Cooling today’s sizzling hot data centres

By K Dunlap and N Rasmussen, Schneider Electric


Published in:

Electricity+Control, August 2013 (pages 10 – 12)

Enquiries: Eben Owen  Tel. 011 557 6600 or email


The full article on Cooling today's sizzling hot data centres can be downloaded in PDF format.


Virtually all IT equipment is air-cooled, that is, each piece of IT equipment takes in ambient air and ejects waste heat into its exhaust air. Since a data centre may contain thousands of IT devices, there are therefore thousands of hot airflow paths within the data centre that together represent the total waste heat output of the data centre, waste heat that must be removed.

With power densities of modern IT equipment pushing peak power density to 20 kW per rack or more, simulation data and experience show that traditional cooling, dependent on air mixing, no longer functions effectively.

To address this problem, design approaches exist that focus on room, row, and rack-based cooling. In these approaches, the air conditioning systems are specifically integrated with the room, rows of racks, or individual rack in order to minimise air mixing.


Take note

  • Typically, IT equipment is air cooled.
  • Cooling systems must be specifically designed to cater for the needs and layout of IT equipment in your plant.
  • Generally, it is useful to get expert advice to ensure that your systems will be adequately cooled.