Indoor air quality matters in data centres too!
The number of data centres is increasing at an unprecedented rate as the world shifts to a digital-led economy. These server farms are also becoming ever bigger in size in order to keep up with the rapidly growing volume of data that needs to be stored, transferred and shared online. As the nerve centres of the web, data centres consume vast quantities of energy. They also generate a huge amount of heat, which can cause damage to components if left unchecked.
- Pressure and differential pressure:
- As we’ve already explained, pressure sensors (manometers) are coupled with Pitot tubes or DEBIMO blades to measure air flow rate. But they have other uses too, such as inside the server room itself, where there’s a hermetic seal between the cold aisle (the cold air inlet at the front of the servers) and the hot aisle (the hot air outlet). In this type of configuration, it’s important to check that the pressure in the cold aisle is greater than in the hot aisle, which helps to optimise the flow of cooled air. Our CPE 310 instrument, for instance, is used for precisely this purpose in many labs and hospitals, while numerous data centres have installed our C 310 device to measure pressure alongside temperature and humidity.
- Data centre operators also need to monitor the differential pressure at air filters, so they can check for fouling and schedule filter changes while keeping downtime to a minimum. These air filters play a vital role in preventing the build-up of dust which, if left unchecked, can cause electrostatic discharges. And they’re especially important for data centres located in countries with colder climates, which sometimes use Computer Room Air Handler (CRAH) systems instead of conventional air-conditioning units. These systems, which consume less energy, keep the system components cool by blowing in cold air (and using cold water) from outside. Here, the measurement process is similar to that used in face mask tests.
- Comprehensive review of data centre cooling technology
- ASHRAE Data Center Standard
- Data centre humidification
- A look at data centre cooling technologies (CRAC & CRAH)
- Explainer video focusing on data centre cooling systems and air management strategies
- Our recent blog article on using air flow meters to monitor data centre health