According to data center research from Upsite Technologies, the average computer room has a cooling capacity at nearly four times the IT heat load. However, not all hope is lost, as there is a new tool data center operators can use to calculate benchmark, interpret, and benefit from a simple and practical metric called the Cooling Capacity Factor (CCF).
Of the data centers reviewed by Upsite, the average running cooling capacity was an astounding 3.9 times (390 percent) the IT heat load. In one case, Upsite observed 30 times (3,000 percent) the load. It is hard to believe that computer rooms across many industry verticals and business models, such as enterprise and colocation facilities, can be this inefficient.
After implementing simple Airflow Management (AFM) techniques, the average data center can reduce its operating expense by $32,000. AFM improvements increase cooling utilization and efficiency, which could result in immediate operating cost savings and greater IT system dependability. With cooling representing about half of a data center’s electrical load, a site’s Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE) improves significantly as well. With a reduction in energy usage, everyone benefits, as carbon emissions are also reduced.
The same AFM improvements also release stranded cooling capacity, enabling data centers to turn off the released capacity or support additional IT load, deferring, or avoiding altogether capital expenditures. Improved cooling utilization may also extend the life of a site, eliminating the need to build a new data center.
Numerous solutions are designed to improve cooling efficiency, ranging from something as simple and important as blanking panels to complete containment systems. Great hype is generated when it comes to the potential benefits of each new “best practice.” But, how can you truly know what potential there is to make a difference in your telecom room or server closet? Will you be able to deploy more IT equipment? Will you eliminate hot spots and/or reduce the PUE for your facility or space? How much of a difference will improved AFM make at your site?
To make well informed decisions about investing in additional cooling capacity or AFM initiatives, you should first determine how well you are utilizing your current resources. Calculating the CCF is the quickest and easiest way to determine cooling infrastructure utilization and potential gains to be realized by AFM improvements.