Do I need cold aisle or hot aisle containment for data center server air flow?

Hot and cold aisle containment methods are both effective ways to keep your data center at the right temperature and to prevent it from overheating.

Most commonly, air flow management specialists determine whether to use cold or hot aisle containment based on the locations of cold air supply outlets and warmed air return models in relation to the front of server cabinets. The air flow specialists will take the position of the air flow units in the ceiling or separate units pushing cooled air into the enclosure from ceiling to floor, as well as the return ducts in walls or floors, into consideration for each location.

The Differences Between Hot and Cold Aisle Containment

Hot or cold aisle containment are the two most commonly used air flow management designs for data center servers. Hot aisle containment removes the warm air in the aisles surrounding the server racks and pushes it into the surrounding room. Cold aisle containment pushes air from air conditioning units into the aisles, forcing hot air out into all returns or floor ducts. Data center designers can utilize panels to contain the cooled air supply and air flow patterns to decrease the likelihood of the servers from overheating.

Cold aisle containment is ideal for cooling a specific area of the room where the servers are—which could ultimately save energy. While hot aisle containment works in a different way, it could also reduce energy usage, as it relies on less air conditioning by dispersing the hot air to another room. These systems utilize an air flow management plan that contains the cool air to the server aisle, effectively keeping the data center servers at the desired temperature.

If you have additional questions about whether hot or cold aisle containment would work best for the air flow management of your specific space, contact a data center specialist.

Find out more about Hot Aisle or Cold Aisle Containment

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