As businesses and organisations progress, energy costs and energy consumption begins to make a significant impact on the organisation. A lot of data centre professionals, like ourselves, have had to consider the installation of intelligent warm and cool air containment systems. These are known most commonly as hot and cold aisle containment systems. This article looks into the benefit of both, and we discuss where and when you should use them. This is our hot aisle containment vs cold aisle containment review.

Both of these unique systems provide businesses with a number of significant savings, with hot aisle containment saving up to 40% on commercial energy bills.

Introduction to Hot Aisle

Hot aisle containment systems are usually broken down to HACS. Their primary role is to absorb the warm air that is generated through the IT hardware exhausts, and by doing so, they allow the data centre to become much cooler, preventing damages and maintenance repairs.

To ensure that the warm air can be contained correctly, the data centre installation and cabinets must be arranged correctly. The most common circumstances will ensure that the rear of the cabinets are facing one-another, with a significant corridor separating them. This is the hot aisle and captures the warm exhaust air.

Example of Hot Aisle and Cold Aisle

So what are the benefits of hot aisles? It’s quite simple really. By containing the warm air that is generated, it allows the hardware to remain at a safe operating temperature. The warm air that is generating will be recycled via a ducting system. This air will then be used within a cold aisle containment system.

Of course, there are risks and some downsides to hot aisles, although they are generally a good acquisition. A good example of this would be for basic and regular planned maintenance for networking technicians. If there is ever fault, hot aisles can become extremely uncomfortable places to work. Although it is possible to temporarily cool the system, through local cooling practices.

So let’s recap. Hot aisle containment systems are designed to ensure that the hot exhausts that are generated from powerful IT hardware such as servers and data centre equipment, is kept in a contained corridor within the data centre. The cabinets are usually positioned with the rear of each cabinet facing each other to ensure that the hot air is kept within the containment area. Benefits of hot aisles include better operating temperatures and provide commercial businesses with reduced energy costs. However, a downfall is the working temperature and uncomfortable environment that comes with hot aisle systems.

Cold Aisle Systems

Just like the hot aisle system – cold aisle containment systems are usually abbreviated to CACS and just like the hot aisle, the cold aisle is designed to do exactly the opposite; create a cool aisle, to ensure that the temperatures of data centre equipment do not reach unsafe numbers.

Data centre professionals install cold aisles to ensure that the cool air stream that gets generated is separate from the hot. If you wish to install a cold aisle system, the planning technicians will have to ensure that the hot and cold aisle arrangement remains consistent through-out the data centre.

The cool air corridor is isolated to ensure that the cool air that is rotated through-out the corridor does not escape. Cool air is generated as the warm air gets pulled through from a ducting system. It then gets recycled and cooled in an underfloor system that gets directed to the front of the isolated cabinets.

Example of Cold Aisle Containment

The main benefit of cold aisle systems is the ease of implementation! The only real need is the ability to build contained doors and a roof space over the server racks. There is also minimal amounts of modifications needed to the existing hardware. They also have the ability to ensure that valuable servers that contain important data are able to run for a considerable amount of time should there be a power failure. The cool air will also prevent any damage caused by excessive heat.

Cold Aisle Recap

Cold aisles are very similar to hot containment systems. They are important to data centres that want to generate a cool corridor between server racks and do so by isolating the front of the server cabinets with a roof space and sealed doorways, preventing the cool air streams from colliding with the warm ones.

Cold aisle systems will allow servers to run without power in the event of a power failure, however, this depends entirely on the installation and the materials used. An underfloor recycling system is used to transform the warm exhaust air generated into cool air as it is removed via a ducting system.

Conclusion and Recap

In conclusion, the hot aisles are planned and installed in such a way that it creates a hot corridor. This is done by installing the data cabinets with the rears facing each other, creating a space known as a warm air stream corridor. The cooler air is isolated with a cold aisle containment system, using sealed doors and roof space, preventing the cool and warm air colliding.

Hot aisle systems allow businesses to say approximately 40% on their energy bills, although quite uncomfortable to work in for basic and regular maintenance, they are certainly a worthwhile investment for any data storage unit.

Cold aisle systems can be installed on a raised floor. This is designed to manage the recycled warm air which is then transported back into the sealed cold aisle or out into other areas of the data centre. The cool air ensures that the hardware installed remains at a safe operating temperature, preventing break downs and any unnecessary repairs or data centre migrations.

Here at Puffin Solutions, we provide a selection of businesses with both hot and cold aisle installations. Having worked for some of the leading organisations around the world, our team of experienced date and networking technicians have the technical ability and hands on know-how to ensure that you server remains safe, fully optimised and damage free.

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