Avoid these 5 mistakes when specifying containment requirements

Avoid these 5 mistakes when specifying containment requirements


The need for efficiency, cost savings and the overall "greening" of the data center is driving more organizations to consider aisle containment to manage airflow. In some states, containment is mandated by law is certain high-density applications

Often, the professionals that are being tasked with implementing containment are primarily trained, focused on and experienced with IT implementation and performance. The challenge is that evaluating, specifying and installing the right containment solution is more akin to a construction project. While the benefits of a properly executed containment project are most certainly recognized in enhanced IT performance and reliability, getting to that point is much more than just evaluating and buying the right product.

To help IT professionals in these decisions, we comprised a short list of 5 mistakes to avoid when outlining a containment project specification.

  1. Assumptions - everyone knows the saying around assumptions and it holds true with every containment project. In order to ensure a well-specified containment project, the fewer assumptions are always better. Be prepared with exact measurements, CRAC/CRAH unit locations, typical hot spots and other similar information. 
  1. Current Cabinets - in most containment projects, there will need to be some part of the overall containment solution that will need to either attached to or rest on your Cabinets. Knowing the type of cabinets as well as the provisions on the top panel of the cabinet can help specify your solutions whether it is hot or cold aisle containment. 
  1. Skyscraper Rows - We all like to live in a perfect world where everything just fits together perfectly. Unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world. Skyscraper rows are a row of cabinets of varied heights. If you have Skyscraper rows in your data center, it would be ideal to include the heights and number of cabinets of that height in your containment specification.
  1. Available Supporting Structures - This mostly applies to the ceiling of your data center. By specifying early on that you have a Gordon Grid system for your ceiling, or a maybe no ceiling access at all do to the overall height of the ceiling will be valuable information in your containment specification.
  1. Modularity - As mentioned, containment is a construction project that has a start of projected end date. This means that day two changes can be very difficult for an over containment solution. By understanding the current and future requirements of your data center will help drive a meaning specification that can grow with the needs of the data center.

AFCO Systems has been in the containment business for a number of years. With major projects and clients completed there is one thing in common. The sooner a well thought out containment specification is completed, the smoother the overall project. By avoiding these 5 mistakes your project will most likely have less redesign work, less change orders, and more continuity.

AFCO is offering Freight Allowed terms on certain projects. Call us to see if yours qualifies. 

To schedule an initial call with one of AFCOs containment specialist follow the link below and fill out the form. Be sure to mention the Freight Allowed offer during your call.


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We hope that this post helps IT professionals avoid some pitfalls of specifying containment requirements. Let us know what you think! Our primary goal is to promote conversation about data center efficiencies achieved through modern engineering of quality solutions.

Until next time - feel free to share with your colleagues!

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