All IT components, servers, switches, data storage and other accessories consume power, which transforms to heat. In addition, today these devices are becoming more powerful and retain their size yet require higher input power. Thus, a data center's cooling also needs to become stronger. But where to put the cooling units?
"Each rack with 20 kW of input power produces 20 kW of waste heat. To illustrate, that is equivalent to what an older detached house consumes for heating when it's freezing outside. Each of these cabinets could therefore heat a house. And our data center contains dozens to hundreds of them," explains product manager of air conditioning systems for the company Conteg, Bohumil Cimbál, when speaking about the high density of heat load in data centers.
Should cooling fail, the computers would stop running within minutes, or would even be destroyed. You would not only lose these expensive devices, but also valuable data.
Data Center Requires Specific Temperature and Humidity for Its Computers
The massive amounts of heat produced in a data center are removed by a cooling system consisting of outdoor and indoor units. A sophisticated device conducts waste heat to the outside of the data center using a medium (air, water or coolant). On the inside, the device ensures supply of cool air without dust or humidity directly to the servers.
Close control air conditioning adjusts the temperature and humidity of the air within quite specific limits, i.e. plus or minus one degree centigrade, exactly as the computers in the data center require in order to operate.
Unique Data Center Cooling
"Indoor air conditioning units take up valuable space in the data center. Space that could be occupied by cabinets with servers. Data center owners lose tens of thousands of dollars every year because of this. Therefore, we try to minimize the space required for cooling units. That was one of the reasons we developed a system called CoolTop, which occupies no space whatsoever because it is located above the cabinets," says Bohumil Cimbál.
In addition, CoolTop units are more powerful and have lower power consumption than traditional cooling methods, as the former is not restricted in their size. A larger heat exchanger and fans cool better. Data center operators can therefore rely on better and more efficient use of air and energy with no space occupied.
Combination with Any Type of Existing Cooling
CoolTop units connect to a chilled water system and can easily be combined in a single room with standard cabinet and inrow cooling units. For instance, in comparison with the classic cooling units operating on the basis of a compressor circuit with direct evaporation, CoolTop units can provide free cooling. Thus, CoolTops can operate in the winter, and inrow cooling units (or both together) in the summer. Simply put, the system can be set up to consume as little power as possible.
CoolTop is a solution for clients with high power demands, or a solution for increasing the cooling capacity in existing space.
Safety above All
Water above cabinets scares most people at first, but there is no need to fret! "The heat exchanger inside a CoolTop unit is underlaid by a stainless steel tray which collects condensed water. As a precaution against leakage, this tray is then secured from below with another tray with volume even larger than the volume of the entire exchanger. Sophisticated sensors including a flood rope sensor would register the increase in water level and would shut down the entire unit. CoolTop also contains other protective systems," explains Bohumil Cimbál.
The data center must work at all times, even during scheduled maintenance or in case of malfunction. To ensure safety, Conteg chooses so-called redundancy, i.e. installing backup devices for cases of failure.
CoolTop Cooling Units are Proving Successful in Practice
CoolTop units have been serving well for over a year for example in data center Rondel in the Czech Republic (link to reference video). Thanks to CoolTop units, the air conditioning system there takes up no floor space and saves energy. It is therefore both economical and ecological. "It is an implementation where the investor was not afraid of a brand new product. They went all in and are now reaping the benefits of energy-efficiency and everything works as it should," says Bohumil Cimbál.
Now, Conteg is implementing other projects which will incorporate CoolTop units. One of these is, for instance, a data center which was built approximately 20 to 30 years ago and now requires more effective cooling due to the increasing power of computers. Before, the center required barely 2 kW per server cabinet; now it needs 10 kW.
Investment into Development and Beneficial Cooperation with Universities
The company Conteg has been cooperating on the development of efficient cooling with technically-focused Czech universities. The initial design of CoolTop arose from cooperation with Czech Technical University in Prague. Currently, Conteg is cooperating with Brno University of Technology on developing a hybrid cooling unit where one section uses compressor cooling with direct evaporation and the other uses free cooling with the addition of adiabatic cooling.
Conteg has its own experimental data center where it develops and tests all its products. Experienced technicians will gladly showcase their work and show you their products which can serve well also in your data center. Have your entire data center designed to your specifications. The Conteg team already has 18 years of experience and has built dozens of data centers all around the globe.
Learn more at www.conteg.com.