Rack vs. Row: What to Know About These IT Climate Control Models

May 17 2024

Product Insight

Data centers and IT infrastructure generate a significant amount of heat in facilitating the large volume of data processing and storage. In recent years, the development and growth of IT computing has led to an increase in server rack density, in some respects due to the rise of AI and increased serving processing power. As a result, these data centers need more targeted cooling systems to provide adequate cooling and reduce waste. 

Traditional IT climate systems involve pumping large amounts of cooled air into IT rooms or suites, but as server rack density increases, this more conventional approach is both inefficient and requires a large amount of energy consumption, thus increasing your carbon footprint. The continued development of liquid, closed-loop IT cooling systems provides a more powerful, efficient, and sustainable method of removing heat from IT servers.

What’s more, this innovation in IT enclosure cooling units makes it easier to scale cooling outputs based on server rack density or increased thermal loads. 

Here, we’ll briefly discuss rack vs. row-based IT climate control models to help you better understand the ideal cooling unit for your computing and data center needs. 

What is row-based IT cooling?

With  row-based IT climate control infrastructure, cooling units are dedicated to individual rows of IT servers. Also referred to as in-row or closed-loop cooling systems, row-based climate control creates shorter airflow pathways compared to room or suite-based cooling systems, and row-based cooling pathways are also more defined and targeted to help ensure rows of IT enclosures maintain operating temperatures that provide consistent high levels of performance. 

One of the important benefits of row-based IT cooling systems is the ability to vary the cooling output based on the rack density or thermal load of individual rows. For example, one row of server racks can run high density applications and an adjacent rack can run lower power density applications, and row-based cooling makes it possible to adjust cooling capacity to suit each row. 

Another component to row-based IT cooling is that such systems also have the capacity to remove heat from one or two adjacent IT enclosures. Using sealed IT enclosures in a row-based IT cooling environment helps prevent heated air from entering the data center, and it also helps enhance the circulation of cool air within the row of server racks. 

What is rack-based IT cooling? 

With a rack-based IT cooling system, climate control units are dedicated to one or two individual server racks, and cooling units are commonly mounted to or housed within the actual server racks. As a result, rack-based IT cooling helps create more targeted, precise airflows compared with row-based IT cooling, thus resulting in a higher level of performance and efficiency. 

This is in part because airflow paths are shorter compared with row-based IT cooling systems, and it’s also because cooling outputs are targeted to a smaller number of server racks. This also helps enhance the efficiency of your climate infrastructure by reducing the amount of fan power required to dissipate heat and maintain optimal temperatures for peak computing and processing.  

Additionally, rack-based IT climate systems allow cooling capacity to be targeted to real-time server rack needs. This not only helps increase the efficiency of your IT cooling infrastructure, but it also helps reduce waste by only directing cooling where and when it’s needed. This can help reduce energy consumption and costs, and it can also reduce your overall carbon footprint. 

Which IT climate control model is ideal for high-density IT server rack configurations? 

The increase in IT computing in modern manufacturing — particularly with the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) systems in making predictions and decisions without human intervention — has made high operational thermal loads commonplace. Rack-based liquid cooling packages can help more efficiently support high-density heat loads with an eye toward more targeted cooling outputs that reduces waste. 

For example, Rittal’s Liquid Cooling Package Chilled Water (LCP CW) is a closed-loop, high-density cooling solution that is flexible, easy to scale, and offers greater cooling capacity with lower energy requirements. Rittal’s LCP CW cooling solution can support high-density thermal loads for single or multiple bayed IT enclosure configurations. 

The LCP CW also includes comprehensive software for local and remote monitoring, network notifications, and real-time cooling data and analytics to help ensure high performance on a 24/7 basis. 

What’s more, our LCP CW climate control solution simplifies maintenance and troubleshooting via easy access from the front and rear of the unit, and tool-free fan module replacement accelerates the servicing of each unit to reduce downtime and maintain productivity. 
Rittal’s dedication to targeted, efficient IT infrastructure and data center climate control can help you maximize your data generation and computing to maximize productivity and grow your business. Learn more about how our liquid cooling packages can help you optimize your IT climate control workflows.