– Waite Ave, managing partner with Universal Network Services (www.apcdistributors.com), says:

High energy costs and spiking data center energy consumption rates have forced data center professionals to rethink their data center cooling strategies. Although traditional cooling approaches (such as perimeter cooling through a raised floor plenum) are still quite prevalent, new approaches such as hot aisle and cold aisle containment are making significant inroads.

Watch the Video from Hot-Aisle vs. Cold-Aisle Containment:

The Cold Aisle Containment System (CACS) is typically deployed in traditional perimeter-based cooling environments. Traditional cooling environments use the entire room as a hot air return plenum and use deliver cold air via the raised floor plenum to the cold aisles. The CACS encloses the cold aisle allowing the rest of the data center to become a large hot air return plenum. By containing the cold aisle, the hot / cold air streams within the data center are separated.

The Hot Aisle Containment System (HACS) encloses a hot aisle to collect IT equipments hot exhaust air and cools it to make it available for IT equipment air intakes. This creates a self-contained system capable of supporting high density IT loads.

Mixing of hot and cold air streams in the data center lowers availability of IT equipment. Returning the warmest possible air to the computer room air conditioners increases the efficiency and capacity of the system. The HACS ensures proper air distribution by completely separating supply and return air paths.

The design of HACS assimilates many of the advantages of the CACS and avoids many of the pitfalls. When upgrading a data center to be more efficient and less costly to operate, any move away from the traditional perimeter cooling approach is a step in the right direction. While CACS is a “better” scenario compared to traditional approach, the “best” scenario is embodied in a HACS system.