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An approach to develop a control system for data center cooling
Keywords: Control System, Data center Cooling , Interactive tool
In an effort to have a precise control over the temperature and humidity for the optimum functioning of the data center, there have been advances in the development of software tools, to make the process simpler and to assist in the achieving the desired output. Developing a desktop or mobile based application not only gives the end user control over the cooling method but also serves as a means to highlight ways in which one can reduce the usage of resources such as infrastructure, capital and energy. The main aim of the aforementioned tool is to communicate with the cooling system and to ensure that the conditions (Temperature, Relative Humidity) inside the Data center facility remain in the recommended zone (ASHRAE recommended zone or allowable region) irrespective of the conditions outside the data center. The proposed control system will have the following sequence of operation: The data (Outside air information) enters the control system via a DAQ (Data Acquisition) system for analysis. For a given barometric pressure, any two thermodynamic properties are sufficient to specify the location of the data on a psychrometric chart (ex. Dry Bulb temperature and Wet Bulb temperature). The controller applies the required logic to decide based on the condition of the outside air if it is suitable to be directly sent into the data center or if any form of Evaporative Cooling/ Humidification (EC/H) process is required. The interface of this control system provides a means to select the type of cooling system present at the data center, thus providing the required solution by considering the existing EC/H in the facility. Upon performing the necessary calculation to estimate the required amount of cooling, the controller then dictates the cooling units to provide the additional cooling only when necessary based on the design specification (ex. ASHRAE Recommended Zone 1). There is a precise control on the amount and the duration for which this cooling is provided. This way one can monitor the energy consumption and accordingly work on techniques for a more controlled utilization of the entire unit. As an extension of this, the switching time between the scenarios that require cooling and that don�t can help us understand the efficiency with which the given cooling system can respond to inclement weather. This tool can help in deciding which cooling systems are best suited based on the location of the data center. Although there are tools available in the industry to serve this purpose, their cost is significantly high and hence developing a low cost tool, seems to be the need of the hour. The idea of developing a tool that is easily accessible to anyone at highly competitive costs will be the USP for its development. While developing such a software tool, there will be a few points that will be thoroughly emphasized upon: The software tool will have the flexibility of being used on any Operating System. It will be portable i.e. it can be set up on any device that supports a display and has an interactive screen. There will be proper documentation (setting up blueprints, source files) setup so that it can be modified by the end user to be more suitable based on the data center�s facilities such as the DAQ system and the cooling system (for example Direct Expansion, Indirect/Direct Evaporative Cooling).
Varun Rahul, Student
The University of Texas at Arlington
Arlington, Texas
United States

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