When it comes to data center containment layouts there are about a million different ways to layout your data center and everyone has an opinion about what is right and what is wrong. Recently, a new layout has become more popular; this layout is called hot aisle cool aisle. This form of containment focuses on the introduction of cool air and the containment and diversion of hot air.
This form of containment is somewhat popular and exceedingly common. This system focuses first and foremost on introducing the cooling air into the server rack cabinets while taking the hot exhaust air away from the system to keep it from overheating. In this schema, the cabinets are adjoined in a series of rows that rest upon a raised floor. The front of the racks face one another, becoming the cold or cool aisles. These aisles are cooled with fans to keep them from overheating. A 42u rack is a great option.
The backs of the rack also face one another which means that exhaust fans are wicking the heat away from the front of the server racks. This creates the hot aisle. This hot exhaust air is then rerouted and put back into the cooling system. The heat removal capacity is influenced ultimately by the floor height, the placement of the perforations, air handlers and their locations, and the room architecture overall. There has been some controversy as to the overall effectiveness of this process. There have been studies however, that have proven the hot aisle cool aisle method does help to keep heat from the servers keeping them safe from unwanted and detrimental overheating.
This method of containment does have some benefits and some drawbacks. The first and most obvious benefit is that the heat is kept from the server. This means that the servers are protected from the heat that they produce. Another benefit is that the servers are also kept cool more efficiently and with less energy overall. This is good for energy bills but can also be a bit hectic. Some drawbacks to this design are that the hot aisles are virtually useless, this space cannot be utilized for anything else. Another drawback is that without the proper ventilation, your servers can still overheat easily making it necessary for those that run the server room to make sure that the systems are working at all times.