can sometimes be run through this area, the latest data center cooling design and best practices place these wires overhead.
Future Cooling Systems & Technologies
Liquid Cooling Technologies
The latest generation of liquid cooling systems is more efficient and effective than the earlier versions. A liquid cooling system is more efficient than air cooling which can be very expensive and introduces pollutants and condensate into the data center. It's also much more scalable and targeted.
Immersion systems are where the hardware is submerged in a tub of dielectric liquid that is non-conductive and non-flammable. The case is leak-proof and both the fluid as well as the hardware contains the liquid. The dielectric fluid absorbs heat much more effectively than air. When heated water becomes vapor, it condenses back into the fluid and helps in cooling.
Direct To The Chip Cooling
Direct-to-chip coolant is delivered via pipes to a cold plate that sits on top of a motherboard's chip. The heat extracted is then fed to a chilled-water loop, which transports it back to the cooling plant. Finally, the coolant is expelled into the atmosphere. Both of these methods offer far better cooling solutions for data center deployments that are power-hungry.