APC instruments mark the rebirth of cool
InfraStruXure InRow and NetworkAir PA take a more efficient and flexible approach to datacenter coolingFollow @pvenezia
The tried and true methods of prepping a datacenter haven't changed much over the years. You find a massive air conditioner or three, bring in lots of juice, and make sure there aren't any sprinkler heads in the ceiling. But although this is the way it's always been done, APC is betting that it's not the way it will be done in the future -- except for the sprinkler heads.
Across the globe, network and server administrators tend to keep light jackets or sweaters in their cubicles to provide some warmth when they have to spend time in the server room. This is because those massive air conditioners placed in the ceiling, the floor, or along the walls are pumping out 60-degree air and keeping the whole room frigid. It's a solution that certainly works but is obviously wasteful. Why keep the whole room at 68 degrees when the only place you need air that cold is at the front of the racks?
Enter APC's new in-row cooling solutions. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and blowing cold air everywhere, they're placed between the racks, where they push the cold right where it needs to be: directly into the servers. By going right to the heat source, in-row solutions reduce waste, cut the energy bill, and eliminate the need for the "datacenter parka."
Testing and evaluating these units is generally difficult to pull off because they're expensive to install. However, I just recently finished building two production datacenters that make use of APC in-row cooling, and I've seen the deployment of these units through from start to finish.
APC's InfraStruXure InRow cooling solutions come in two forms: the ACSC100, which is a stand-alone air conditioner built into a half-width rack form factor, and the ACRC100, which is identical in size but relies on an external water chiller unit rather than an internal compressor to provide cooling. In addition to these in-row models, I also tested APC's NetworkAir PA4000, an R2D2-like portable cooling unit that can be placed just about anywhere for spot-cooling purposes. All three of these products are very capable, but they're designed for different applications and budgets.
InfraStruXure InRow SC
The ACSC100 is APC's compressor-based in-row unit, designed to be used where access to roof-mounted chillers isn't possible or where the heat loads aren't very high. These units incorporate an internal compressor and evaporator, drawing in hot air from the equipment racks and pumping out cold air through three front-mounted fans. The ACSC100's exhaust and intake ducts come right out of the top of the unit, and installation typically involves routing those ducts to the plenum space above the room. Handily, APC provides the flexible ductwork and a prefit panel with mounting hardware to handle this task. In most scenarios, in which the datacenter room has a suspended acoustic-tile ceiling, the panel will fit perfectly above the unit, and the exhaust ducts can be mounted 10 inches above the intake. The finished installation certainly looks interesting, especially when the ducts are vibrating during normal operation.