DLB Associates Presentation: "Achieving Energy Efficient Data Centers..." - as given at 2011 6SigmaDC Conference

Future Facilities held the 2011 6SigmaDC Data Center Conference & User Training event in San Francisco, November 2011. Presenters at the conference included Facebook, Intel, Colt, Integral Group, DLB Associates, and The 451 Group.

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Dan Dyer, Project Manager at DLB Associates, presented:
Achieving Energy Efficient Data Centers Using Cooling Path Management Coupled with ASHRAE Standards

Power trends for data center facilities continue to grow at an alarming rate. In response to this, data center operators are now implementing various practices such as adding blanking plates, hot aisle/cold aisle containment, etc. Also, in response to ASHRAE's relaxed thermal guidelines, many data center operators are now raising the supply air temperature in order to conserve energy. Improperly implementing such practices, which are now known as "Industry Standard Practices", may result in overheating of IT equipment and thus negatively affect data center operations.
In this paper, various cases are presented wherein a data center operator follows the industry standard practices in an attempt to improve the energy efficiency of their data center, but this instead results in overheating of the IT equipment. In later scenarios it is shown that with proper air flow management, ASHRAE recommendations can be implemented using a full engineering analysis as opposed to blindly following industry standard practices. The method used is termed as cooling path management (CPM). Based on the results it is concluded that air flow management, or the cooling path management, is a key strategy in achieving energy efficient data centers without compromising thermal management. Following the cooling path management method will enable operators to make tangible changes to their data center using objective data.

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