Data centre uses Rittal racks and cooling technology

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Node4 has specified Rittal TS 8 racks and a Rittal Cold Aisle Containment System for its latest data centre.

Data centre uses Rittal racks and cooling technologyAs many organisations seek to host their hardware and applications in purpose-built facilities rather than investing in the high cost themselves, data centres have become an integral part of today's business environment. Node4 owns and operates a portfolio of data centres throughout the UK that conform to the highest service levels within the commercial data marketplace. Recently the company opened a new centre, DC3, in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, which Node4 chose to equip with Rittal TS 8 racks and a Rittal Cold Aisle Containment System to maximise the cooling.

Since its formation in April 2004, Node4 has made a considerable investment in building three modern high-tech data centres (and a fourth currently being developed) to ensure the right environment can be provided - even for the most mission-critical applications. As data centres of this scale command the highest level of service, Node4 chose to equip the four data halls in its Wakefield DC3 with a total of 450 Rittal TS 8 Racks.

Rittal's TS 8 high-security server racks offer strength and stability, which are paramount within the Data Centre environment. Built using Rittal's patented 16-fold, continuously welded frame, the server cabinets deliver 30 per cent more dimensional stability than available alternatives. Providing 1 metric tonne load of carrying capability, the TS 8 can provide a 'fortified' housing for IT equipment. A further key benefit is that the enclosures have sufficient depth to enable larger servers to be installed, while leaving ample space in the rear for cable routing. Due to its innovative design, TS 8 units can be easily bayed together. Available in a variety of heights and depths, the standard TS 8 provides protection to IP55 and complies with NEMA 12. Specialist variations are also available.

Cut energy consumption by 35 per cent

Data centres tend not to be viewed favourably when it comes to their carbon footprint due to the amount of power they consume. Node4 says it is committed to reducing carbon emissions and, as part of this philosophy, chose to utilise power-efficient technologies such as free-cooling air conditioning that can save up to 35 per cent of energy consumption. Part of the strategy was to employ Rittal's cold aisle containment system, which prevents servers from developing 'hot spots' and therefore reduces the amount of cooled air required.

Proper airflow is essential to effective cooling. 'Hot spots' typically occur when high-density, high-performance servers are packed into racks. Rittal cold aisle containment ensures that 'hot spots' do not develop by making sure that the air intake and outlet openings to all the servers blow into cold and warm aisles. [The hardware components are cooled as much as required and then proceed to blow the air (now heated) into the surrounding room, where it rises to the top. A cushion of warm air is then formed below the ceiling. As the cold aisle is blocked off, warm air cannot enter. The exhaust air, now heated, can then be freely extracted from the room via the air-conditioning unit and, once cooled, let in again as cold air.] The system also guarantees that a sufficient body of cold air is available that cannot mix with any warm air, which would limit its cooling capacity.

Operating cold aisle containment can significantly improve the efficiency of the cooling system, thereby limiting energy demand. A by-product of encapsulating the cold aisle is that power consumption per rack may be increased, typically from 5kW to approximately 10kW.

Rik Williams, Node4's Data Centre Operations Manager, comments: "We chose Rittal to supply our racks as their products are built to the highest specification, which is in line with our offering to our customers. TS 8 racks also offer complete flexibility as well as guaranteeing a reliable supply, with the added benefit of easy equipment installation which is great for our customers. Rittal's expertise in cooling was a deciding factor in us selecting them to supply the Cold Aisle Containment, which helps to reduce our carbon emissions. All the installation went ahead on target and without any problems, which enabled us to open DC3 without any delays."

Barry Maidment, Rittal Product Manager, adds: "We are delighted to be awarded this contract, as it reflects our customer commitment to supply equipment which is built to the highest standard, is flexible and reliable and can also help to reduce our ever-increasing carbon footprint."

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