The work presented in this paper describes a simplified thermodynamic model that can be used for exploring optimization possibilities in air-cooled data centers. The model is used to evaluate parametrically the total energy consumption of the data center cooling infrastructure for data centers that utilize aisle containment. The analysis highlights the importance of reducing the total power required for moving the air within the computer room air conditioners (CRACs), the plenum, and the servers, rather than focusing primarily or exclusively on reducing the refrigeration system’s power consumption. In addition, the benefits of introducing a bypass recirculation branch in enclosed aisle configurations are shown. The analysis shows a potential for as much as a 60% savings in cooling infrastructure energy consumption by utilizing an optimized enclosed aisle configuration with bypass recirculation, instead of a traditional enclosed aisle in which all the data center exhaust is forced to flow through the CRACs. Furthermore, computational fluid dynamics is used to evaluate practical arrangements for implementing bypass recirculation in raised floor data centers. A configuration where bypass tiles, with controllable low-lift fans, are placed close to the discharge of CRACs results in increased mixing and is shown to be a suitable method for providing nearly thermally uniform conditions to the inlet of the servers in an enclosed cold aisle. Other configurations of bypass implementation are also discussed and explored.

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