Hot vs. Cold Aisle Containment in Data Centers

Regardless of the size of your business, you probably have a data center in some capacity. Most medium and large companies have a designated room for their data center. Even if you’re a small company and your data center is a closet, the airflow still matters. Data centers have two different airflows that are formally called hot and cold aisles. If you’d like to learn more about hot and cold aisle containment in data centers, we’ve got you covered. Read on for more information.

What Are Hot and Cold Aisles?

Cold aisles are enclosed by doors and a roof of some sort. Alternatively, hot aisle containment also has doors on each side of the aisle, but there’s a primary difference to note. A hot aisle will have a structure of ductwork that connects to separate cooling units. Hot aisle containment typically uses ceiling and floor plenum spaces for the ductwork. You’re probably wondering which configuration is better? We’re going to cover that next.

Which Is Better for Data Centers

Many companies debate the benefits of both hot and cold aisle containment. While there’s no right answer, we’re going to cover the benefits of both and let you decide what’s best for your company. The primary benefits of cold aisle containment revolve around the fact that it’s generally less expensive. Because you only need doors and a roof for cold aisle containment, it requires much less material, which makes it more affordable. Additionally, cold aisle containment is a simpler setup, which makes growth easier if you need to add to your configuration. The primary downfall of a cold aisle setup is that the entire data center is the hot aisle. That said, the room can get very warm, which could increase your cooling costs.

On the other hand, in a hot aisle configuration, the room itself is the cold aisle, which can minimize HVAC costs. Because most hot aisle setups involve raised floors, they’re usually more efficient and all-around more effective. As you might suspect, the disadvantage is the cost. If you’re building a data center from the ground up, there are more upfront costs surrounding raised floors and ductwork. That said, the long-term cost benefit is normally greater than a cold aisle configuration.

The primary component to know about hot and cold aisle containment in data centers is installation. At ICOM Mechanical, our team has extensive experience in commercial HVAC. Our team offers the best mechanical contracting servicesin the Bay Area. If you need help with hot and cold aisle configurations, we’ve got you covered, so contact us today.

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