A colocation center is a facility designed to house IT equipment for third-parties. This IT equipment generates a lot of heat which is why data center facilities are fitted with highly efficient cooling systems.
Designing a cooling system
There are a number of factors that data center owners have to keep in mind when building a system designed to cool an entire colocation facility.
Colocation facilities are designed to handle a specific amount of IT load. Each server requires a certain amount of rack space. The total rack space available divided by the space that a single server can take is equal to the number of servers that can be housed within a facility. Normally, a facility will only be using a certain percentage of its total capacity.
Therefore, the cooling system of a facility has to be scalable so that it can be used to handle variable thermal loads. For instance, the cooling requirements for a facility running at 30 percent power will be considerably different from a facility running at 60 percent power load.
One of the major areas of concern for colocation facilities are rising energy costs. Cooling systems consist of air conditioning and other similar units. Cooling units have to be setup properly in order to make sure that they do not excessively consume energy. Designers tend to make use of setups such as a rear and front door heat exchangers. Since hot air rises and cold air sinks, cooling units are placed appropriately so as to reduce the amount of burden on them.
How much heat does a server room generate?
Power densities of servers are based on RLU (Rack Location Unit). Colocation owners will calculate the amount of heat generated per foot area of a server rack or cabinet. However, every manufacture will produce servers with varying power densities. Therefore, an average RLU rate is used. This rate changes frequently although it is the standard that is followed by colocation providers all over the world.
Pumping air into server rooms
The cooling system of any colocation facility works on two fronts. It maintains the overall temperature within the entire facility and also pumps in air within the server rooms.
The air needs to be at a certain temperature in order for the equipment to function optimally. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Condition Engineers, the temperature of the air has to be between 68 and 75 Fahrenheit. IT equipment is known for optimal performance at much colder temperatures. Nevertheless, in order to avoid equipment surface condensation, the air pumped in is kept at a higher temperature.
Consequently, while setting up a data center, planning the design of the cooling system is one of the most important phases of colocation pricing.
Will Jacobs has been writing articles on colocation facilities for over 3 years now. He enjoys educating his readers on the facts on colocation pricing and benefits of using colocation for their business.
Photo Credit: Don Richards (CC BY 2.0)