The need for cooling and controlling the temperature of data center equipment presents a major challenge for data centers and their data facility managers. Managing a data center environment based on the unique temperature requirements and heat generation characteristics of the equipment requires organization and diligence. The task is especially daunting without the support of experienced specialists well-versed in cooling strategies, water treatment and management techniques, and data center equipment and design.
Data centers house more than just servers. Per the diagram below, data centers are generally organized into hot or cold aisles, and the placement of equipment depends on both their respective temperature requirements and propensity to generate heat.
For data center managers, achieving the most efficient heat removal is the key objective to meeting PUE and WUE standards. ASHRAE reports that the “[increasing] heat density of modern electronics is stretching the ability to adequately and efficiently cool the electronic components within servers as well as the datacom facilities that house [them].” The challenges of cooling data centers are evident in energy costs and operational expenses for heat removal, which total 25 percent of the company’s energy budget.
Data Center Cooling Water Management
An often-overlooked feature of data centers is the shifting demand on processors and servers during seasonal fluctuations and workload changes throughout the day. These, in turn, boost consumption of water and power, ultimately increasing the data center’s energy costs. Another potential outcome is the lack of access to sufficient and reliable water for cooling during these periods of heavy demand, thus risking equipment viability and data center operation. Nothing can be more detrimental to getting a data center fully operational than suddenly realizing you have the right equipment, but the wrong implementation of certain components to efficiently accommodate the ebb and flow of various load times.
As with everything, planning is key to minimizing these unforeseen scenarios. But in partnership with water treatment experts who have the proper expertise, data centers can significantly reduce the risk of unexpected events. Hiring a water technology expert in the design-build phase of data center planning ensures that critical implementation features are not overlooked. For example:
- Water source quality to ensure water is suitable and can be managed for data center use
- Adequate supply of usable water and chemicals to ensure containment structures, as well as their capacity and proximity to the data center are appropriate.
- Discharge water will be free of contamination and safe for discharge to the environment or return to municipalities while meeting their regulatory requirements.
- Water usage needs are met and remain within environmental sustainability standards.
Garratt Callahan’s experienced approach to data center cooling addresses problems of corrosion, scale formations, microbiological and general fouling. Ongoing monitoring is also a critical feature of sustaining a healthy water system in the data center. With our professional monitoring program, appropriate chemical balances are regularly checked and adjusted to ensure the water remains suitable for the system’s cooling demands.
Water quality management and monitoring are clearly critical features of data center cooling strategies. Working with a water treatment expert helps ensure your implementation and everyday operation includes these key elements. To further mitigate the risks of operational downtime and equipment failure, ASHRAE recommends data center managers also partner with a water treatment expert to manage the idiosyncrasies of continuous efficient cooling. Primarily, these include corrosion, fouling, and microbiological issues associated with water chemistry and the composition of incoming water.
Due diligence is recommended to prevent build-up on the heat transfer surfaces, and to mitigate particulate infiltration due to scale formation and servicing. As always, monitoring is emphasized for maintaining proper equipment operation for all cooling units.
Protecting information technology infrastructure investments are key to ensuring continuous uninterrupted operation. As technology manufacturers have been innovative over the last five decades in their development of water-cooled systems. Garratt Callahan has gained substantial technical knowledge and expertise in data center infrastructure and water quality management. Garratt-Callahan helps ensure the implementation of these systems are well-planned and continually monitored for high performance. With technological innovation and the assistance of Garratt-Callahan as your water treatment expert, data center managers and operating personnel will have more confidence in the efficient operation of the data center.
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