Hot Aisle Containment

When Hot Aisle Containment is the right choice

Hot Aisle Containment encloses the aisle with the exhaust side of the computing equipment and the return air grilles or plenum so that hot air only goes to the return air intake of the cooling equipment.

Choosing between Hot Aisle Containment (“HAC”) and Cold Aisle Containment (“CAC”) isn’t especially complicated. The room configuration and use case will usually determine which solution is best for your situation. Here are some cases where Hot Aisle Containment makes more sense:

Colocation Or Multi-tenant Data Centers

Large colocation or multi-tenant data centers often use HAC for a couple key reasons. First, the tenants/customers of the space are usually separated by cages and the incoming cool air is intended to cool the entire room—not just specific cages. So for colocation spaces, it makes sense to contain specific customer hot aisles to prevent the hot air from mixing with the incoming cool air. Secondly, a HAC strategy for colocation spaces matches containment with tenant/customer deployment, thereby ensuring that containment is applied only to room usage and customer growth.

data center subfloor cleaning

Hyperscale Data Centers

For some years now, hyperscale data centers have been built with slab floors and simplified cooling methods in which an entire data hall is flooded with cool air from a main cooling source. So for the large hyperscale data center halls, containing the hot aisles makes the most sense.

Enterprise Data Centers With Return Air Ceiling Plenums

In data centers with return air ceiling plenums, HAC is often the best choice. The hot exhaust air contained in the hot aisle naturally rises to the return air grills in the ceiling. The higher return air temperatures provide improved heat exchange across the cooling coil, allowing for increased efficiency and cooling capacity. HAC in these cases is often combined with return air “chimneys” containment at the Computer Room Air Conditioner (“CRAC”) or Computer Room Air Handler (“CRAH”) units, ensuring that the hotter return air makes it directly to the CRACs or CRAHs.

Of course, there will always be exceptions to HAC being the best solution in the examples above, which is why we encourage reaching out to AIRSEAL for an in-depth discussion about your particular data center.