Cold aisle containment for network operators
Cold aisle containment delivers value and proven energy savings to various industries interested in lowering power consumption of cooling systems already in place. Popular in data centres, cold aisle containment systems are known to provide the user with significant improvements on power usage effectiveness (PUE).
Working in partnership with one the largest mobile network operators across the globe that delivers networking and cloud services, Cross-Guard installed cold air containment to help improve the PUE, reduce carbon emissions, and drive return on investment for the cold aisle containment system.
Core focus for telecommunications: energy efficiency through cold aisle containment
Global businesses that operate using vast amounts of energy are under rising pressure to find new methods, such as cold air containment, to reduce energy consumption and adopt greener solutions. Telecommunications is just one example of a sector under close scrutiny.
Lots of leading providers are realising the importance of investing in cold aisle containment and other solutions to lead the way for energy efficient cooling. Telefonica previously celebrated winning a GLOMO award for a 100% renewable energy plan, to give an example of some of the other methods companies are exploring to reduce energy consumption. 5G is also rapidly bringing new capabilities that facilitate better energy efficiency.
Mobile network providers have largely started to look at how their business operates, implementing cold aisle containment solutions to aid server cooling. While keeping servers at ambient temperatures, cold aisle containment systems stop air conditioning units working too hard, consuming less energy in the process. Cold aisle containment is more important than ever given the repercussions of climate change and rising temperatures.
What is cold aisle containment?
Cold aisle containment is defined as a system that contains and segregates cold air flows from hot air flows through use of secure doors and roof panels. A cold air containment enclosure ensures hot server air is unable to adversely impact the efforts of the data centre cooling system or air conditioning unit.
The purpose of cold aisle containment systems is to reduce energy required for server cooling, reducing carbon footprint while delivering guaranteed cost savings. For the rest of this article, we will examine cold aisle containment, looking at a specific example of where cold aisle has been used within the telecommunications industry with positive results.
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How does cold aisle containment work?
A useful analogy for how a cold aisle containment system functions is to consider the purpose of a freezer door. If you leave your freezer door open while your freezer is generating cold air to cool the contents, the freezer will need to work harder to ensure cold enough temperatures are maintained, effectively using more energy. Same rules apply to your server room. If you don’t use cold aisle containment doors and roof panels to enclose your air conditioning unit and cut off server exhaust air, hot and cold air steams can mix, making data cooling less efficient as cooling efforts are wasted and not focussed purely on servers and IT equipment.
When a cold aisle containment system is implemented, server cabinets are lined so that hot air exhausts from servers and IT equipment face outside the aisle. Cold air is contained within the cold aisle from the air conditioning unit with any hot air being unable to mix. As a result of cold air containment, the lifespan of IT equipment is extended, energy bills decrease, and your air conditioning system faces less risk of being overworked and in need of further maintenance.
Cold aisle containment case study of a global network operator
Let’s examine what cold aisle containment means for the telecommunications sector with brief reference to a case study. As previously mentioned, Cross-Guard partnered with a leading telecommunications network operator to install a cold aisle containment system within one of their core data centres. The client intended to reduce consumption of energy to maintain a positive environmental impact so the company would be viewed as a responsible supplier by stakeholders and the consumer base.
The Coolgenic cold aisle containment system Cross-Guard installed provided immense benefits to the client from improved power usage effectiveness (PUE) through to excellent return on investment. The cold aisle containment system also reduced hot spots within the data centre, meaning the client was able to install more equipment as needed.
Cold aisle containment in-depth data analysis
If you’re interested in specific statistics that show the true potential of a cold aisle containment system, you can read about our cold aisle containment case study on Digital Realty. A summary is also provided below if you’d prefer the non-comprehensive version.
Cold aisle containment aims: increasing energy efficiency
Digital Realty wanted to prove that cold air containment did reliably increase energy efficiency, and by how much. The client measured data from their legacy facility prior to installation of three of Cross-Guard’s Coolgenic cold aisle containment products. After installation of the cold aisle containment systems, regular measurements were also taken at intervals to assess the extent of improvements in energy efficiency.
Cold aisle containment results: improved energy efficiency
Digital Realty’s study into the effects of cold aisle containment proved enlightening. Power usage effectiveness decreased from 1.85 to 1.55 as the result of installation of the cold air containment system, which was a significant improvement. In fact, the cold aisle containment system meant return on investment was achieved in around 5 months, generating massive savings of more than £118,500 per annum.
During the assessment period when the cold aisle containment had been installed, the IT load grew from about 350kW to 55kW with ambient temperatures maintaining between 24-27°C.
Cold aisle containment: get in touch for a cooling solution to suit your business
You can browse the rest of our dedicated cold aisle containment website for further information on the benefits of cold air containment and tips for other cooling solutions. If you require a cold aisle containment solution, please give us a ring on +44 (0)20 8108 9328 or drop us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.