Data centers are the brains of almost any company whose success depends on efficient and reliable software operations. As there is quite a bit of powerful hardware sitting in one place, data centers must be safeguarded against both external and internal environmental influences, while the buildings also require sufficient cooling.
Data centers are energy-intensive facilities, currently consuming more than 1.3% of the world's total electricity production. This energy is transformed into heat that has to be conveyed and dissipated away from the equipment racks in order to maintain the correct operating temperature. Cooling and air conditioning is one of the most important processes in any data center. Data center cooling can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the location and the local climate.
Refrigerant cooling consumes a lot of energy, but its usage can be reduced by taking the climate into consideration when choosing the location for the data center. In dry climates evaporative cooling is effective at dissipating heat. In cold climates direct cooling with dry, cold air can be used. Locations near water offer the possibility to dissipate the heat into the water.
Controlling temperature and humidity
Temperature is controlled using a Computer Room Air Conditioner unit (CRAC), which performs both heating and cooling functions (though not simultaneously). For heating, the CRAC recirculates warm air from the hot aisles with cool make-up air; for cooling, incoming air is chilled to achieve the correct temperature.
In addition to temperature, monitoring and controlling the humidity of the equipment room is also critical. Especially in cool climates where air-side economizers are used, the absolute water content of the air is naturally low. The relative humidity of air decreases when it is heated, meaning that it may fall below the desired level. Air that is too dry increases the risk of static electricity and requires additional humidification by means of spray or evaporative humidifiers.
Vaisala's product portfolio
Vaisala offers the widest selection of measurement products, data loggers, and monitoring systems for use in data center facility management to measure temperature, relative humidity, CO2, wet bulb temperature, dew point temperature, enthalpy, and weather parameters.
The wide range of Vaisala HUMICAP® relative humidity and temperature instruments includes industrial grade and HVAC transmitters that are suitable for use in data centers. Vaisala HUMICAP® sensors are known for their accuracy, excellent long-term stability, and negligible hysteresis.