Environmental monitoring and management are two essential processes for any data centre. IT equipment can be damaged by high temperatures and humidity levels. Anyone working in the data centre may face uncomfortable circumstances due to this.

Fortunately, several systems and technologies are available to help keep data centre cooling temperatures and humidity levels within an acceptable range.

What is data centre cooling?

Data centres consume a lot of energy, which leads to heat. The greater the amount of equipment crammed into a facility, the more heat is produced. Data centre cooling refers to the equipment, tools, systems, methods and processes used in a data centre facility to maintain ideal temperatures and humidity levels. Proper data centre cooling ensures that all equipment in a facility is adequately cooled, ventilated, and humidified to carry the appropriate temperature levels.

Why is data centre cooling important?

Cooling data centres is important because high temperatures and humidity are bad for computing equipment. Computers, IT devices, and other electrical equipment produce heat and need to get rid of it as soon as possible for their operation not to be impacted. Excess heat and humidity can harm technology and equipment, causing them to fail. Damaged equipment might cause fire and other safety concerns. As a result of these hazards, equipment must be serviced or replaced more frequently, which increases operational expenditures.

Data Centre Cooling Benefits


      • Enhances data centre scalability by accommodating more powerful servers and higher computing density.

      • Data centre cooling Increases operational uptime by minimising downtime caused by thermal-related issues.

      • Safeguards data integrity and equipment performance.

      • Supports sustainability goals by optimising operational efficiency and reducing carbon emissions

    How does data centre cooling work?

    Excess heat is removed from the air and replaced with colder air using data centre cooling. It’s most often accomplished by combining the ideas of several people into one.


        • For example, a cold room may be cooled by opening the shutters and allowing the outside air to flow freely.

        • Internal air is typically cooled by heating it through a hot and cold aisle plan to improve cooling efficiency.

        • In this case, the heating system is designed to create hot air inside and then exhaust it outside. This approach is free cooling; only facilities in colder climates can use it.

        • The facility is either cooled or heated to the most extraordinary recommended temperature and replaced equipment when it breaks down. Using this so-called heat or close-coupled cooling may be less expensive than other cooling techniques because other cooling methods might cost considerably more than equipment replacement fees.

      Current data centre cooling systems and technologies

      Air cooling

      This air-conditioning approach is ideal for small data centres or existing facilities with raised floors and hot and cold aisles. When the computer room air conditioner (CRAC) or computer room air handler (CRAH) sends out cold air, the pressure beneath the raised bed rises, forcing the chilly air into the equipment. When the air is cooled, the heat previously within it is redistributed across a more expansive space. In addition, the cold air displaces the hot air, which is then recirculated.

      Using hot and cold air aisles increases the efficiency of air-based cooling systems by allowing for more precise placement of intake and exhaust vents. This keeps the cooling CRAC or CRAH from mixing hot and cold air, allowing it to work more effectively.

      A CRAC is also less costly to maintain because it draws outside air in and cools it using chilled water rather than refrigerant. A CRAC works like a home AC unit that uses refrigerants to cool the air. Because CRAC units cannot keep up with large data centres, they’re better suited for tiny data centre closets.

      Hot and cold aisle layouts

      Server cabinets and racks are aligned in a row pattern in this arrangement, with each row facing the one ahead.

      The equipment layout shown above has a hot intake and warm air vents facing each other, resulting in alternating hot and cold aisles. The cooling system of the refrigeration equipment in each hall is designed to work effectively by either venting or pumping in the air. The hot galleries are vented, while the cold aisles are pumped with cool air.

      To improve circulation, add doors and walls to the plan. Cabinets should be as complete as possible to avoid empty areas, gaps, and cable openings that might allow hot or cold air into the other aisle, forcing the cooling system to work overtime.

      Liquid cooling

      Liquid cooling is a relatively new technology. It’s a more efficient and cost-effective cooling system because it can be used on data centre devices that require it the most. Because the liquid is more efficient than air at removing heat from emitting sources, it may support higher equipment densities and products that generate more excellent heat, such as high-density and edge computing data centres.

      The two main types of liquid cooling:


          • Liquid immersion cooling. This technique submerges the complete electrical gadget in a dielectric fluid in a closed system. The temperature of the liquid absorbs heat emitted by the device and transforms it into vapour, returning it to its original temperature.

          • Direct-to-chip liquid cooling. This approach involves flexible tubes transporting non-flammable dielectric fluid straight to the hottest processing chip or motherboard components, such as the CPU or GPU. The liquid absorbs heat, which changes into vapour and carries the heat away through the same pipe.

        Future data centre cooling systems and technologies

        Several other data centre cooling technologies are on the horizon, such as geothermal cooling methods, intelligent technologies that employ AI and machine learning to monitor and manage the cooling process, and evaporative cooling.

        Using nature to cool data centres

        Here are some ideas for how data centres may use nature to cool themselves: 


            • Geothermal cooling The liquid water within the Earth’s core provides cooling. It’s an ancient concept initially used to keep food cold hundreds of years ago and has been revolutionised for our time. In data centres, geothermal cooling systems use a closed-loop pipe system with water or another refrigerant that circulates through vertical wells beneath the Earth’s surface and is filled with a heat-transferring liquid. Geothermal cooling is used at Verne Global in Iceland, Green Mountain in Norway, and Iron Mountain’s western Pennsylvania data centre.

            • Evaporative cooling – When water is exposed to moving air, it cools down and begins to vaporise. A fan draws heated data centre air through a dampened pad, which chills and pushes back the air as the liquid evaporates. It’s less expensive than an air-cooled HVAC system and works well in dry places because it is especially effective in low-humidity areas.

            • Solar cooling – Heat from the sun is converted into cooling, which can be utilized in data centre air cooling systems. The system captures solar energy and employs a thermally driven cooling technology to lower the air temperature in a structure. This is beneficial in regions with a lot of sunshine or data centres searching for an alternative to traditional cooling.

            • KyotoCooling The use of a thermal wheel to regulate hot and cold airflows across the data centres is called an internal chill wheel. Interior hot air is vented outside as the wheel turns, the outside air cools the wheel, and the atmosphere is drawn back into the facility. A cooled Brunswick technology (CRAH) system, the Air Cooled Chiller System reduces power usage by 75% to 90%. It consumes far less power than other CRAH systems, reducing carbon dioxide emissions and eliminating the need for water in the cooling system. United Airlines’ data centre employs technology outside of Chicago and HP’s data centre is outside of Toronto.

          Using innovative technology for data centre cooling

          Because many of the newest data centre cooling solutions require a significant outlay of money by facility owners, innovative technology has grown in popularity. Data centre intelligent assistants, AI, and machine learning technologies can now monitor buildings more effectively and in real-time to ensure optimal temperatures and humidity levels. Google, for example, employs intelligent temperature controls to decrease heat generation and cooling usage. The firm has also implemented its DeepMind AI technology to save 40% on cooling energy consumption in 18 months.

          Outside moisture sensors and temperature and humidity sensors are attached to cooling robots for them to function within the data centre. They may also monitor temperatures and humidities in specific server cabinets. Another issue with manually monitoring temperatures in storerooms is that conditions change as soon as the doors are opened.

          The demand for data centres will only rise, so facility owners and their customers must consider more efficient and cost-effective cooling methods. Whether looking at less environmentally damaging options like geothermal and free cooling or investing in more cutting-edge technologies like liquid immersion cooling for high-powered servers, there’s something for everyone.