Keeping Your Cluster Farm From Overheating
If you have ever been to a Server Farm, you know they are nothing like old McDonald’s farm.
With very little space to move around and machines and technology constantly running, it can look like you just walked into the hard drive of a computer.
And, for all intents and purposes, you have!
You can imagine with all of that technology continually running, it can get pretty toasty in there.
Have you ever had a laptop running for hours on end and could feel the heat sinking into your thighs? Multiply that by thousands and thousands.
So how can you ensure that a Server Farm will not overheat?
Let’s discuss some design elements that have proven successful.
What is a Server Farm?
First things first, let’s define exactly what a server farm is.
A server farm, also known as a server cluster, is a massive collection of computer servers. All of these servers supply functionality that a single machine could never be capable of.
These thousands of computers require a significant amount of power to continually run and to perform at an optimal level.
Not every server cluster is as large as the Citadel in Nevada, which takes up an estimated 7.2 million square feet. But the majority of server farms take up quite a bit of space and consume a great deal of energy.
Server farms are commonly connected with routers or network switches that allow the parts to integrate and communicate with each other.
All of the computers, power supplies, monitors, routers, and additional equipment are mounted on racks in a data center or server room.
Elements to Keep Server Farms From Over Heating
The most simple design element that comes into play is increasing (or at least optimizing) airflow.
It is important to note that some of the equipment utilized in server farms breathe side-to-side, rather than front to back. That means you can’t just jam all of your equipment together on a rack without any space between them.
The cabinet or rack should have different options to help increase airflow, such as the following:
Baffles: Baffles provide side-to-side airflow to help equipment breathe
Blanking filler panels: A quick and easy addition to open rack units at cable entrance and exit points
Close-Coupled Cooling/Air Conditioning
The main goal of close-coupled cooling is bringing heat transfer to the equipment rack.
Having the air conditioner as close to the equipment rack as possible allows for accurate delivery of inlet air and an instantaneous capture of hot, exhaust air.
A few examples of air conditioners used in server farms include the following:
In-Row Air Conditioners: These units are installed inside the rows of the rack. They create short, direct air flow paths which are designed to reduce power and increase efficiency.
Overhead Heat Exchangers: These units are positioned above the servers and discharge air from the ceiling into aisles where the hot exhaust air rises.
In-Rack Cooling: Known as a closed-loop configuration, this cooling system is adjoined to the server rack and they both must be completely sealed.
The cold air is directed to the server inlet and the hot exhaust air is sent through the cooling coil.
Upgrade Cooling System
Cooling systems are constantly evolving.
A significant amount of data centers are beginning to implement economizers with mechanical refrigeration.
Air economizers push cold outside air across a heat exchanger to remove the heat from the server farm. Water economizers pump chilly river or lake water through a heat exchanger.
One significant benefit of economizers is that they eliminate energy-consuming compressors in most cooling systems and replace them with fans to move cool air.
Server Hardware Consolidation
One way to help your server farm cool down is by producing less exhaust.
How can you do that? By consolidating your server hardware.
Not only will this option help cool your cluster farm, but it will make your center more energy efficient, too!
One way to produce less exhaust is by utilizing virtualized servers. These types of servers host virtual machines. The amount of virtual machines that can be utilized is entirely dependent on what the physical server hardware allows.
This includes memory, CPU cores, and Network I/O.
It is important to know that you don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. You can work your way up to server hardware consolidation by depending on virtualized servers a little more each month or year.
Converting to virtualized servers is a process, but it could certainly be a beneficial one.
Tip: Server hardware consolidation won’t fix cooling problems, but by producing less heat, you’re putting less pressure on your cooling systems.
Metal Building Systems for Server Farms
Did you know that Prefabricated Metal Buildings are excellent for Server Farms and Data Centers?
Cluster computing industries need wide open space to fit as many servers, computers, and hardware as they can. With metal building frames, you can store as much supply as you need.
Prefabricated metal buildings are cost-effective, quick to assemble, and completely customizable based on your specific needs. Even with the fluctuations in steel prices and the affect it can have on your metal building cost, they are still the most economical structure to house a server farm.
If you would like to learn more about how Metal Building Systems can benefit server farms, click the button below to speak with an experienced sales representative at CDMG.
Check out our other pre-engineered metal building articles:
- 5 Ways Steel Buildings Are Eco-Friendly
- Wood Buildings vs Steel Buildings
- The Best Facades To Put On A Steel Building