Is it Hot in Here? Data Center Cooling Market Grows, Diversifies

12 Nov 2013 by Technology

"As the drive to better manage systems critical to facility functionality accelerates, data center cooling, now a critical part of infrastructure management, comes hot on the heels of the arrival of new technologies and measuring tools. A recent report from Research and Markets projected that the global market for data center cooling solutions will rise at a compound annual growth rate of 11.44 percent between 2012 and 2016.

The report attributed this growth to the need for more granular, real-time facility management in the effort to meet high-performance computing requirements. Enterprises in both mature and emerging markets continue to place a high demand on data center availability and optimal power usage, so it’s essential for data center owners and operators to prioritize energy efficient and high-performance design in both new facilities and upgrades to existing ones. As data center server density rises, evolved cooling solutions will be essential to effective manage the additional heat generated by high-density environments. Here are a few of the cooling options data center owners, operators and tenants have at their disposal:

Modular Data Centers
Containerized data center models increasingly prove the worth of factory-designed infrastructure in reducing cooling costs and improving energy efficiency. Built-in cooling and energy equipment is designed for optimal server support, airflow regulation and energy usage.

Liquid Cooling
Many server manufacturers utilize liquid cooling mechanisms for heat removal. Although the concept is not new, wrote Electronic Design contributor Dennis Downs, advances in liquid cooling technologies improve their ability to eliminate heat generated by microprocessing chips and other high-density compute system components. Water-based circulating liquids can be up to 30 times more efficient at removing heat than moving air streams, which over time can significantly reduce operating expenses.

Free Air Cooling
While extremely location-dependent, free air cooling is increasingly popular among data center owners and operators looking for natural ways to keep cooling costs down. It eliminates the need for computer room air conditioning units, according to TechTarget contributor Clive Longbottom. If the outside air is consistently cooler than the desired data center temperature – an external air temperature lower than 77 degrees Fahrenheit would fit the bill if the data center runs at 86 degrees Fahrenheit, for example – free air cooling could partially or entirely eliminate the need for air conditioners. As more companies outsource data center needs to faraway facilities, this option could see more adoption."

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