Performance Evaluation for a Modular, Scalable Passive Cooling System in Data Centers

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Scientific and enterprise data centers, IT equipment product development, and research data center laboratories typically require continuous cooling to control inlet air temperatures within recommended operating levels for the IT equipment. The consolidation and higher density aggregation of slim computing, storage and networking hardware has resulted in higher power density than what the raised-floor system design, coupled with commonly used computer rack air conditioning (CRAC) units, was originally conceived to handle. Many existing data centers and newly constructed data centers adopt CRAC units, which inherently handle heat transfer within data centers via air as the heat transfer media. This results ... continued below

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Xu, TengFang May 1, 2009.

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Scientific and enterprise data centers, IT equipment product development, and research data center laboratories typically require continuous cooling to control inlet air temperatures within recommended operating levels for the IT equipment. The consolidation and higher density aggregation of slim computing, storage and networking hardware has resulted in higher power density than what the raised-floor system design, coupled with commonly used computer rack air conditioning (CRAC) units, was originally conceived to handle. Many existing data centers and newly constructed data centers adopt CRAC units, which inherently handle heat transfer within data centers via air as the heat transfer media. This results in energy performance of the ventilation and cooling systems being less than optimal. Understanding the current trends toward higher power density in IT computing, more and more IT equipment manufacturers are designing their equipment to operate in 'conventional' data center environments, while considering provisions of alternative cooling solutions to either their equipment or supplemental cooling in rack or row systems. In the meanwhile, the trend toward higher power density resulting from current and future generations of servers has created significant opportunities for precision cooling to engineer and manufacture packaged modular and scalable systems. The modular and scalable cooling systems aim at significantly improving efficiency while addressing the thermal challenges, improving reliability, and allowing for future needs and growth. Such pre-engineered and manufactured systems may be a significant improvement over current design; however, without an energy efficiency focus, their applications could also lead to even lower energy efficiencies in the overall data center infrastructure. The overall goal of the project supported by California Energy Commission was to characterize four commercially available, modular cooling systems installed in a data center. Such modular cooling systems are all scalable localized units, and will be evaluated in terms of their operating energy efficiency in a real data center, respectively, as compared to the energy efficiency of traditional legacy data center cooling systems. The technical objective of this project was to evaluate the energy performance of one of the four commercially available modular cooling systems installed in a data center in Sun Microsystems, Inc. This report is the result of a test plan that was developed with the industrial participants input, including specific design and operating characteristics of the selected passive, modular localized cooling solution provided by vendor 4. The technical evaluation included monitoring and measurement of selected parameters, and establishing and calculating energy efficiency metrics for the selected cooling product, which is a passive, modular, scalable liquid cooling system in this study. The scope is to quantify energy performance of the modular cooling unit corresponding to various server loads and inlet air temperatures, under various chilled-water supply temperatures. The information generated from this testing when combined with documented energy efficiency of the host data center's central chilled water cooling plant can be used to estimate potential energy savings from implementing modular cooling compared to conventional cooling in data centers.

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  • Report No.: LBNL-2004E
  • Grant Number: DE-AC02-05CH11231
  • DOI: 10.2172/962473 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 962473
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc932057

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • May 1, 2009

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Jan. 4, 2017, 5:40 p.m.

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Xu, TengFang. Performance Evaluation for a Modular, Scalable Passive Cooling System in Data Centers, report, May 1, 2009; Berkeley, California. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc932057/: accessed October 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.