Energy efficiency is a hot topic today, everywhere from heating homes to cars. Many people are working hard on these issues, but in the data center industry, we’ve already made great strides in energy efficiency and performance in data centers. Where are we and where can we go in the future with the critical issue of data center cooling?

According to Mark Seymour, Founder and CTO of Future Facilities, data centers are now using less than 10% additional energy over and above IT energy – compared with 150% previously – and even modest improvements in energy efficiency can bring this additional energy level down to 50% or less. This reduction is impressive but as data centers become more powerful, how do we balance energy use, business needs, and operational constraints?

The answer is in intelligent, efficient design and airflow management. There are a number of best practices to improve data center cooling. Which of these works best for you is dependent on your type of technical space, your data center footprint, and your IT load, among other factors, but some basic principles to follow include segregating equipment into hot/cold aisle areas and optimizing for cooling redundancy.

However, not even these best practices guarantee the most efficient and effective data center cooling. Truly intelligent cooling design takes engineering simulations that allow you to understand the impact undertaking any of these best practices (or other changes) will have on your energy efficiency and IT performance. Start by setting specific goals about what’s most important and necessary to your business, and you’ll be able to use engineering simulations to decide whether or not a particular practice or change will serve those goals.

These simulations, which should be created using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) based tools, will help you avoid negative outcomes by answering important questions, such as whether the cooling system you’d like to implement will allow you to expand your data center’s footprint and power density in the future. By using engineering simulations before implementing any cooling changes, you’ll be able to save money and time by managing airflow in a way that’s right for you.

Once you determine what’s right for you, the proper equipment is crucial to ensuring that you manage airflow optimally. Each data center is different and will require different setups and equipment to meet your business needs and energy efficiency goals. Experts, such as those at Capitol Network Solutions and Great Lakes Case & Cabinet, can work with you to analyze your needs and engineering simulations to find the right equipment.

Ready to get started on optimizing data center cooling? Contact Capital Network Solutions or Great Lakes Case & Cabinet today at 410-315-8696 for all your telecommunications needs.