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A Cool Idea For Data Centers

A key supplier of power-management solutions is taking a new approach toward attacking a key problem: reducing the cost and complexity of cooling data centers.

APC today is unveiling cooling systems that are a departure from how air conditioning is provided to data centers. The company's new InfraStruXure equipment applies cooling among actual racks rather than in larger, more centralized cooling systems.

The existing approach to data-center air-conditioning systems has several drawbacks, says Kevin Nusky, APC's infrastructure product line manager. First, it's harder to provide predictable cooling because air is pushed though the room; as a result, customers have to move blowers extra hard to compensate.

APC's new architecture moves the cooling ducts into rows with the computing, storage and network equipment, providing more efficient distribution of air, which will reduce power costs by anywhere from 25 percent to 50 percent--and, in some cases, more, according to Nusky.

"Now we are running our motors at the row level so they don't have to work as hard," Nusky says. "We also increase our efficiencies because we are gathering the hot air at the point at which it is produced because it prevents mixing. If you can prevent the mixing of the air, you can have your air conditioning work less and you get the increased efficiency."

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