Rittal Equip and Cool State of the Art Data Centre

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As 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 which conform to the highest service levels within the commercial data marketplace. Due to their rapidly growing customer base they opened a new Data Centre, DC3, in Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in July of this year, which they chose to equip with Rittal TS 8 racks and to maximise their cooling utilised the Rittal Cold Aisle Containment System.

Since its formation in April 2004, Node4 has seen rapid business growth and has attracted many blue chip companies from across the country as organisations seek to host their hardware and applications in specifically designed amenities. Node4, have made considerable investment in building three modern high-tech Data Centres, (with another currently being developed in Northampton), 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 their Wakefield DC3 with a total of 450 Rittal TS 8 Racks.

Rittal’s revolutionary 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% more dimensional stability than available alternatives. Providing 1 metric tonne load of carrying capability, the TS 8 can provide optimum stability offering a fortified housing for IT equipment. Sufficient depth to enable larger servers to be installed whilst leaving ample space in the rear for cable routing is also a key benefit. Due to its unique design, the TS 8 can also be easily bayed together. Available in a variety of heights and depths the standard TS 8 offers protection category IP55 and complies with NEMA 12. Specialist variations are also available.

Data Centres tend not to be viewed favourably when it comes to their carbon footprint due to the amount of power consumed. Node4 are committed to reducing carbon emissions and as part of this philosophy chose to utilise the latest power efficient technologies such as free-cooling air conditioning which can save up to 35% of energy consumption. Part of strategy was to employ Rittal’s cold aisle containment system which prevents servers from developing ‘hot spots’ thereby reducing the amount of cooled air required.

Proper airflow is essential to effective cooling. Pockets of heat loads or ‘hot-spots’ typically occur when high density, high performance servers are packed into racks. Rittal cold aisle containment ensures ‘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 which 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 allows power consumption per rack to increase, typically from 5kW to approximately 10kW.

Rik Williams, Node4’s Data Centre Operations Manager commented “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 aids 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.”