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Improving Ducting to Increase Cooling Performance of High-End Web Servers subjected to significant Thermal Shadowing An Experimental and Computational Study
Keywords: Ducting, Thermal Shadowing, Cooling power consumption
A critical requirement in implementation of air cooling for rack mount servers is management of airflow to ensure that all components, especially critical devices such as CPUs, receive adequate flow as per requirement. In addition, component locations within the chassis play a vital role in passage of airflow and affect the overall system resistance. In this paper, sizeable improvement in chassis ducting is targeted to counteract effects of thermal shadowing in a dual-socket Open Compute web server wherein a CPU is located downstream from another. Over the past few years, commercial CFD codes have permitted simulation of server level models to predict improvements in room and facility design for energy-efficient operation. Initially this study suggests a methodology that outlines experimental tests and procedures employed for generating accurate data for calibration of a server model. The resulting experimentally-calibrated detailed CFD model of the server is deployed to parameterize design and location of the duct with the objective of understanding the effect of flow bypass on CPU die temperatures and fan power consumption. Enhancements achieved are tested experimentally by constructing a prototype of the improved chassis and reported with reduced fan speeds and fan power consumptions at the server level. Reduction in acoustics caused by server fans as a consequence of decreased fan speeds is also evaluated. Further, the study is progressed to the facility level for evaluation of savings in flow rate and total pumping power in a traditional data center layout and highly-efficient data center layout using air side economization. Savings in number of CRAC units required to cool the traditional data center room and amount of water consumed by the plant is also evaluated.
Divya Mani, Student-Graduate Teaching Assistant
University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, Texas

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