By Mark Deutsch
Facility managers who operate data centers, computer rooms, cleanrooms for sensitive air containment, or other tech-centric environments know the challenges that come along with maintaining the efficiency of these spaces. When equipment fails, downtime and costly repairs as well as hardware replacement can be a big hit to productivity and the organization’s efficiency. There are some strategies that can help increase the efficiency and extend the lifetime of data centers.
1. Manage Air Flow
Managing the air flow in a data center is one helpful way to extend its life. By using air flow management in a data or technology center, facility staff can create and control temperature zones that separate hot and cold areas that protect equipment from overheating or getting too cold.
Air flow containment can help the machinery and equipment work more efficiently. To extend the lifecycle of a data center, decision makers should consider implementing fixtures that manage air flow. Managing air flow also ensures that contaminants are kept away from the equipment.
Things like dust and other particles in the air are directed away from technology equipment and server racks. Additionally, managing the air flow ensures that the air patterns created by air conditioned input are controlled, which maintains a high level of efficiency.
2. Maintain Temperature Zones
In a similar vein, maintaining different temperature zones can help extend the lifetime of the equipment in data centers. Separating cold, conditioned air from the heat generated by the servers can help boost efficiency, as well as help control the climate in the facility and maintain cleanliness near the hardware.
All of these things can contribute to a longer lifetime for the equipment.
3. Implement Containment Enclosures
One of the most common and effective ways to manage air flow and maintain temperature zones is to implement containment closures. Attaching softwall panels, rigid panels, cabinet blanking panels, or partition barriers around the server cabinet racks creates these containment enclosures. Hot and cold aisle containment benefits include:
• Increased rack capacity (server population)
• Increased server performance
• Longer hardware life
• Increased “up time” of hardware
4. Use Customizable Panels and Doors
In order to create containment enclosures that are effective, they need to properly fit the data center. It’s important to custom fit them for the exact space that needs to be protected.
5. Replace Sections, Not Entire Fixtures
If part of a data enclosure is damaged or defective, it is not always necessary to scrap the entire fixture. Instead, replace only the section that is impacted. Maintaining a properly functioning data enclosure will extend the lifecycle of the equipment by ensuring that it is working in the best possible environment for it.
After all, you wouldn’t expect electrical equipment to function at its best in a hot, humid room, right? Data centers follow that same logic.
Deutsch is the president and owner of FabraCraft, a manufacturer and supplier of data center enclosures and air flow management systems for data centers.