The Importance of Airflow Planning for Server Rooms

Airflow management is one of the first considerations you’ll need to understand before you begin to design a data center layout. Airflow management is initiated to protect the servers from overheating, which helps to prevent downtime due to mechanical failure. There are a variety of ways to implement an airflow plan in a server room, and at FabraCraft, it’s easy to find the option best suited to your needs.

Cold Aisle and Hot Aisle Containment

There are two main containment options that can be implemented: cold aisle containment or hot aisle containment. The former uses cold aisle air containment panels to create a barrier to allow the cooled air to collect inside a data center aisle, then keeps that cooled air contained inside the aisle at the front of one or more server cabinets. Hot aisle containment works by allowing the warm air to rise within the data center enclosure, then directs the air upward and out of the enclosure, where it flows into air conditioning units and is cooled. While cold aisle containment is about maintaining cold air’s presence, hot aisle containment is about removing hot air.

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Methods of Implementing Airflow Plans

There are a few different methods for implementing these airflow plans. Bracket systems, for instance, are used to create easily installed data center enclosures. These drop ceiling or suspension ceiling brackets are used to hang soft wall panels and strip doors, which create temperature control and air flow containment, whether you’re interested in hot or cold aisle containment.

Data Center Enclosures

The enclosure wall panels themselves are another part of the system, and there are two choices: soft wall panels or rigid panels—soft wall panels are clear, heavyweight vinyl curtains, while rigid panels are made of clear Plexiglass.

As for the doors for these data center enclosures, there are a few different options, including strip doors, sliding doors, and hinged doors. Depending on factors like the size of the server room, the type of accessibility needed, and whether the construction is permanent or modular, one of these types of doors may be better suited than another.

Seal leaks between Servers and Cabinets

Once the server room has been enclosed by these panels, another way to further control the airflow within it is by using air sealing accessories such as foam air barriers–soft vinyl containment cubes that compress to fill a void—or rigid polycarbonate blanking panels above or below the servers to help control where air flows. Brush grommets are another accessory for managing airflow. They allow cables to pass through openings, and contain air leaks. Used together, these accessories help prevent air from leaking out of the enclosure.

Why is Airflow Management So Essential?

Airflow management is an essential aspect to create efficiencies within a data center enclosure. It protects servers from dust and other airborne debris, and helps regulate temperature inside the server room. Proper airflow management plans are designed to prevent servers from overheating—which can lead to downtime and equipment failure.

Additionally, airflow management systems in server rooms can contribute to decreased energy costs, since the air temperature will be more maintained and you won’t have to alter the level of cooling to make up for air leaks.

Learn more about airflow management and the products FabraCraft offers to help facilitate these systems—contact us anytime!

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