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Volume 30, Issue 1

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Monday, 16 June 2014 14:40

Hot and Cold: A Data Center Juggling Act

In this day and age of data center efficiency, just about every IT manager is familiar with the concept of hot aisles and cold aisles.  By directing proper air flow in and around racks of humming equipment, the enterprise is able to reduce operating expenses even as it increases utilization, and therefore heat generation, of key equipment.

What may not be widely known, however, is that there are numerous options when it comes to hot/cold designs, and what works for one facility may not be optimal, or even desirable, for another.

For example, some argue that the cold aisle containment portion of the equation may in fact be more crucial than hot aisle containment. According to Mark Hirst, head of T4 data center solutions at rack and cabinet designer Cannon Technologies, the difference comes down to the most effective use of cooling resources. Do you want cold air to go specifically toward data equipment, or do you want it to dissipate hot air in the room at large? Neither approach is wrong per se, although cold aisle containment does provide for faster cooling response in the event of sudden data spikes.