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Why hot aisle containment is the preferred choice for new data center builds

Why hot aisle containment is the preferred choice for new data center builds


The containment practice in data center operations management has seen significant adoption over the last several years. This adoption rate has been increasing every year which leads our industry to typically have to choose from a few different strategies to implement containment within their data center. The top two strategies have been to either contain the cold aisle or the hot aisle. Seems simple enough until you reach the implementation phase of your choice. If you do not carefully consider all the pros and cons of each strategy, you can end up with a containment project that will be over budget, delivered late, and leave other stakeholders of the data center frustrated. The fast pace of containment adoption has moved containment from a day two project to a critical infrastructure level requirement.

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Because of the complexities that naturally go with implementing any containment strategy, data center operators are starting to build containment directly into the blueprint of new data center construction. By planning containment early in the development process of new data centers, the data center can effectively plan their containment strategy along with other critical infrastructures such as cooling and power.

It is notable that in the data center industry the choice of Hot Aisle Containment (HAC) has been the preferred method of implementing containment across a wide range of installations. By making the implementation of HAC a day one event, data center operators can reap great cost efficiencies. 

Some of the benefits of applying HAC from day one are:

  1. Flooring - HAC is often installed on a Slab floor. Eliminating the need for and associated cost of raised tile flooring.
  1. Cabling - Moving Network and Power cable to an overhead distribution system provide greater access and more flexibility in cable installation and management.
  1. Heat - Hot exhaust air from IT equiptment can be expelled from the building or repurposed to warm other non-IT parts of the facility. 
  1. Nature - HAC allows the design to take advantage of the nature law that hot air rises and cold air falls. Dozens of studies have shown that using a pressurized raised floor to deliver cold air is extremely inefficient. 

While a majority of new installations use hot aisle containment, cold aisle containment is not without its share of benefits. CAC is usually a better choice for legacy data centers due to its easier implementation within a pre-existing building or structure. 

AFCO Systems has helped to design and deploy hot aisle containment solutions for companies such as Twitter, Bloomberg, Cisco, and UBS to name a few. If you have an upcoming data center project and need some advice on how to best implement Hot aisle containment, please reach out to our containment team at containment@afcosystems.com and schedule a time to speak with one of our containment specialists.

We hope that this post sheds some light on containment in new data center construction. Let us know what you think! Our primary goal is to promote conversation about data center efficiencies acheived through containment solutions.

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


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