How hyperscale data centers are changing the cooling landscape

Nov. 1, 2015
In a recently published market study, BSRIA explains that hyperscale data centers are changing the market for precision cooling and that over the next five to ten years, the use of traditional computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units will drop dramatically as data centers opt for a combination of free cooling, liquid cooling, and chilled-water cooling.

In a recently published market study, BSRIA (www.bsria.co.uk) explains that hyperscale data centers are changing the market for precision cooling and that over the next five to ten years, the use of traditional computer room air conditioning (CRAC) units will drop dramatically as data centers opt for a combination of free cooling, liquid cooling, and chilled-water cooling.

According to BSRIA, hyperscale data centers like those operated by Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon often deploy new technologies such as modular, outdoor air handling units (AHUs) and evaporative cooling. Lone Hansen, worldwide market intelligence manager for BSRIA’s IT cable group, commented, “Most of the large hyperscale [American] data centers have a centralized team that will develop the specification with regards to IT equipment and networks, cooling and power. The specification will typically be rolled out globally and include several-often three or four-approved suppliers in each product category.”

So if hyperscales will lead and the rest of the data center industry will follow, what path are these hyperscales cutting? The figure on this page, created by BSRIA, illustrates some of the new potential cooling technologies and their positioning in terms of typical application and temperature operating range. The figure is divided into quadrants based on the technologies’ growth potential and the investment level each requires. BSRIA dubs technologies in the top-right quadrant as “rising stars.”

BSRIA estimates the precision cooling products installed in data centers at US$1.9 billion in the world’s ten largest markets in 2014; the firm expects these markets to experience healthy growth through 2017

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