Data Center Cooling Best Practices

15 Nov 2023 by Colocation

In today's digital age, data centers play a crucial role in supporting our ever-increasing demand for digital services. As the volume of data being processed and stored continues to grow exponentially, the need for efficient data center cooling becomes paramount.  

In this article, we will explore the best practices for data center cooling, starting with an understanding of colocation and an overview of current cooling technologies. 

Understanding Colocation 

Colocation refers to the practice of housing servers and other IT infrastructure in a shared facility rather than maintaining them in-house. This allows businesses to benefit from economies of scale and access to robust infrastructure without the substantial cost of building and maintaining their own data centers.  

Colocation providers play a crucial role in the modern digital landscape by offering a comprehensive suite of services to businesses. Alongside providing physical space for housing servers and IT infrastructure, colocation providers also offer a range of vital services.

These include robust power solutions to ensure uninterrupted operation, efficient cooling systems to maintain optimal temperature levels, stringent security measures to safeguard valuable data, and reliable network connectivity to enable seamless communication and access to the internet.  

By outsourcing these critical functions to colocation providers, businesses can focus on their core competencies while enjoying the benefits of a highly secure, scalable, and resilient IT environment. 

Overview of Data Center Cooling Technologies 

Data center power and cooling technologies have evolved significantly over the years. Traditional methods such as air conditioning units and raised floors are being replaced by more innovative and energy-efficient solutions. Here are some of the current state-of-the-art cooling technologies: 

Hot Aisle/Cold Aisle Containment 

This strategy involves segregating the server racks into designated hot aisles and cold aisles, ensuring that the hot exhaust air from servers does not mix with the cold supply air. By isolating the hot and cold air streams, this approach prevents the recirculation of hot air and maximizes the effectiveness of cooling systems.

As a result, cooling efficiency is significantly improved, resulting in reduced energy consumption and lower cooling costs. This approach is widely adopted in modern data centers to enhance their overall energy efficiency and reduce environmental impact.

Liquid Cooling 

New cooling systems have been created that are better than traditional air-based systems for computer equipment. Liquid cooling uses a coolant to take the heat away from the parts, instead of fans and heat sinks like air-based systems do.

Direct-to-chip cooling involves circulating liquid coolant through microchannels, optimizing heat transfer and dissipating it more efficiently. Immersion cooling, on the other hand, submerges the entire server or components in a non-conductive liquid coolant, allowing for even greater heat dissipation.

These liquid cooling solutions enable higher density server deployments by effectively managing heat generation and reducing the risk of thermal throttling. With improved efficiency and enhanced heat dissipation capabilities, liquid cooling is becoming increasingly popular in data centers and high-performance computing environments.

Free Cooling 

External cool air can be used to help save money and energy in data centers. This is especially useful in areas with good climates. It's an efficient way to reduce the need for mechanical cooling. Free cooling systems use outside air or water to cool down a space instead of using energy-consuming machines. This can save you a lot of energy compared to using regular cooling methods.

By utilizing this approach, data centers can significantly reduce their energy consumption and operational costs while still maintaining optimal temperatures for their IT equipment. This environmentally friendly solution not only benefits the bottom line but also contributes to a more sustainable and greener data center infrastructure.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Analysis 

CFD analysis simulates airflow patterns within data centers, helping operators identify potential hotspots and optimize cooling distribution. By simulating and analyzing the movement of air, CFD analysis helps operators identify potential hotspots and optimize cooling distribution. This analysis takes into account various factors such as temperature differentials, airflows, and pressure gradients to provide a detailed understanding of the airflow within the facility.

Data center managers can use something called CFD analysis to look at the air flow patterns in their data centers. This helps them figure out where there is too much heat or not enough cooling. They can use this information to decide how to place equipment and design the layout of the data center. This way, they will use cooling resources wisely and save energy which will help make the data center run better and cost less money.

Monitoring and Automation 

Implementing real-time monitoring and automation systems can greatly enhance cooling efficiency. By continuously monitoring temperature, humidity, and airflow, operators can identify any anomalies or deviations from optimal conditions. This proactive approach allows them to promptly adjust cooling parameters before potential issues escalate.

Additionally, automated control systems can dynamically allocate cooling resources based on demand, optimizing energy usage and reducing wastage. These systems use intelligence to manage the cooling system. They make sure that resources are used in the best way possible, which saves energy and makes cooling more efficient.

Real-time monitoring and automation systems give data center operators information that can help them do their jobs better. They also help the operators make changes quickly, which leads to better performance, more reliability, and lower costs.


As the demand for colocation services continues to rise, efficient cooling practices have become paramount to ensure optimal performance, reliability, and sustainability. Data center colocation generates significant amounts of heat due to the sheer volume of servers and IT equipment housed within them. Inadequate cooling not only leads to decreased performance but also increases the risk of system failures and downtime.  

To solve this problem, data centers use special cooling equipment. This includes air conditioning systems that are very accurate, keeping cold and hot air separate, and using liquids to cool down. These methods help dissipate heat effectively and maintain stable temperature levels, ensuring that servers operate at peak efficiency. By implementing efficient cooling practices, data centers can minimize energy consumption, reduce their carbon footprint, and contribute to a more sustainable IT ecosystem. 

Colocation is when businesses keep their important technology in another company's space. Cooling technologies help businesses save energy while keeping their IT safe. Hot aisle/cold aisle containment, liquid cooling, free cooling, CFD analysis, and monitoring automation are all good practices that can lead to energy efficiency.

Embracing these practices will not only reduce operational costs but also contribute to a greener and more sustainable future for the data center industry. 

Author Colocation provides consulting and engineering support around colocation and has developed a platform for Datacenter Colocation providers to compete for your business. It takes just 2-3 minutes to create and submit a customized colocation RFP that will automatically engage you and your business with the industry leading datacenter providers in the world. provides a platform to view and research all the datacenter locations and compare and analyze the different attributes of each datacenter. Check out our Colocation Marketplace to view pricing from top colocation providers.  


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