“Gentlemen, this is a football.” Legend has it that Vince Lombardi made this statement when first meeting new players at training camp. To me, it means that if you focus on the basics, the more complicated stuff will take care of itself. This idea is especially true when it comes to computer room air conditioning in general and computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units in particular.
Forgive me Vince, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is just air conditioning.” 9,999 times out of 10,000 it doesn’t require super-sophisticated and exotic equipment or require immersing chips in dielectric liquid. Those seem to be solutions looking for a problem. In my opinion, the advent of all these sophisticated technologies is a misguided attempt to solve the problems of hot spots in the data room.
What makes good air conditioning, like good football is simple… but not easy. There are indeed many data rooms with areas that IT managers just can’t seem to get cool. The first reaction is usually to add more air conditioning, but when this was tried back in the early 2000s, data room operators discovered this didn’t solve the problem and sometimes made the problem worse. This gave systems using the traditional CRAC unit a bad name, and many air conditioning manufacturers jumped into the fray with new equipment. Most were more than ready to make the leap since the traditional CRAC unit had become a commodity, and there are few things a manufacturer hates worse than a commodity.
Data Aire has a history of innovative plays.
Data Aire went a different direction and decided to improve the CRAC unit instead of replacing it. Data Aire has been the leader in CRAC unit innovations over the last 20 years. Data Aire was the first to introduce scroll compressor technology in a CRAC unit increasing the efficiency and reliability of the equipment. Data Aire was the first to introduce steam generator humidifier technology increasing efficiency and reducing maintenance costs. Data Aire was also the first to replace analog controls on CRAC units with digital controls reducing maintenance and increasing reliability. Then, six years ago, Data Aire began using the most important innovation in CRAC units since the scroll compressor – the direct drive plenum fan.
In today’s data room, air conditioning is not about how many tons of cooling are installed but about good airflow management. The plenum fan is the perfect solution for hot data rooms with raised floors. They save a minimum of 35% of the fan energy consumed by traditional fans. The fans in a 30 ton CRAC unit that used to consume 15 HP now consume less than 10 HP. These fans run 24/7/365, so you save that energy every hour of every day of every year. And, by the way, they are maintenance-free and eliminate the problem of belt dust under the raised floor… a win-win situation.
Those are all good benefits, but they’re not the plenum fan’s best feature – they dramatically improve airflow management in the data room. Not only do they make the CRAC unit more efficient, they make the unit more effective.
The advent of the plenum fans in CRAC units, coupled with simple, inexpensive changes in the data room layout, allows cooling of load densities far beyond anything that anyone thought possible six years ago.
In a future blog, I will discuss those simple changes in your data room further, but for now I will just say “Ladies and gentlemen, this is just air conditioning.”