CFD Simulations Validate Data Center Cooling Designs

CFD simulations show air flow around the exterior of a data center. (Source: Future Facilities)

A new white paper from Future Facilities explores how Kao Data used computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations to validate and make informed decisions around the design, implementation, and operation of their indirect evaporative cooling (IEC) system.

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Kao Data is a wholesale colocation data center located in the UK. The first of the company’s four planned data centers are designed to sustainably support high performance computing and intensive artificial intelligence. According to a new white paper from Future Facilities, Kao Data was determined to design their data center to be as energy efficient as possible. One way in which the company is achieving this goal is through the use of an indirect evaporative cooling (IEC) system, which “adopted to create a data center that was greener, as well as more efficient and cost-effective to run.”

The company turned to computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations to ensure that the IEC system would meet the needs of a data center that caters to “the increasingly high-density deployments characterized by machine learning and deep learning workloads and offering the ultimate in Open Compute – Ready (OCP) infrastructure. ” The company used CFD simulations to test various scenarios for both the external and internal environments around the data center campus.

The main aims of the project were to settle on an effective IEC arrangement, analyze the air segregation solution, and assess whether suitable IEC air intake conditions were expected. – Future Facilities, “Using Simulation to Validate Cooling Design”

One simulation was around wind speed and direction changes and how they might impact air flow around the building. “The aim was to understand which wind directions caused the worst air recirculation and how best to optimize set-up to avoid moisture getting trapped around the building and drawn back into the IECs.” Kao Data also used CFD modeling to configure their whitespace and validate thermal performance.

The paper outlines the data center’s specifications and provides an overview of the unique features of IEC systems, which are designed for data center environments. The paper then explores the reasons why CFD simulation was critical to the success of the project and how they’re currently using simulations.

Download the full paper to learn more about how CFD simulations can validate cooling designs.

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