Data centers house a variety of compute, storage, network IT hardware where equipment reliability is of utmost importance. Heat generated by the IT equipment can substantially reduce its service life if Tjmax, maximum temperature that the microelectronic device tolerates to guarantee reliable operation, is exceeded. Hence, data center rooms are bound to maintain continuous conditioning of the cooling medium becoming large energy consumers.
The objective of this work is to introduce and evaluate a new end-of-aisle cooling design which consists of three cooling configurations. The key objectives of close-coupled cooling are to enable a controlled cooling of the IT equipment, flexible as well as modular design, and containment of hot air exhaust from the cold air. The thermal performance of the proposed solution is evaluated using CFD modeling. A computational model of a small size data center room has been developed. Larger axial fans are selected and placed at rack-level which constitute the rack-fan wall design. The model consists of 10 electronic racks each dissipating a heat load of 8kw. The room is modeled to be hot aisle containment i.e. the hot air exhaust exiting for each row is contained and directed within a specific volume. Each rack has passive IT with no server fans and the servers are cooled by means of rack fan wall. The cold aisle is separated with hot aisle by means of banks of heat exchangers placed on the either sides of the aisle containment. Based on the placement of rack fans, the design is divided to three sub designs — case 1: passive heat exchangers with rack fan walls; case 2: active heat exchangers (HXs coupled with fans) with rack fan walls; case 3: active heat exchangers (hxs coupled with fans) with no rack fans. The cooling performance is calculated based on the thermal and flow parameters obtained for all three configurations. The computational data obtained has shown that the case 1 is used only for lower system resistance IT. However, case 2 and Case 3 can handle denser IT systems. Case 3 is the design that can consume lower fan energy as well as handle denser IT systems. The paper also discusses the cooling behavior of each type of design.