Research Papers: Heat Transfer in Manufacturing

Comprehensive Experimental and Computational Analysis of a Fully Contained Hybrid Server Cabinet

[+] Author and Article Information
Kourosh Nemati

Mechanical Engineering Department,
State University of New York,
Binghamton, NY 13902
e-mail: knemati@binghamton.edu

Husam A. Alissa, Bruce T. Murray, Bahgat G. Sammakia

Mechanical Engineering Department,
State University of New York,
Binghamton, NY 13902

Russell Tipton

Emerson Network Power,
Columbus, OH 43085

Mark J. Seymour

Future Facilities,
London SE1 7HX, UK

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Heat Transfer Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF HEAT TRANSFER. Manuscript received May 17, 2016; final manuscript received February 28, 2017; published online April 11, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Milind A. Jog.

J. Heat Transfer 139(8), 082101 (Apr 11, 2017) (12 pages) Paper No: HT-16-1281; doi: 10.1115/1.4036100 History: Received May 17, 2016; Revised February 28, 2017

The rapid growth in the number of data centers combined with the high-density heat dissipation of computer and telecommunications equipment has made energy efficient thermal management of data centers a key research area. Localized hybrid air–water cooling is one approach to more effectively control the cooling when there is wide variation in the amount of dissipation in neighboring racks while the traditional air cooling approach requires overprovisioning. In a closed, hybrid air–water cooled server cabinet, the generated heat is removed by a self-contained system that does not interact with the room level air cooling system. Here, a hybrid-cooled enclosed cabinet and all its internal components were characterized experimentally in steady-state mode (e.g., experimentally determined heat-exchanger effectiveness and IT characterization). Also, a comprehensive numerical model of the cabinet was developed and validated using the experimental data. The computational model employs full numerical modeling of the cabinet geometry and compact models to represent the servers and the air/water heat exchanger. The compact models were developed based on experimental flow and thermal characterization of the internal components. The cabinet level model has been used to simulate a number of operating scenarios relevant to data center applications such as the effect of air leakage within the cabinet. The effect of the air side and the water side failure of the cooling system on the IT performance were investigated experimentally. A comparison was made of the amount of time required to exceed the operating temperature limit for the two scenarios.

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Fig. 1

Illustration of the cabinet air flow circulation: (a) top view and (b) side view

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Fig. 2

Experimental setup of enclosed cabinet (with open doors): (a) front side and (b) rear side

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Fig. 3

Grid of 17 velocity/temperature sensors at upstream of the heat exchanger box: (a) grid and (b) sensor

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Fig. 4

V-shaped heat exchanger top view

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Fig. 5

Experimentally measured effectiveness

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Fig. 6

Server thermal mass characterization experimental setup

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Fig. 7

Measured impedance, fan, and flow curves for 2 RU server

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Fig. 8

Comparison between theoretical and effective flow curves

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Fig. 9

Rear door fan curves for three fan speeds

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Fig. 10

Rear door image and modeled flow results: (a) front view and (b) rear view

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Fig. 11

Calibration of heat exchanger models: (a) thin heat exchanger model and (b) V-shaped heat exchanger model

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Fig. 12

Computational model of the cabinet: (a) cabinet front side and (b) an example of the air flow pattern in the cabinet

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Fig. 13

The air velocity distribution at the inlet of the heat exchanger (a) and (b) for the higher fan speed case and (c) and (d) for the lower fan speed case: (a) experimental result, (b) numerical results, (c) experimental result, and (d) numerical results

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Fig. 14

Cabinet leakage: (a) leakage between heat exchanger box and rear door, (b) between servers leakage, and (c) cable cutout leakage on the top of the cabinet

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Fig. 15

Air stream temperature at the front side of cabinet: (a) with leakage and (b) without leakage

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Fig. 16

Average inlet temperature of the IT equipment for different conditions

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Fig. 17

Transient temperature variation for 1 RU server used for semi-empirical thermal mass assessment

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Fig. 18

Heat exchanger supply temperatures (17 lines on top), return air, and supply water temperatures-water pump failure scenario

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Fig. 19

Effectiveness, water mass flow rate, and server's inlet temperature-water pump failure scenario

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Fig. 20

Inlet/Outlet air and water temperatures-blower failure scenario

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Fig. 21

Effectiveness, water mass flow rate, and server's inlet temperature-blower failure scenario




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