Hot aisle containment ensures availability of services

Monday, 17 August, 2009


Queensland internet solutions provider ECN Internet had experienced rapid growth over the past 12 months and needed to build a new data centre to make sure it could deliver its services.

“We offer a range of business-critical services and our business requires 100% systems availability. If our systems fail, so do our customers - our customers can no longer email, make phone calls, back up vital data or access or protect critical applications and data,” said Mark Garlipp, Managing Director of ECN.

“Our data centre had grown in an ad hoc basis to support our increasing data centre requirements. It got to the point that it was more logical to build another room to support our growing needs rather than add to or rebuild our existing room. 

“We had worked with APC and had used their cabinets, racks and UPSs in our existing data centre. When it came to designing a complete new data centre solution, we went no further than APC,” said Garlipp.

ECN deployed APC’s InfraStruXure with Hot Aisle Containment Solution (HACS). The solution comprised 20 racks in two rows, four APC InRow Cooling units and one APC Symmetra 160 kVA UPS.

“We were spending a fortune on cooling in our existing data centre because we weren’t effectively removing the hot air generated by the equipment. In our new data centre we wanted a solution that was specifically designed to address the treatment of hot air versus cold air,” said Garlipp.

“If you don’t deal with it, you are swimming against the tide. You end up having to overcompensate by putting in more cooling than is actually required.

“We spoke to a number of vendors about our requirements, but the only one that had a solution designed to address this specific issue was APC.

APC’s HACS is the only solution I have seen that doesn’t allow the mixing of hot and cold air. It ensures proper air distribution and environmental consistency by completely separating supply and return air-conditioning paths; this is suitable for high-density server configurations or data centres where space is at a premium and high rack densities are required.

“The only way to effectively cool a room is to keep hot air away from cold air, otherwise it’s just not efficient,” said Garlipp. “I can’t think how you can build a room now without considering it, especially considering the increasing use of major heat-generating hardware like blade servers.

“When it comes to efficient data centre design, getting rid of the hot air is just as important as getting cool air to the systems,” said Garlipp.

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