Is Your Data Center Green or in the Red?

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Logicalis Offers Six Tips for Better Airflow in the Data Center

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Airflow is one of the easiest ways to impact your company’s bottom line by reducing power consumption.

IT departments today already have to struggle with a wide array of influences, pressures and goals. Now they have yet another thing to think about: the environment and how their technology decisions may impact our planet. But according to Logicalis, an international provider of integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services, green doesn’t have to be hard.

One place to start when looking toward a “greener” future for your organization is inside the data center itself. When cooling accounts for as much as 40 percent of the cost of powering
a typical midsize data center (around 2,500 square feet), evaluating the data center’s airflow can be one of the best green decisions you’ve ever made – both in terms of the environment and the dollars you can save.

“Airflow is one of the easiest ways to impact your company’s bottom line by reducing power consumption,” says Bob Mobach, practice director, data center infrastructure, at Logicalis. “By making a few minor adjustments, you can save money, significantly reduce your electricity requirements, and create a better functioning, more comfortable data center environment as a whole.”

To help CIOs and IT managers assess their strategies, Logicalis has developed a checklist of six steps to create better airflow in the data center.

Six Tips for Better Airflow

(1)    Clear the Way: Make sure your raised floors are completely free for maximum airflow.
A minimum height of at least 18 inches is best. Plug all openings and check your flow tiles for proper CFM ratings; adjustable flow tiles can help you better balance your room.

(2)    Pipe Up: Implement some form of containment. Return air should be kept separate from ambient room temperatures through chimney design, central exhaust ducting, or containment setup.

(3)    Keep Your Cool: Any openings – even the smallest ones - cause a decrease in your room's efficiency. Make sure to block off all unused rack spaces as well as the areas between the rack and the outer cabinet shells.

(4)    Change Directions: For any legacy equipment that is not front-to-back cooled, adjusting cabinets or enclosures are available to help route side-to-side airflow and direct this to a front-to-back pattern.

(5)    Make Your Choice: Consider hot aisle containment before you consider cold aisle containment. Cold air reservoirs are often too small to help sustain a switchover on the HVAC equipment from utility power to generator power in case of an outage. Hot aisle containment better protects you from this in high-density environments, while the operating temperatures in both hot and cold aisles are much more comfortable for IT personnel allowing room temperatures up to and sometimes over 75 degrees while still maintaining ASHRAE standards.

(6)    Revisit Your Equipment: Consider implementing variable speed drives and motors on your HVAC equipment to capitalize on the efforts made to green your data center. A Logicalis Applied Math study of your site helps you visualize the environment to implement the changes.

Addressing airflow concerns is just one step toward a better functioning, lower-cost data center, Mobach says. It’s a good place to start, but don’t stop there.

To see what else you can do to help your data center operate at peak efficiency, read Logicalis’ feature story, “Data Center Best Practices,” here http://www.us.logicalis.com/pdf/Data%20Center%20FeatureStory.pdf .

For more tips on becoming a greener organization, read Logicalis’ feature story, “Green Doesn’t Have to be Hard,” here http://www.us.logicalis.com/pdf/Green%20IT%20FeatureStory.pdf .

About Logicalis
Logicalis is an international provider of integrated information and communications technology (ICT) solutions and services founded on a superior breadth of knowledge and expertise in communications & collaboration; data center; and professional and managed services.

Logicalis Group employs over 1,900 people worldwide, including highly trained service specialists who design, specify, deploy and manage complex ICT infrastructures to meet the needs of over 5,000 corporate and public sector customers. To achieve this, Logicalis maintains strong partnerships with technology leaders such as Cisco, HP, IBM and Microsoft.

The Logicalis Group has annualized revenues of $1 billion, from operations in the UK, US, Germany, South America and Asia Pacific, and is fast establishing itself as one of the leading IT and Communications solution integrators, specializing in the areas of advanced technologies and services.

The Logicalis Group is a division of Datatec Limited, listed on the Johannesburg and London AIM Stock Exchanges, with revenues in excess of $4 billion.

For more information, visit http://www.us.logicalis.com.

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Courtney Cooper
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