A field investigation into the limits of high-density air-cooling

Michael K. Patterson, Randall Martin, J. B. Barr Von Oehsen, Jim Pepin, Yogendra Joshi, Vaibhav K. Arghode, Robin Steinbrecher, Jeff King

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this paper we report on a field investigation into airflow management challenges in high density data centers. This field investigation has also served to validate laboratory investigations into high density air cooling issues. In data centers with significant power consumption, and consequently high cooling loads per rack, high volumes of room airflow are required to meet server cooling airflow requirements. These volumes of air can be difficult to deliver in raised floor hot aisle / cold aisle layouts. The velocity of the airflow is such that it creates a negative pressure near the bottom of the rack. This negative pressure entrains air from under and behind the rack, causing recirculation and warmer air being provided to the servers at the base of the rack. This can cause operational problems and server performance impacts. This phenomenon has been demonstrated in previous papers reporting on test data using particle imaging velocimetry (PIV) techniques. The current work validates those studies by looking at airflow, infrared thermography, and actual IT performance while the under rack recirculation flows are occurring. Additionally, we demonstrate significant improvement by employing rigorous airflow management practices. We also discuss the limitations of current CFD modeling, the majority of which does not have sufficient grid-wise resolution to capture the problem. Further we discuss typical operational conditions that have suppressed the problem (or perhaps the awareness of) to date. Finally, the paper recommends best practices to mitigate the problem in high density data centers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASME 2013 International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems, InterPACK 2013
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventASME 2013 International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems, InterPACK 2013 - Burlingame, CA, United States
Duration: Jul 16 2013Jul 18 2013

Publication series

NameASME 2013 International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems, InterPACK 2013
Volume2

Conference

ConferenceASME 2013 International Technical Conference and Exhibition on Packaging and Integration of Electronic and Photonic Microsystems, InterPACK 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBurlingame, CA
Period7/16/137/18/13

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Information Systems
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials

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