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The challenge for data center managers is to maintain or improve availability in increasingly dense computing environments while reducing costs and increasing efficiency. Data centers are strategic business assets that continue to grow in importance, and data center managers are under pressure to optimize operational expenses and reduce energy consumption without risking downtime.
Previous generations of data center HVAC systems had to operate at full capacity all the time regardless of actual load demands. And Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems operated most efficiently at full load although full-load operation is the exception rather than norm. A lack of flexibility in the power and cooling systems led to inherent energy inefficiency which has created a large opportunity for HVAC energy savings which can account for 35 percent of data center energy costs.
Using an example of a 34,000 cfm air handler and a $.16 blended utility rate, using a Dynamic V8 Air Cleaning System instead of 85% cartridge filters can save over $8,000/year in fan energy costs. Just from the reduction in static pressure in this model, design brake horsepower is reduced 14.3 bhp.
Today’s intricate and sensitive IT equipment requires a certain level of environmental control for gaseous and particulate contamination that is present within the environment. Potential airborne contaminants can be overlooked and, if left unrestrained, can degrade the reliability and the continuous operation of mission critical IT equipment within a facility. Particle and gaseous contamination can result in intermittent equipment glitches or in unplanned shutdowns of critical systems that often mean significant business and financial losses.
Outdoor air is the main source of particles in the data center environment. This is an issue because increasingly data centers are being designed to take advantage of free cooling during certain times of the year. Particles settle through four mechanisms: gravitational (relevant only above 1mm), diffusion, electrostatic, and turbulent flow precipitation. Gases can either act alone or in conjunction with other gases or particles to form compounds that can result in oxidation on metallic surfaces. Oxidation results from a chemical reaction which can cause irreversible destruction on the surface of a circuit board, or on the leads of a connector, or on the pins of an integrated circuit.
Reasons for increased concern include:
Areas that are susceptible to particle matter accumulation include:
Airborne particles and gaseous contamination can cause a wide range of unwanted data center conditions that can affect the continued operation and reliability of equipment. Degradation will vary depending on equipment location and the chemistry, quantity, and composition of contaminants. Equipment issues arising from mechanical, thermal, chemical, or electrical degradation can be intermittent and difficult to diagnose; due, in part, to the interaction of multiple factors such as particles, gases, humidity, and other environmental factors that combine to trigger noticeable effects. Therefore it is important to minimize airborne contamination.