How do you cool today’s modern data centers, running increasingly high density and high performance equipment built to manage exploding amounts of enterprise data? This presents a substantial cooling challenge for data center managers. Fortunately, we at Dell IT have found a way to take the heat off of such cooling demands.
After many months of careful experimentation, we recently determined that using a cold aisle containment approach in our Durham, N.C, data center, we can safely maintain our equipment at 78 degrees F. This is six degrees warmer than the original design threshold of 72 degrees F. The increase means we can now leverage free-air cooling—air circulated from outside rather than mechanically cooled air—in our data center 80 percent of the time instead of 60 percent. (Think of it as opening a window in your house rather than running the air conditioner.) This will cut our cooling costs by 25 percent.