Opengate says row-based containment cooling system eliminates data center hot aisles

May 16, 2011
Company says its row-based containment cooling system achieves ultra-efficient high-density cooling while keeping water lines off data center floor.

LINCOLN, Neb.--Opengate Data Systems, a data center solution provider specializing in the research and development of intelligent, distributed power and cooling, has announced its EC30R Row-Based Containment Cooling system.

Opengate notes that its Containment Cooling recently won the Uptime Institute 2011 Green Enterprise IT Award for Outstanding Facilities Product in a User Deployment. “The EC30R is an effective airflow management system, said a company spokesperson. "You only deliver cooling for what the IT equipment demands.”

Multiple Studies Reveal

Data center cooling systems are delivering 2.6 times more air than IT equipment requires in an effort to maintain environmental conditions within the temperature range recommended by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers). In most cases cooling system supply air is 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit below the ASHRAE recommended temperature.

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Best practices to reduce waste and attempts to passively contain air at today’s power densities have reached their limit. A 2010 ASHRAE study revealed that a typical 10 kW rack leaks 37% of the server exhaust heat out of the rack’s front rails and bottom where a majority of this air flows back into the left and right side intake vents of the servers. This study also showed that sealing the rack to prevent leakage results in leakage between servers and the pressure build-up in the rack causes a significant server fan power increase.

Opengate says it returns 100% of the hot server exhaust air directly back to perimeter cooling units or central air handlers

The company claims its EC30R Containment Cooling system "takes an innovative yet practical approach; contain the heat in the row and intelligently control it to simplify the entire cooling circuit. The Opengate EC30R system contains 100% of the heat right in the row of racks, eliminating the hot aisle. Eliminating the hot aisle is critical with temperatures easily exceeding 100 ºF (38 ºC) due to raised supply-air temperatures and more efficient, higher exhaust temperature servers."

“The EC30R is an effective airflow management system. You only deliver cooling for what the IT equipment demands,” said Mark Germagian, CEO and founder of Opengate. “With deployment of our intelligent row-based containment solutions, customers are able to reduce data center fan power consumption by 700 watts per 1000 watts of IT load—a 70% reduction. If desired, Opengate customers can also safely raise the data center cooling supply air temperature to the upper ASHRAE limit without any region in the data center being more than a few degrees greater than the supply air temperature.”

Flexible architecture enables grouping of different rack types and quick placement of EC30R Containment Cooling systems as data center services grow

Opengate contends that its Containment Cooling systems require a much lower capital investment compared to other systems targeted for eliminating data center cooling waste. The return on investment is typically less than 6 months for new expansion, and less than 12 months for retrofit when using a row-based approach. One EC30R is capable of exhausting 2700 cubic feet per minute (CFM) of hot IT exhaust air from a group of racks. Multiple EC30Rs in the row work collectively to evacuate the heat, communicating to each other to intelligently monitor and control the heat removal operation.

“The flexibility of the EC30R system allows sizing as needed for new spaces or for retrofitting existing spaces to reclaim wasted cooling capacity,” said Mark Germagian. “The EC30R system is an expansion of the EC10 and EC20 Containment Cooling systems that have been shipping for over two years.”

Zero-Pressure for Zero-Waste

Opengate systems control the row plenum (the area behind the servers where the heat is exhausted) to essentially zero-pressure. This ensures all server heat exhaust (and no room cooling) returns to where it is supposed to; the perimeter cooling or central air handling units. Continually maintaining zero-pressure ensures no pressure build up in the racks and allows intelligent data collection of the air volume being demanded by IT equipment. Without intelligent real-time data collection, zero-waste would be impossible.

Opengate says its Row-Based Containment Cooling provides customers with the following "data center cooling performance guarantee":

-- Ability to deploy one cooling solution for all IT equipment types and densities (up to 30 kW per rack).
-- Stabilize rack intake air temperatures to within a few degrees of the supply air temperature at all points in the data center.
-- Reduce total data center fan power by 70% over typical industry standards - supplying only the volume of air needed by the IT equipment
-- Dynamically adjust cooling supply based on IT demand as servers dynamically scale their airflow requirements.
-- Eliminate backpressure on servers - allowing servers to operate at their lowest airflow rates and greatest efficiency.
-- Flexibly scale containment requirements as needed - allowing full utilization of cooling resources at all times.
-- High-Touch, Quick-Deploy Application for EC30R with RowEnclosure technology

High-touch data centers requiring pre-stacked and wired server racks can be rolled onto the data center floor and into the patent pending RowEnclosure, where facility cabling and EC30R Containment Cooling has been commissioned and is service ready. This allows facilities to prepare for high volume deployment of data center services while the server racks are being ordered and configured. If desired, racks placed in the RowEnclosure can be minimalist 4-post construction since they are plugging into a RowEnclosure which becomes the outer shell for the entire row of racks.

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