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Performance Evaluation for Modular, Scalable Cooling Systems in Data Centers
Scientific and enterprise data centers, IT equipment product development, and research data center laboratories typically require continuous cooling to control inlet air temperatures within recommended operating levels for the IT equipment. The consolidation and higher density aggregation of slim computing, storage and networking hardware has resulted in higher power density than what the raised–floor system design, coupled with commonly used computer rack air conditioning (CRAC) units, was originally conceived to handle.Many existing data centers and newly constructed data centers adopt CRAC units, which inherently handle heat transfer within data centers via air as the heat transfer media. This results in energy performance of the ventilation and cooling systems being less than optimal. Understanding the current trends toward higher power density in IT computing, more and more IT equipment manufacturers are designing their equipment to operate in “conventional” data center environments, while considering provisions of alternative cooling solutions to either their equipment or supplemental cooling in rack or row systems.
Naturally, the trend toward higher power density resulting from current and future generations of servers has, in the meanwhile, created significant opportunities for precision cooling suppliers to engineer and manufacture packaged modular and scalable systems. The modular and scalable cooling systems aim at significantly improving efficiency while addressing the thermal challenges, improving reliability, and allowing for future needs and growth. Such pre-engineered and manufactured systems may be a significant improvement over current design; however, without an energy efficiency focus, their applications could also lead to even lower energy efficiencies in the overall data center infrastructure.
The overall goal of the project supported by California Energy Commission was to characterize four commercially available, modular cooling systems installed in a data center. Such modular cooling systems are all scalable localized units, and will be evaluated in terms of their operating energy efficiency in a real data center, respectively, as compared to the energy efficiency of traditional legacy data center cooling systems
The following documents discuss performance evaluation for modular, scalable cooling systems in data centers.
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