Containment solutions can eliminate hot spots and provide energy savings over traditional uncontained data center designs. The best containment solution for an existing facility will depend on the constraints of the facility. While ducted hot aisle containment is preferred for highest efficiency, cold aisle containment tends to be easier and more cost effective for facilities with existing raised floor air distribution. This paper investigates the constraints, reviews all available containment methods, and provides recommendations for determining the best containment approach.
Data center containment strategies can provide great benefits for data centers. Hot air and cold air containment are two approaches to do the containment deployment. The best approach for a specific deployment should be determined by assessing the facility constraints, reviewing all potential solutions, and selecting the right containment hardware. Cold aisle containment and ducted hot aisle containment are two most common solutions for data centers with existing perimeter cooling units. Cold aisle containment is preferred for the facilities with raised floor as a supply air plenum, while ducted hot aisle containment is preferred for facilities with a drop ceiling as the hot air return plenum. For data centers with existing row-based cooling units, row-cooled hot aisle containment is preferred. Other containment solutions will be selected by unique requirements. These conclusions are for existing data centers. For new data centers, please see WP135, Impact of Hot and Cold Aisle Containment on Data Center Temperature and Efficiency.