Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has estimated that approximately 50 percent of the power spent to run a data center is spent on cooling the equipment. Additionally, cooling problems have been touted a major contributing factor to IT capacity limitations, resulting in proposals for major renovations of legacy data centers or even building new data centers. Since data centers undergo frequent changes, it is safe to assume that many of these data centers do not have a clear understanding of how efficient and effective their cooling system is or whether the design of their cooling system is still suitable. Ill-conceived operational and infrastructure changes can lead to hot spots and suboptimal equipment layout while proper cooling would result in reduction of wasted energy and ensure higher reliability and availability. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates up to 30 percent improvement in the energy efficiency of data centers with proper cooling management. This will also extend the life of IT equipment and eliminate premature replacement of critical racks and servers. Understanding and measuring the efficiency of the data center cooling system in any snapshot of time — present or future — is vital for proper operation and modification of the data center.
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Best Practices for Data Centers – Lessons Learned from Benchmarking 22 Data Centers, 2006.Excerpt from The DCIM Advisory feature article by Kamran Fouladi and Soheil “Sam” Negahbani, Energex Technologies. Check back later for more on this feature.