Data Center Cooling Costs

March 1, 2019

As the success of more and more businesses depends on the creation, use and storage of information, the growth of today’s data centers shows no signs of slowing. Energy experts estimate that over the past decade, the consumption of energy by data centers alone has swelled to over one percent of the global use of electricity. And since the data center market is predicted to experience at least five percent annual growth over the next few years, it’s critical to know how to optimize your data center operations.

Of course, the power needed to operate servers and other IT equipment only accounts for part of a data center’s total energy consumption. You also need a robust cooling system to protect chips and other sensitive components from overheating. As such, it’s essential to manage the temperature in your data center in a cost-effective manner.

Data Center Power Costs

According to research, anywhere between 30 and 55 percent of a data center’s energy consumption goes into powering its cooling and ventilation systems — with the average hovering around 40 percent. In short, a data center’s cooling costs can approach, equal or even surpass the cost of powering the IT equipment it houses.

Data Center Energy Efficiency

Regardless of the size of a data center, its energy efficiency can be substantially affected by the performance of its cooling system. That’s why it’s advisable to consider how the following factors impact a data center’s overall energy efficiency:

  • Ventilation and airflow management: Recent studies show that the traditional horizontal placement of servers on racks can result in the mixing of hot and cold air flows, which reduces the efficiency of any thermal management system. In contrast, airflow management and ventilation are more efficient when servers are placed with optimal spacing — vertically in racks. These racks can be either closed cabinets or open, vertically oriented racks. This arrangement allows for the maximum utilization of natural convection.
  • Data center location selection: Computer room air handling systems are often coupled with air-side economizer units that can make use of cooler, drier outside air when the outside temperature is sufficiently low. The selection of a data center’s location — and subsequently its outside climate — will impact how much energy its cooling system will require for adequate heat transfer to occur.
  • Energy consumption: It’s also important to compare a data center’s projected energy consumption to the energy prices in different locations and climates. For instance, a data center in a rural location with a cooler, drier climate will cost less to operate than one in a more expensive urban location with a warmer, more humid climate.

At DataSpan, we have more than four decades of experience providing data centers with turnkey operational solutions. We can advise you on everything related to the design, selection, installation and maintenance of cooling and ventilation systems — all in a manner that’s vendor-agnostic and focused on your needs.

To learn more about our products and thermal management services, contact us today.

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