Control IT- Tips on Managing Airflow

Control IT- Tips on Managing Airflow

Posted by Rackmount Solutons on Jan 17th 2020

Control IT- Improve Data Center and Server Rack Airflow

Server rack airflow is a vital piece of the data center, network closet, or home server rack. To get the longest life out of your equipment and to spend an appropriate amount of energy is vital to maintaining a well run system. Setting up proper airflow feeds your equipment with cool air, saves your energy costs, reduces hot spots, and with some of these options helps you navigate other issues when they arise preventing elongated down-time. If you interested in also learning how to keep your server racks cool check out: Keep IT Cool - Air Conditioned Cabinets and Cooling Your Servers

5 Ways To Improve Rack Airflow in 5 Minutes

Server rack airflow is a vital piece of the data center, network closet, or home server rack. To get the longest life out of your equipment and to spend an appropriate amount of energy, consider applying any or all of the following 5 Ways to Improve Rack Airflow in 5 Minutes.

1. Cable Managers

Get rid of the spaghetti and start utilizing cable managers. The Neat-Patch is wildly popular and considered a fan favorite. Quickly apply this 2u organizer to your rack and feed your cables through.

2. Cable Length

If you are connecting patches 2 feet from each other, why is your cable 10 feet long? Properly cutting your cables or purchasing the proper length with an appropriate amount of slack can again help reduce the spaghetti nightmare and let cool air work it’s way to your gear.

3. Blanking Panels

With a tool-less blanking panel like theHotLok you can apply 1u or 2u panels on any rail type. Simply snap into place and you’ve instantly raised the efficiency of your rack. Whether it’s a cabinet, an open frame rack, or a 2-post telco rack these simple additions to your server rack will help improve the airflow for your equipment.

4. Magnetic Baffles

It’sbaffling how simple this is (Pun intended). If you have hot and cold aisles, consider these easy to add baffles for your racks. Vertical baffles help funnel the hot air back to the A/C unit without mixing with the cold air supply. Angled baffles help keep the cool air in the aisle as long as possible. These mount to the top of the cabinet via powerful and electronic safe magnets in seconds and make a world of a difference.

5. Round Rack Grommets

Designed to seal the 4″ cable openings at the top of your rack, these grommets are easy to install and very effective. Route your cables through without sacrificing airflow.

We know IT hardware. If you want to help extend the life of your equipment let’s talk about proper server rack airflow. There are many other suggestions and solutions, but these 5 Ways to Improve Rack Airflow in 5 Minutes will instantly make a difference. Call today at 1-800-352-6631 or we’ll contact you with the below information.


The Four Pillars of Airflow Management

Airflow management can be broken down into four key pillars. #1 Room. #2 Row. #3 Raised Floor. #4 Rack. Also known as “The 4 R’s” by addressing each of these areas you can ensure that your data center or room is significantly closer to optimized airflow than before. By tackling these specific areas you will lower your operational costs, energy consumption, and oftentimes extend the life and performance of your equipment.

    Airflow Management Principles

                                                                                                     

1) Raised Floor 

Starting at the base of this pyramid, the Raised Floor plays an integral part in your airflow. Start by sealing any cable openings on the floor with grommets, brushes and perforated tiles in your cold aisles (assuming you are operating a hot/cold aisle environment).

2) Rack 

 While most already focus some attention on airflow management for their rack, many are skipping details that can make huge differences. Proper cable management, using blanking panels, grommets to seal openings, and even under cabinet and side cabinet sealing makes a significant impact. Studies show major changes in hot spots when a rack is properly outfitted with these tools.

3) Row 

Whether you utilize hot and cold aisle containment, you should always properly block open spaces underneath your server racks, where server cabinets are missing, or in any cabinet gaps. If you operate a location where your cabinet density is very high, hot and cold aisle containment is absolutely necessary.

4) Room

 The final pillar for optimized airflow, the Room itself. Start by turning off cooling units or reducing fan speeds for units with variable frequency drives (VFD), if you don’t have VFDs, consider installing. You should also consider changing the cooling infrastructure and optimizing the cool air return set points. These set points should be as high as possible without exceeding the equipment intake air max temperature. If you do opt to increase the environment to the ASHRAE 80 standard, fan control will be a must as some equipment by default will increase the fan speed, which in-turn offsets the benefits.


Data Center Airflow

Data Centers are constantly evolving. Technology is rapidly changing, requiring higher levels of power, more cables, and a constant attention to detail to keep equipment running at its peak. Shifts towards high-density equipment is making airflow monitoring and management more essential than ever.

Common Airflow Problems

The best way to ensure your airflow is adequate, is by checking a list of common airflow problems. Start with the subfloor for any dust or debris that might be affecting airflow, then work your way up. Looking at your racks do you have proper cable management or do you have a spaghetti curtain reducing the airflow to your equipment? Be on the lookout for bypass airflow, hot spots, leakage, and physical obstructions that could be reducing airflow.

Make Simple Improvements

Simple improvements you can make include using Upsite Technologies airflow management products such as their brushed grommets and blanking panels which are considered the best in the industry. If you have a mess of cabling, even basic velcro ties, and routing the cables using D-Rings or cable managers like the Neat Patch can make a world of a difference in efficiency. Many of these airflow management suggestions are not costly, but simply require the will to do so and allotting a fraction of time and attention to detail.

3 Quick Tips for Server Rack Airflow

Server Rack airflow is vital for your equipment and data center efficiency. By reducing server rack bypass airflow, hot spots, air leakage, and obstructions you can save remarkable amounts of energy which in turn saves you money.

1 – Monitor Temperatures Regularly

One simple way to check server rack airflow problems is to monitor the temperature inside and outside of your server rack as well as the area around it. When measuring temperatures inside the rack always check the top, middle and the bottom of the rack to determine hot spots and isolate the areas of need.

2 – Check Cooling Equipment

Routinely check your CRAC units, chilled water pumps, and condenser loops for any issues with their respective valves, gauges, and alarms. If these are not working properly you can be supplying too little or even too much cooling.

3 – Invest in Airflow Management Basics

Server rack airflow management doesn’t have to mean expensive fans or spot cooling units. Something as simple as properly placing blanking panels on your rack, using grommets for cables, or setting up the proper hot aisle / cold aisle configuration. We always recommend Upsite Technologies for raised floor airflow management and HotLok blanking panels. Their grommet recently ranked #1 by ASHRAE and stated that their brush grommet saved 48% more than their competition. The HotLok blanking panel wins awards for sealing up to 99.99% of airflow.