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Efficient cooling for high-performance computers

Keep cool.

Our brain works best at an external temperature of around 25 degrees Celsius. If it gets much hotter, the body needs to use energy for cooling. We become tired and inattentive, our reactions decline and our field of vision narrows. A cold shower can work wonders in this case.

The right cooling system is also an important element in creating a failsafe IT environment. Uninterrupted cooling is essential to ensure servers, storage systems and network components can operate continuously. This makes climate control a key cost factor in operating a data centre and accounts for a growing proportion of CO2 emissions. The Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) forecasts that CO2 emissions from ICT as a proportion of total CO2 emissions will increase from 1.3 per cent in 2002 to 2.3 per cent in 2020. The concept for a cost-effective, environmentally friendly and future-proof IT climate control system should always be designed and engineered to match the specific needs. In the first instance, this involves examining factors such as availability, intended purpose and the level of IT utilisation. How important is IT availability for operational business processes? Are there peak times when IT is used particularly intensively? Is absolutely failsafe reliability necessary?

Anyone looking to also protect themselves against rising energy prices should use renewable energies and state-of-the-art cooling concepts. In free cooling, heat is extracted via the ambient air to minimise the use of compressor-based coolers. This can be done directly or indirectly, with the outside air being used to cool a heat transfer fluid such as water. The water, which conducts heat up to 4,000 times better than air, is the medium used to feed cooling energy into the data centre. One example is the Lefdal Mine Datacenter – a highly scalable and efficient cloud data centre in Norway. The developers here are using an efficient cooling system involving seawater with a temperature of around 8 degrees Celsius from the adjacent fjord that cools the water in the data centre’s secondary circuit using a heat exchanger.

Rittal offers the optimum solutions for cooling with ambient air and water- and refrigerant-based cooling units. A simulation of airflows in the data centre using special software (computational fluid dynamics, CFD) ensures greater planning certainty. This gives customers precise information on thermodynamic behaviour and heat distribution based on a customised 3D simulation.

Further materials on this topic:

Discover it. Rittal Liquid Cooling Packages Power Distribution in data centers

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Reference

Free cooling saves energy

Pöttinger, a manufacturer of farming equipment based in Grieskirchen, Austria, decided to construct a new data centre within the scope of a larger project to improve energy efficiency. The enterprise entrusted the task to Rittal, which implemented a free-cooling solution – enabling Pöttinger to enjoy greener IT.

“We had worked closely with the facilities management team for a number of years on ways to reduce power consumption in the server room. We have definitely made great progress within the scope of this project.”

Gerhard Wagner, head of IT at Pöttinger.

Pöttinger, a family-owned company in northern Austria, has manufactured tilling, sowing, haymaking and harvesting machinery for over 140 years. In 2013, the company launched a large-scale project entitled Arbeitswelt 2015 (World of Work 2015), to increase production capacity and to refurbish and expand offices in Grieskirchen. The project also entailed major changes in the IT department.

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