Reducing the Cost of Cooling Server Rooms

In recent years the twin issues of power and cooling for IT infrastructure have become top priorities for IT executives. And not only for environmental reasons: spiralling energy costs mean that these opex elements are growing three times faster than the growth rate for new hardware capex1

Analyst house IDC2 identified that in 2007 the electricity needed to power data centres throughout Western Europe rose by 13.4% on 2006, equal to 40% of the new hardware capex. Furthermore, 50% of the energy expenditure of maintaining the server infrastructure is estimated to go on cooling the servers themselves, and only 50% on powering them.3

So whilst server manufacturers are bringing out a whole gamut of new energy efficient models, unless introduced alongside a strategy that can reduce the cost of cooling them, only a fraction of the potential energy cost savings can be achieved.

As responsibility for IT infrastructure power consumption moves increasingly away from Facilities Management and into the domain of the IT department, new initiatives that can tangibly decrease corporate power consumption are making their way up the agenda. And in today's volatile fuel markets, the importance of tackling this issue looks only set to escalate.

An easily-deployed solution that dispenses with small computer room cooling costs almost entirely are NetShelter CX 'SERVER ROOM IN A BOX'. Optimised for rack installations of up to 6 kW, NetShelter CX remove the need for dedicated air-conditioned server room facilities. To provide an indication of the potential cost savings, if a typical 3.6kW server room installation were replaced with an equivalent NetShelter CX deployed in the open office, hardware cooling costs can be reduced by £1,300 per annum** and this figure is at the conservative end of the spectrum.

NetShelter CX 'SERVER ROOM IN A BOX' operate on a principle of fresh-air cooling where ambient air is drawn in at floor level of the enclosure, channelled over the front of the equipment, and then extracted out of the enclosure at the rear. Located out in the open office they do not need the dedicated air-conditioning of equivalent server rooms, as any heat generated is dispersed indiscernibly into the large body of air of the office. An analogy to explain the energy dispersal might be that if you drop some ice cubes into a large bath of water, the temperature change to the bath water is negligible, but if you drop the same ice cubes into a your drink, the temperature drop is substantial. In a similar way, small computer rooms require dedicated air conditioning because warm air from the equipment is pumped into a small, confined space, so heat builds up very quickly.

To explore the potential energy savings that can be realised by deploying NetShelter CX compared to building traditional computer rooms, please visit and enter in your current server room profile.

Or for further details please contact NetShelter CX team directly on 0118 903 7850 or visit


1 Source IDC Worldwide Server Power and Cooling Expense Forecast
2 Source IDC Energy Footprint of the European Server Infrastructure 2006-2007, and 2008-2012 Forecast
3 Source Accenture
**Calculation based on a low-end price of 10 pence per kilowatt/hour (average commercial electricity costs at October 2008 range between 10 to 13 pence per kilowatt/hour).

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