Hot Aisle Containment Solutions & Products
It is growing increasingly important to improve the efficiency of data centers. There are many ways to do this with layout, including with hot aisle containment (HAC).
There are many different types of HAC solutions and products available. Having the right knowledge to make a decision about the various options can allow you to maximise your data center efficiency.
This article will help you understand which solutions may be right for you and what products you may need for your data center.
In the article:
- What is Hot Aisle Containment?
- Hot Does Hot Aisle Containment Work?
- The Benefits of Aisle Containment
- Are there any disadvantages?
- Types of Aisle Containment Products
- Hot to Choose the Right Containment Solutions for your Data Center
- Installation Tips for Hot Aisle Containment Products
- So is Hot Aisle Containment for you?
What is Hot Aisle Containment?
Data centers emit a large amount of warm air, which requires cooling . HAC is a layout which prevents this hot air mixing with any cold air, for improved efficiency. This ensures that the hot exhaust air emitted does not damage operating equipment and can be more efficiently cooled by cooling machinery.
Using a data center containment system also means that the warm air can be recycled and used to heat other areas, reducing the need for additional cooling, further saving on energy use and cost.
Depending on your specific data center, a cold aisle containment (CAC) may also be appropriate. Alternatively, employing both hot and cold aisle containment, may be the most effective, although this is more commonly not recommended.
How Does Hot Aisle Containment Work?
A hot aisle containment system can be either passive or active. There are a variety of products available for both solution types, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Passive solutions use baffles or curtains to direct the hot air into specific areas. This type of solution is less expensive than active solutions, but it can also be less effective.
Baffles are any physical barrier that disrupts the flow of air and prevents air mixing. These panels are usually made of fiberglass or metal and can be very effective in directing the flow of hot air.
Curtain walls are made of fabric and hang along the hot aisles. They are less effective than baffles but are less expensive and easier to install.
Active solutions use fans or blowers to push the hot air through the hot aisle and out of the data center. This type of solution is more expensive than passive solutions, but it can be more effective.
Fans or blowers are mounted in the hot aisle and blow the hot air into the outside world. This type of solution is often used in large data centers where the hot aisle can become very hot.
The Benefits of Aisle Containment
Hot aisle containment can help data centers improve efficiency in a number of ways.
Save energy and money
- Prevents the hot air from spreading to other parts of the data center, which allows you to use less cooling and save energy and money.
Improve server performance
- When hot air is allowed to spread throughout the data center, it can cause servers to overheat.
- Containing the hot aisle prevents this from happening and keeps your servers running at optimal temperatures.
- This reduces the risk of data loss or corruption due to overheating.
- HAC can also help regulate the temperature in other areas.
- The hot air that is expelled from the servers can be used for heating, which reduces the need for additional cooling.
Reduce equipment wear
- HAC can help reduce wear and tear on equipment.
- By containing the hot air, you can prevent it from reaching and damaging the equipment and keep it performing optimally.
Increases cooling capacity
- By keeping the hot air separate, it is kept at the highest temperature possible and at a low relative humidity.
- This increases the cooling capacity of the air conditioning unit.
Are there any disadvantages?
There are however some disadvantages to hot aisle containment.
- It can be difficult to retrofit an existing data center with HAC.
- If your data center is already built, you may have to rearrange the layout in order to install baffles or curtains.
- Hot aisle containment can be expensive.
- Active solutions tend to be more expensive than passive solutions, and they also require more maintenance.
- Fan-based solutions can also be noisy, which may not be desirable in some environments.
- Hot aisle containment can increase the load on the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
When considering the benefits and disadvantages, it is important to compare the different types of aisle containment systems and what might be best suited to your data center.
Types of Aisle Containment Products
There are a variety of products available and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Some of the most popular products are listed below.
Baffles are anything that interrupts the flow of air. This includes panels that are installed to separate the warm air or the panels of a raised floor. They are usually made of fiberglass or metal and can be very effective in directing the hot air.
- Effective at directing the hot air into the cold aisle
- Easy to install
- Less expensive than fans
- Can be less efficient than other products
- More expensive than curtains
- Require more infrastructure
Curtain walls are made of fabric and hang between the hot and cold aisles.
- Less expensive than baffles.
- Easier to install than baffles.
- Do not require as much infrastructure as baffles.
- Less effective at cooling the data center than fans
- Can require more infrastructure than fans
Fans or blowers are mounted in the hot aisle and blow the hot air into the outside world. This type of solution is often used in large data centers, where the hot aisle can become very hot.
- Very effective at cooling the data center.
- Easy to install and require little infrastructure.
- More expensive than other hot aisle containment products
How to Choose the Right Containment Solutions for your Data Center
The type of containment solution that you choose will depend on your specific needs and budget. These different types, and different products, each have their own advantages and disadvantages which you must consider. It is important to consider whether cold aisle containment systems may be better suited to your needs.
Hot aisle containment
Hot aisle containment solutions are more expensive than cold aisle containment solutions, but they can be more efficient. Active solutions are better at cooling hot spots in the data center, and they are easier to install and require less infrastructure.
Cold aisle containment
Cold aisle containment solutions rely on a similar principle to HAC, in that the cold aisle is kept separate. This is typically via the installation of panels and doors. These prevent the mixing of cool air with warm air, or being blocked by equipment before it reaches server cabinets.
Cold aisle containment is less expensive, and typically easier to retrofit than hot aisle containment solutions, but is less efficient.
Find out more about hot and cold aisle containment systems here: Hot Aisle vs Cold Aisle Containment.
Installation Tips for Hot Aisle Containment Products
If you are installing hot aisle containment products, it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Products should be properly installed to ensure that they are effective at cooling the data center.
When installing hot aisle containment products, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Baffles should be properly secured in order to deflect hot air into the cold aisle.
- Curtain walls should be hung between the hot and cold aisles and properly secured.
- Fans should be installed in the hot aisle and blowing hot air out of the data center.
So is Hot Aisle Containment for you?
If you are looking for an efficient and effective way to keep your data center cool, hot aisle containment may be the solution for you. As we have covered, there are a variety of different solutions and products available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages, so it is essential to have an understanding before making a decision.
You should consider your specific needs and budget when deciding what will be best for you. Read more about containment or take a look at some of our data center products that we have available.