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The rise of the side-breathing switch and what this means for your cabinet airflow management.

The rise of the side-breathing switch and what this means for your cabinet airflow management.

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As most IT personnel are fully aware, the need to keep network equipment cool is essential toward maintaining an environment that runs smoothly and is not made vulnerable to downtime stemming from overheating. Several OEM equipment manufacturers have adopted “side-to-side” airflow cooling as a way to increase port density while taking up less vertical space.

Although the intent is valid and positive, “side breathing” equipment can wreak havoc, (or at least present some serious challenges) when dropped into a datacenter configured for traditional hot/cold aisle (front to rear) cooling. Stability and effectiveness can easily be compromised by the mis-matched airflow patterns. This problem is often compounded by the high quantity of fiber and copper network cabling inherent to network cabinet configurations.

The most frequently deployed network switches employ this side-to-side airflow pattern, which brings in cool air on one side, across the switch components, and exhausts super- heated air out the opposing side. Since network connectivity is an essential part of any data center row, it is necessary to somehow manage the side-breathing airflow within a traditional network cabinet.

To address this incompatibility problem, AFCO Systems engineers had to reimagine how side-breathing network switches are mounted within a network cabinet. As we know, the most cost intensive real estate in any data center is measured in RUs. Therefore, the true challenge was to solve the airflow incompatibility problem while not using up any valuable RU space in the rack to do so. The proverbial icing on the cake would be to enable data center technicians to reconfigure the setup as needs evolve and change without any negative impact on a live production environment. A “tool-less” solution that would require no additional hand tools for installation or configuration was also a design goal.

Many man hours were invested toward design, engineering and proto- typing a solution system. The end result is the AFCO Systems Cross-Breeze Rail System. The Cross-Breeze rail system features a modular configuration that allows for easy changes when necessary, accommodating as many as three network switches per cabinet due to the fact that the Cross-Breeze Rail System takes up ZERO RU space, and has moveable air baffles which regulate the airflow from the side cut outs in the rails themselves. The system is also completely tool-less with accessories being snapped into place simply and easily.





The cross-breeze front rails conform to EIA-310 standards for enclosed racks and mount to struts within the cabinet, with front-to-rear cable troughs, cable management fingers, as well as other available as accessories. The Cross-Breeze rails system is compatible with all AFCO Systems Network Cabinet solutions. Contact s to schedule a consultation with a product specialist to review and discuss the best fit for your application.

Learn more about how Legrand can help with side-to-side ventilation

AFCO Systems has been in the business of engineering solution for the data center industry since the early 90's. Through the company's consistent focus on building solutions, AFCO has the insights and expertise to provide state of the art of standard solutions to the data center market. The Cross Breeze Rail System is the latest proof of that concept. There is much more to come.

We hope that this post enlightens you to how side-breathing switches can be utilized effectively in your data center. 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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