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Air-Cooled High-Performance Data Centers: Case Studies and Best Methods

By using a holistic approach to designing an air-cooled data center, we have achieved breakthrough power and heat densities of 15 kilowatts (kW) per cabinet and more than 500 watts per square foot (WPSF) of server room area, at a lower cost than most other data center designs. We believe, based on extensive modeling, that we can double that density in future.

We began by studying air cooling issues and developing design principles based on best-known methods. We progressively refined our approach, incorporating novel techniques as we designed and built successive data centers. These designs included a two-story building, a retrofit of an existing facility, and a data center without an RMF.

Our approach includes several innovations:
• We modeled airflow to identify and address key airflow problems.
• We used barriers and custom cabinets to control airflow and increase the air conditioning airflow efficiency.
• We combined multiple techniques to achieve high densities in new and retrofitted buildings.

Our results show that it is possible to use air cooling to achieve much greater power densities than we previously thought. We believe that these results will further stimulate the debate over whether to use air or water cooling in future data centers.

Read the full Air-Cooled High-Performance Data Centers Case Studies and Best Methods White Paper.

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