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Computer room air conditioning


Computer or Server rooms are at the core of IT operations. Proper installation and maintenance of computer rooms is therefore necessary to avoid any breakdowns in IT infrastructure.

One of the most critical aspects in this regard is controlling the temperature of computer or server room within the ranges recommended. As per Industrial Market Trends, mainframes and server racks are known to get as heated up as a seven-foot tower of powered toaster ovens, making temperature control an important component of a server room’s infrastructure. Adequate ventilation and cooling provisions also need to be there in the server room for heat dissipation.

As the server room is generally a closed space, heat generated from machines very often increases the ambient temperature beyond levels specified for machines. Reliability of functioning and machine life is affected and can lead to severe consequences like:

  • Poor system performance
  • System crashes
  • Random reboots

The primary functionality of a computer room air conditioning unit is to regulate and monitor the temperature, humidity and air distribution 24 hours a day due to constant heat generation in the server network room. Central air conditioning systems are not the best solution as they are prone to breakdowns and are also generally shut-off during weekends to save power consumption. As most server rooms are generally located in the office interiors for security purposes, window air conditioners are also not a good option.

Designing an efficient air conditioning system for the modern computer room has become critical for ensuring smooth IT operations. Key considerations to be kept in mind include:

Computer rack cooling through good air flow distribution

  • Downflow air conditioning with a raised floor for the air flow works well. Proper planning of floor grille / damper placement and use of hot and cold aisle regime helps to provide the required cool air circulation to the machine racks.

Condenser setting

  • Heat rejection device must be placed appropriately to prevent areas of overheat during hot weather in the computer room. It becomes particularly important now that heat loads in rooms are rising

Load implications

  • Every 100KW of kit requires a further 30 KW of energy to cool it, making it important to have adequate power supply to be available to take care of cooling requirement

Computer room air conditioning systems are available in a variety of options to suit different requirements. Some of the key ones include:

  • Portable air conditioners do not require permanent installation and work well to ensure server rooms are maintained at the right temperatures for cooling heat-generating electronics.
  • Direct Expansion Air Conditioning offer the flexibility to increase air conditioning units when the cooling load increases in the computer rooms. They are also relatively cheaper to install and are therefore suitable for small – medium computer rooms
  • Chilled Water Air Conditioning require elaborate installation with pipework, pump room and associated equipment. They are ideal for larger data centres and computer rooms due to their higher efficiency.

A 2 tier system with a single path cooling system is the bare essential requirement for most computer rooms to ensure that shutting down any one part of the office or plant will have no adverse impact on the computer or server room temperature.

A more advanced 3 or 4 tier cooling system with multiple cooling paths will have any one path active at any time, to ensure uninterrupted operation of the computer room even if the other half of the system is shut down for maintenance.