The number one job of a data center is to keep the servers up and humming along, but this is not as easy as it may sound. Servers cannot simply be plugged in, stacked in a cabinet, and connected.
Not only must they be monitored, secured, and maintained, they must also be kept cool at all times, night and day, to ensure that the hardware stays intact and that service is not interrupted.
The infrastructure required to do this is costly and sophisticated. One of the main strategies used by Data102 to keep its servers cool and at peak efficiency is called hot aisle containment (HAC).
Like all electronics, bad things happen when servers get too hot, which can easily happen. Servers have fans similar to your home computer that take in cooler air from the front and blow hot air out the back. When servers are arranged haphazardly or in rows facing the same direction, they suck in hot air from the back of the other servers, meaning they can overheat very quickly.
This causes a number of problems:
- Damaged CPUs and power supplies—even after just a few minutes of overheating
- Potential data loss
- System errors
- Network interruption
All of these consequences in a data center can have a serious effect on a business’ productivity and profitability.
The Hot Aisle Containment Solution
The solution, then, is hot aisle containment. With hot aisle containment, servers are aligned in rows facing away from each other in alternating aisles so that they all blow hot air into the same space, which is contained by large plastic curtains. The hot air is then sucked out of these “hot aisles” and recycled through a large air conditioning unit called a CRAC (computer room air conditioning) that blows cold air up to the front of the servers from the floor. This cycle keeps the servers running at an ideal temperature (usually between 59 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit) at all times, regardless of weather or other factors.
Data102, the premier data center in Colorado Springs, uses hot aisle containment for a number of reasons:
- To increase server longevity
- Prevent data loss and connectivity issues
- Maintain a cool datacenter overall
- Improve the efficiency of the CRAC units
- Create a chimney effect so that any excess hot air will rise out of the room.
- Reduce energy costs
In order to ensure that our hot aisle containment system is doing the job, we monitor the temperature of each aisle and have checks in place to make sure that your server is always running at peak efficiency. These reports, along with our infrastructure experts, ensure that the servers keep humming, which means you stay connected with your customers.