The Four Pillars of Airflow Management

Airflow management can be broken down into four key pillars. #1 Room. #2 Row. #3 Raised Floor. #4 Rack. Also known as “The 4 R’s” by addressing each of these areas you can ensure that your data center or room is significantly closer to optimized airflow than before. By tackling these specific areas you will lower your operational costs, energy consumption, and often times extend the life and performance of your equipment.

Airflow Management Principles


1) Raised Floor – Starting at the base of this pyramid, the Raised Floor plays an integral part in your airflow. Start by sealing any cable openings on the floor with grommets, brushes and perforated tiles in your cold aisles (assuming you are operating a hot/cold aisle environment).

2) Rack –  While most already focus some attention on airflow management for their rack, many are skipping details that can make huge differences. Proper cable management, using blanking panels, grommets to seal openings, and even under cabinet and side cabinet sealing makes a significant impact. Studies show major changes in hot spots when a rack is properly outfitted with these tools.

3) Row – Whether you utilize hot and cold aisle containment, you should always properly block open spaces underneath your server racks, where server cabinets are missing, or in any cabinet gaps. If you operate a location where your cabinet density is very high, hot and cold aisle containment is absolutely necessary.

4) Room – The final pillar for optimized airflow, the Room itself. Start by turning off cooling units or reducing fan speeds for units with variable frequency drives (VFD), if you don’t have VFDs, consider installing. You should also consider changing the cooling infrastructure and optimizing the cool air return set points. These set points should be as high as possible without exceeding the equipment intake air max temperature. If you do opt to increase the environment to the ASHRAE 80 standard, fan control will be a must as some equipment by default will increase the fan speed, which in-turn offsets the benefits.

For more tips on airflow management or help finding products to fulfill these four pillars, talk to an expert at Rackmount Solutions – 1.800.352.6631

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