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/Case Studies/High-Density Cooling: In-row

Compu Dynamics Helps Feds Keep Cool in Dense Situation

Investigating new ways to prevent and cure diseases is serious work, requiring some very serious computing power. So when a major government research agency wanted to create a high-density environment within an existing data center, their research led them to Compu Dynamics.

The research facility had an existing 5,000-square-foot data center. The new requirement demanded the creation of a high-density environment within the center-third of the data center. The high-density environment called for a water-based, in-row cooling system, and the only option for getting the water to the middle of the data center was overhead, since all space beneath the existing raised floor was being utilized by power, cabling and traditional perimeter Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) ducts. Further complicating the project, the data center had to remain operational during construction.

High-density computing always offers considerable heat removal challenges, however, Compu Dynamics’ design-build team is known for a strong combination of innovation and real-world experience. Knowing that IT personnel have an understandable dislike of water and dust, Compu Dynamics’ team had two rather unique challenges for this project: to design a fool-proof overhead delivery method of chilled water to and from the in-row cooling system and to perform construction of the pipe suspension system without dust contamination to the fully operational data center.

To alleviate the risk and worry regarding the possibility of leaks, Compu Dynamics designed a piping system with redundant, isolated paths to each unit, with emergency shut-off/bypass valves to ensure continuous operation in the unlikely event of a breach. In addition, all pipes and fittings were constructed and hydrostatically tested at 150% of maximum operating pressure.

To eliminate the problems associated with dust produced during the construction of the Compu Dynamics-designed pipe suspension system, the team developed a site-specific Method of Procedure (MOP) for dust prevention, which included specialized drills equipped with HEPA filters and enclosing work areas within plastic sheeting to isolate construction from computing.

The cooling solution selected and installed by Compu Dynamics essentially places an in-row cooling unit between each rack. The unit cools air taken from the hot aisle and delivers it to the cold aisle at the temperature setpoint. The unit design closely couples cooling with heat load, preventing exhaust air recirculation to sensitive IT equipment. Each in-row cooling unit monitors the air temperatures. Fan speed is controlled based on demand, maximizing the energy efficiency of the cooling system. During the installation of the new cooling units, the racks were taken offline on a rack-by-rack basis, minimizing disruption to the data center’s users.

With the construction and installation a complete success, the research center gains dramatically increased computing power, with increased energy efficiency and reliability. Compu Dynamics’ electrical and mechanical design-build expertise, combined with its extensive experience working within the latest products from leading manufacturers, provided the research center with a state-of-the-art high density cooling solution, without disrupting the data center operations in the process. And, when the data center serves research that may result in preventing and curing disease, there is no time for downtime.