This paper expands on the work presented by Demetriou and Khalifa (Demetriou and Khalifa, 2013, “Thermally Aware, Energy-Based Load Placement in Open-Aisle, Air-Cooled Data Centers,” ASME J. Electron. Packag., 135(3), p. 030906) that investigated practical IT load placement options in open-aisle, air-cooled data centers. The study found that a robust approach was to use real-time temperature measurements at the inlet of the racks to remove IT load from the servers with the warmest inlet temperature. By considering the holistic optimization of the data center load placement strategy and the cooling infrastructure optimization, for a range of data center IT utilization levels, this study investigated the effect of ambient temperatures on the data center operation, the consolidation of servers by completely shutting them off, a complementary strategy to those presented by Demetriou and Khalifa (Demetriou and Khalifa, 2013, “Thermally Aware, Energy-Based Load Placement in Open-Aisle, Air-Cooled Data Centers,” ASME J. Electron. Packag., 135(3), p. 030906) for increasing the IT load beginning with servers that have the coldest inlet temperature and finally the development of load placement rules via either static (i.e., during data center benchmarking) or dynamic (using real-time data from the current thermal environment) allocation. In all of these case studies, by using a holistic optimization of the data center and associated cooling infrastructure, a key finding has been that a significant amount of savings in the cooling infrastructure's power consumption is seen by reducing the CRAH's airflow rate. In many cases, these savings can be larger than providing higher temperature chilled water from the refrigeration units. Therefore, the path to realizing the industry's goal of higher IT equipment inlet temperatures to improve energy efficiency should be through both a reduction in air flow rate and increasing supply air temperatures and not necessarily through only higher CRAH supply air temperatures.

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