Cooling the Cloud: Binghamton PhD Student Sets Sights on Improving DataCenter Efficiency


Data centers — large clusters of servers that power cloud computing operations, e-commerce and more — are one of the largest and fastest-growing consumers of electricity in the United States.

The industry has been shifting from open-air cooling of these facilities to increasingly complex systems that segregate hot air from cold air. When it comes to cost savings, there are definite advantages to the aisle containment systems, which have been estimated to save 30 percent of cooling energy — but it’s not yet clear how they increase the risk of overheating, or how to design them for greatest safety and optimum energy efficiency.

That’s what Husam Alissa, a doctoral candidate in mechanical engineering, is trying to determine at Binghamton University’s state-of-the-art Center for Energy-Smart Electronic Systems (ES2).

In a poster titled “Experimentally Guided Advances of Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling of Air-Cooled Data Centers in a Raised Floor Setting,” which won a contest at a recent meeting of ES2’s Industrial Advisory Board, Alissa lays the foundations for a systematic analysis of Binghamton’s new data center, using both empirical research and computer modeling.

Cabinet View Close

“We included some guidelines for the initial characterization of data center facilities, such as air flow, turbulence, pressure, velocity, momentum and cooling capacity,” says Alissa, who began his work in heat and mass transfer as an undergrad at the Hashemite University in Jordan and a master’s student at Jordan University of Science and Technology. “There are certain things data center modelers seem to oversimplify, and in order to effectively reduce the energy cost, it is important to create accurate models.”

At a large data center, the cost savings could be hundreds of thousands of dollars a year, which is why the solution is so important to ES2, a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center. Partners in ES2 include Georgia Tech, the University of Texas at Arlington and Villanova University, along with Bloomberg, Comcast, Facebook, Future Facilities, IBM, Intel, NYSERDA and Verizon.

In 2013, U.S. data centers consumed an estimated 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity — enough electricity to power all the households in New York City twice over, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. That figure is projected to reach 140 billion kilowatt-hours by 2020, dumping an electric bill of about $13 billion on American businesses.

During the next two years, Alissa expects to refine his analysis, cycling back and forth between data collection and computational fluid dynamics, validating his models along the way.

“Husam has done a very good job establishing a strong technical base for this research,” says IBM Senior Engineer Ken Schneebeli, who served as a mentor on the poster, along with ES2 director Bahgat Sammakia; Future Facilities’ Mark Seymour; IBM’s Roger Schmidt; and Villanova’s Alfonso Ortega. “This is a subject of critical business importance that has not yet been investigated at the university level or at the industry level, and Husam is establishing a basis to ably assert the accuracy of his modeling and methodologies. He has the patience, confidence and thoroughness to take on a project of this size.”

Source here

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Improving Monitoring with Simulation Part 1 Thermal Mapping

Before we start, let us be clear about one thing: environmental monitoring and measurement systems are critical components in managing your data center. This is not a ‘one versus the other’.

This video series takes a look at the unforeseen risks in running a data center that relies solely on environmental monitoring.

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Enhancing Performance Via Passive Data Center Cooling

by Jose Ruiz

Enhancing Performance Via Passive Data Center Cooling

Note: This is the first installment of a regular series providing you with economical options for improving your data center cooling performance.

Passive data center cooling performance is defined by the gains in data center cooling efficiency through the application of effective cooling techniques that do not require additional cooling infrastructure, major equipment restructuring and most importantly, the consumption of additional power.  This series will discuss concepts that are not new to the data center industry that are often not implemented, resulting in the detriment of site performance that can extend into your bottom line. This series will introduce simple and cost-effective techniques that will improve your facility’s performance and save you money.

Flood cooling is not effective cooling.

Flood cooling is a traditional approach used in a number of data centers. It gets the job done, but at what expense? In practice, flood cooling is when air is “dumped” into the computing environment either overhead or under floor. Unfortunately, flood cooling alone is not effective cooling.

Effective cooling is a supplemental technique of flood cooling that directly increases and maximizes the efficiency of the cooling you are providing the IT equipment.  How?  The concept is straightforward: put the cold air where it will work to your benefit, the inflow vent of the IT equipment – the face of the rack.

For example, in a traditional hot aisle/cold aisle configuration, you have a four-foot cold aisle with two perforated tiles separating the front of the cabinets.


