Cooling management appliance a perfect fit for legacy datacenters

By David Chernicoff | May 12, 2011, 6:47am PDT

With so many changes going on in the way that datacenters are built and equipped, the huge amount of new construction being done, and the wealth of new technology focused on building state-of-the-art facilities, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of the fact that the majority of datacenters in use aren't in a position to take advantage of all of the advances in facilities design and management.

We forget that the standard datacenter in use today can still bring back memories of the design introduced for mainframes in the 1960's; a large room with a raised floor, filled with racks of computing equipment and kept  chilled by massive CRAC (computer room air conditioning) units that run constantly to maintain the required operating temperature in the facility. And while new datacenters are built from the ground up with energy efficiency as a stated design goal, the vast majority of datacenters in use were designed during a time of more profligate spending with a focus on simply maintaining the operational environment with little regard for the energy expenditure.

Datacenter operators go to great lengths to economize in these older facilities using any number of techniques, ranging from modification to room, row, and rack cooling architecture changes, to hot-aisles. To containment systems with in-rack cooling built within existing facilities, using little more than shower curtain-style PVC sheeting. However, regardless of the techniques that existing datacenter operators choose to use, the key to making it all work is staying on top of the overall environmental cooling and avoiding potential problems that can be caused by hotspots or unexpected airflow (not to  mention potential failures of computer room air handling devices).

This is the perfect environment for Trendpoint's new EnviroCube cooling management appliance. This relatively inexpensive ($2995) box effectively can be plugged into your datacenter at critical junctures for your existing air handling equipment and measure the real-time efficiency of each CRAC/CRAH by measuring the power being utilized and the effectiveness of your cooling and humidity control. On a one to one basis, the EnviroCube can be installed with each air handling device to enable datacenter management to continually evaluate the effectiveness of the unit, determine its operating efficiency and keep an eye out for potential points of failure.

This is a more effective way for datacenters, especially legacy facilities, to get control of their air handling issues. Instrumenting the rooms and the data processing equipment is all well and good, but management by evaluating the effects of your air handling on the devices in use can never be more than reactive. By monitoring and managing the CRAC/CRAH device directly, datacenter operators will be able to take a proactive approach to maintaining an optimal datacenter environment in the most efficient way possible.
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