Server Room Air Conditioners

Selecting the right server room cooling system for your server room or datacentre is a critical infrastructure decision. Installing the right air conditioning system will lead to lower operating costs, improved energy efficiency, controlled server room humidity, correct server room temperature and increased resilience in terms of the IT hardware and accessories within the cooled environment.

Datacentre Cooling Solutions

The cooling system consultants at Server Room Environments are air conditioning experts. They have decades of experience installing, upgrading and maintaining air conditioners in a wide range of IT environments. Specific projects can include:

  • Air conditioning and energy usage audits including FGAS compliance
  • Resilient systems with N+1 redundancy or greater built-into the overall design
  • Lowering operating costs for air conditioning clients
  • Monitoring air conditioning systems on a 24/7 basis under maintenance contracts
  • Upgrading legacy air conditioners to improve energy usage and lower physical sizes
  • Third party air conditioner system maintenance contracts with emergency call out
  • Cooling system repairs and spares supply
  • Cooling zone thermodynamic design and installation planning
  • Cooling and air flow accessories including vented floor tiles, ducting and blanking plates
  • Hot-aisle and cold-aisle containment
  • Compliance to ASHRAE standard recommendations
  • Decontamination zones
  • Improving server room air distrbution

At Server Room Environments, we supply a complete range of datacentre cooling systems from small in-rack air conditioners to in-row cooling units to complete IT facility cooling systems. We can design and supply bespoke solutions as well as off-the-shelf units. In terms of buildings and locations our range of air conditioner sets includes models for fixed installations, remote and temporary hire sites, modular and containerised buildings.

Air conditioning and cooling system projects differ from client to client and site to site. Our air conditioning experts review each project from the following viewpoints based on years of experience within the critical cooling industry:

  • Scalability and adaptability to today’s and future cooling needs
  • Availability and resilience in terms of N, N+X and 2N design
  • In-life operating, energy efficiency and maintenance costs
  • Maintenance contract requirements and serviceability
  • Ease of use and operation

Server rooms and datacentres require air conditioning systems that are designed specifically for such demanding environments. The industry standard is to offer two types of cooling system based on chilled water-cooling or refrigerant-cooling. The latter are known as ‘DX’ units which stands for direct expansion. DX systems can be packaged or split and cool an environment as the evaporator is in direct contact with the room air supply. Expansion refers to the refrigerant treatment and the refrigerant vapour expansion/compression (RVEC cycle) which is used directly cool the air supply. The refrigerant flows into a compressor to condense the volume of air and release the heat

In a server room or datacentre environment there are three general types of air conditioning system

  • Air conditioners (DX)
  • Computer room air handlers (CRAHs)
  • Computer room air conditioners (CRACs)

Off-the-shelf air conditioners tend to be used in small server rooms. These types of unit are designed for comfort-cooling for offices and their compact size, low-installation costs, performance and availability makes them ideal for server room environments.

CRAHs and CRACs tend to be designed for bespoke installations and specifications including heat load, temperature regulation, operating periods (normally 24/7), resilience (N+X), humidity control, energy efficiency, cooling methodology (local characteristics) and even the environmental and corporate social responsibilities of the organisation. The latter policies can include the need to make use of local cooling (free-air-cooling) and even the re-use of heat in the local community.

Whichever cooling system is installed, the units will have two primary stages of operation. The first is the removal of heat from the environment and the second, the ejection or exchange of the collected heat via a condenser, dry-cooler, tower or chiller to the outside ambient environment.

ASHRAE is the main point of reference when it comes to server room and datacentre cooling. ASHRAE stands for (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers). The organisation publishes guidance for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning industry (HVAC) for IT environments and critical infrastructures. ASHRAE has proposed allowing computer room temperatures to rise allowing for reduce cooling and improved energy usage.

All server room and datacentre hardware generates and dissipates heat at a level that is dependent on its overall energy efficiency and design. To correctly design a cooling system for an IT environment means not just taking this heat into account but the overall heat generated by all systems and components within the critical environment. This must include heat output and energy losses from power protection systems (uninterruptible power supplies and PDUs), electrical distribution (switchgear and distribution boxes), lighting and the heat gain from the building design itself in terms of wall, floor, windows and ceiling. The presence of people must also be considered in terms of heat and humidity.

The final elements to consider when designing a server room or datacentre cooling system is the room layout and configuration in terms of air flow, obstacles, walls, doors, access points/times and the location of the cooling systems, IT server racks, UPS systems and the CRACs and CRAHs themselves. All these values with assumptions can be input into a suitable fluid dynamics model for assessment by our air conditioning engineers.