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Which Cooling System Is Best for a Data Center?

One of the big problems data centers face is how to stay cool. Servers that overheat can lose performance or fail, leading to data loss, downtime, and expensive replacement. Therefore, the best cooling system for a data center is one that works to keep the temperature low enough for proper data center function.

However, in addition to maintaining a cool temperature, a data center cooling system should also operate efficiently, helping a data center maintain a low PUE (power usage effectiveness). If your PUE is too high, your data center won’t be competitive, and that will make your data center unprofitable. Since up to 50% of the power used in a data center might be related to cooling, improving cooling efficiency is a great way to lower your PUE.

The most effective way to do this is with evaporative cooling. The best cooling system for a data center will incorporate evaporative cooling either as a direct or indirect cooling method.

Benefits of Evaporative Cooling Systems for Data Centers

When you are looking for a cooling method that reduces your energy consumption, evaporative cooling is a powerful choice. That’s because evaporative cooling is:

Evaporative cooling is a highly efficient approach to data center cooling. Evaporative cooling consumes about ¼ as much power as mechanical cooling (commonly known as air conditioning). Evaporative cooling can be so efficient because most of the energy for cooling comes from the ambient air.

Evaporative coolers blow hot air over evaporative media. Evaporative media is like a highly advanced sponge. It absorbs water and lets air pass through it. As the air passes through the media, it evaporates the water. Evaporating water takes a lot of energy, which comes from the heat in the air. This cools the air instantly and dramatically, but only requires energy to power the blower.

Evaporative coolers can supply large volumes of cool air. For every square foot of evaporative media, an evaporative cooler can supply hundreds of cubic feet of cooled air per minute. This lets them provide rapid cooling, and it allows them to respond to rapidly shifting conditions.

Direct and Indirect Evaporative Cooling Systems for Data Centers

Engineer inside of a data center evaluating the cooling system efficiencyApproaches to cooling data centers can be divided into direct and indirect cooling.

In direct evaporative cooling, the evaporative cooler cools the air that enters the server rooms. Some are concerned that this could introduce contamination and excess humidity to the data center. However, some major data center operators, such as Google, utilize this approach freely without problems.

For data center operators concerned about maintaining air purity in their data center, indirect evaporative cooling might be a better option. In indirect evaporative cooling, the data center air doesn’t mix with the air where evaporation occurs. For example, air cooled by evaporation might pass through a heat exchanger. This cools hot data center air that passes over it. Indirect evaporative cooling is less efficient than direct evaporative cooling, but still more efficient than pure mechanical cooling.

Mechanical Cooling Systems Still Play a Role for Data Centers

Although evaporative cooling offers a highly efficient cooling solution, mechanical cooling remains vital to a data center. Evaporative cooling cannot lower the air temperature as much as mechanical cooling can. In addition, mechanical cooling is less dependent on outdoor conditions, such as weather.

Though often reduced to a support role in the most advanced data centers, the presence of mechanical cooling helps ensure a data center can continue operating efficiently under all conditions.

Build Kuul into Your Data Center

The short answer of what cooling system is best for a data center is evaporative cooling. Evaporative cooling is highly effective, and it’s also incredibly efficient.

At the heart of your evaporative cooling system is the evaporative cooling media, which determines the effectiveness and efficiency of the system. Choose Kuul Evolved FirePro™ evaporative media to combine effective cooling, efficient operation, and industry-standard fire resistance for your data center’s cooling.

Want to learn more about incorporating Kuul into your data center cooling? Please contact us today for questions or to make an order.