Monthly Archives: October 2009

Data Centre Best Practices

While investigating all the options for energy efficiency and best practices within data centres, I came across a company that provides an innovative solution to ineffective cold aisle updrafts.  This may be caused by a number of issues – the main ones are where the cold air in the underfloor plenum is either travelling too fast/slow or the AHU/CRAC’s are too close to the first grilled tile (TIA 942 recommends at least a 2.6m gap between the CRACs and the first cold aisle).

Daxten Limited ( supply an innovative new type of grilled tile (Daxten CoolControl Tile Datasheet UK 2009.pdf) that fits standard data centre floors (600mm x 600mm) and creates “eddies” of air that provide for a consistent amount of cold air travelling up the whole of the rack front.  The design apparently will service two to three racks at once and therefore cuts down on the number of grilled tiles you may need.  A demonstration in our existing data centre showed that the temperature gap between the top and bottom of the front of the rack can be reduced by 3-4 degrees Centigrade.  Impressive stuff and I’ve ordered eight so I’ll report back on how well they’ve met our needs.

Royal Holloway, University of London’s new data centre

Data centre specialists Keysource have recently designed and built Royal Holloway, University of London’s new data centre and invited us to an onsite tour of the facility, followed by a round table discussion on the challenges and issues facing University data centres.
An informative tour of their data centre and case study presentation highlighted the challenges that faced Royal Holloway and the solution that Keysource provided. Keysource provided Royal Holloway, University of London with a turn-key solution based on the JCT 2005 contract.
APC was selected as fully scalable model as it was difficult to predict accurate future growth and this solution is a long-term strategy.
Power is rated at 8KW’s per rack, but again this can be changed either way. Hot Aisle containment in the centre aisle. Space, Power and Cooling (Air cooled chillers high-efficiency air cooled with water and glycol mix. The DC Infrastructure is configured for n+1.
Keysource are providing a fully managed 24/7 service with email and text alerting to both Royal Holloway, University of London and Keysource personnel. In the design stage they appointed 2 independent consultants (one FM and one I.T. skilled). Royal Holloway, University of London engaged Keysource in the early stages of the project to help assess a road map of where they wanted to get to with the new data centre. A CFD (Computational fluid dynamics) study is not usually required with an APC contained solution. Power and cooling need to be specified correctly and there must be clear separation of hot and cold air for optimum performance.
The APC racks cooling solution has fans that are variable speed for efficiency and the setup we were shown was configured for a 22 degree C set-point for inlet temperatures, however, on the day, it was running at 18 degrees C and below.
Their APC UPS (backup battery) runs at 80-90% capacity for optimum performance.

NOTE: Share Savings Scheme – Keysource now offer a finance scheme that can assist a University with the purchase of highly efficient, but costly capital equipment i.e. Free-Air chillers. In return for a fixed term contract sharing the cost savings over that period. This could also be combined with the HEFC (E) pronounced “hefkey” – Higher Education Funding Council that allows HE Institutes to borrow interest-free funds that must be paid back with cost-saving realised as part of any project.