Figure 1. Four-foot cold aisle

If you apply data center best practices, then you start installing equipment in your cabinets or racks from the bottom up.  The lowest equipment will receive the most effective cold air via the perforated tile because they are the first ones to demand the air.  As air travels up, the majority of the air is unused or bypassed. (See Figure 2.)  This phenomenon will affect the equipment installed higher in the rack since they will receive the warmer, mixed air.

The cost-effective fix

By replacing standard, perforated tile with a directional airflow panel, such as the Tate Directional Perf, the effectiveness of the supplied air increases by 70%.  Tate calls this: Total Air Capture and states that directional airflow achieves 93% of total air capture.  That’s pretty impressive.  From a density perspective, a 25% directional perf can cool a 7.8 kW rack.[1]


Figure 2. FF 6Sigma CFD simulation. Cold air not being used and being bypassed.

The key benefits provided by effective cooling include:

  • Improved air flow through the IT equipment
  • Increasing the life of your mechanical equipment
  • Reducing your PUE
  • Increasing your supply air temperature set point
  • Saving on energy costs
  • Increasing the overall facilities’ efficiency
  • Maximizing the compute capacity of your data center

Sometimes it’s the little things that have the biggest impact. Rather than taking drastic and expensive measures to improve performance, significant gains can sometimes be achieved for the price of a few floor tiles.


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How Engineering Simulation can work with DCIM to reduce risk in the Datacenter

Originally posted on Data Center Infrastructure & Critical Facility News:


by Dave King

The human race has acquired an insatiable demand for IT services (or rather the 35% that have access to the internet has), services that have to be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

As this demand has grown, data centers have evolved to become either the place where all revenue is generated, or the place that enables all revenue generation for a business.  Just as I am writing this, an advert has popped up on LinkedIn for a Network Infrastucture Engineer for Greggs the Baker (for our international readers, Greggs are a high street baker; they sell cakes, pasties and various other tasty things). That’s right, the baker needs to employ someone well versed in Linux, Cisco and Juniper!

Back in the old days, operators could fly by the seat of their pants, using gut instincts and experience to keep things running.  A little bit…

View original 1,323 more words

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Can DCIM make the difference for a green data center?

By Wendy Schuchart


I had an opportunity to chat with some analysts over the last few weeks and asked them “If CIOs could push one thing to improve their data center’s sustainability, what would you suggest.”

Overwhelmingly, the analysts responded with a four-letter word. No, it’s not what you think – it’s DCIM.

Data Center Infrastructure Management – or DCIM – is a concept near and dear to the technology vendor’s heart, but this is an acronym even less welcome in some circles than a pool hall curse word. When the analysts brought it up with straight faces, my first thought was “Wow, DCIM, are we still talking about this?” The reason is simple – most CIOs I know feel that DCIM suffered from major vendor hype a few years back. It was the great white whale – full of promise but really difficult to target. Why? A three letter word – ROI.

Our data centers are becoming denser by the minute – add in Internet of Things and and an increasing number of “users” caused by multiple devices banging the data center at once, we have a perfect storm of high demand 24/7.

The initial DCIM bubble has burst – many of those early DCIM vendors are out of business these days.  But the push to DCIMize the data center is still ongoing. Original article click here.

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@UptimeInstitute #Uptime15 @6SigmaDC #aim4ace

Screenshot 2015-05-12 11.51.07

Stop by Future Facilities’ Booth 422, to play our AIM4ACE game and qualify for a chance to win a GoPro Hero4.  The top 10 scores will be entered into a drawing to win the GoPro. Thank you in advance and we look forward to seeing you again!

Related Media:

Processor Article – Model & Improve Your Data Center’s Availability, Capacity & Efficiency:

451 Research Reports on the Importance of Future Facilities’ ACE Metric for Data Centers:

Why an energy efficient #datacenter may not be the most profitable:

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@DatacenterBR May 14 Energy Efficiency through Engineering Simulation


9:40 May 14 DCD Brasilia:


Energy efficiency through simulation: how Google did it, how a government facility implemented and how you can do the same.

In this discussion you’ll have the opportunity to learn from Future Facilities reputed international expert Jonathan Leppard. The focus will be on the advancements made in the engineering simulation tools from within the operational planning process through the entire lifecycle, no matter the size of your data center.

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