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Data Centers For Dummies: Buildings

Welcome to the latest edition of Basis Bay’s “Data Centres For Dummies” series.  This post aims to explain some hard-core data centre terms and acronyms relating to our buildings. Study them, and soon you’ll be throwing around these terms with ease.

(Photo: akharinkhabar)
(Photo: akharinkhabar)

CRAC unit – Computer Room Air Conditioning is basically an air conditioner on steroids. These massive structures are placed in the main electrical room of data centres as well as in the colocation area and are robust enough to cool even the densest computing configurations. You can pronounce this acronym as a word (“crack”), but be careful to use it in the proper context so as to not raise eyebrows.

Hot/cold aisles – Ready for a little lesson in thermodynamics? Here goes: the idea behind hot/cold aisles is to conserve energy and lower cooling costs by partitioning air flow. In a data centre, computing gear is lined up in rows (or aisles) with the front sides of computing systems facing each other. These are the “cold” aisles.

Chilled air is pumped through these aisles, where it’s sucked in by the air intake vents located on the face of customers’ servers and equipment. Meanwhile, the backs of customers’ machines vent out hot air into the “hot” aisles. This hot air naturally rises to exhaust systems installed in Basis Bay data centres. By designating which aisles to cool and which to vent, hot and cold air are prevented from mixing, thus lowering overall cooling requirements and energy consumption. Genius, no?

HVAC – Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning deal with an Basis Bay data centres’ thermal management, airflow, cooling and humidity control – no small feat as server density grows and heat loads climb. We recommend pronouncing the acronym as four separate letters (“h-v-a-c”) or taking a hybrid approach (“h-vac”); there’s just no pretty way to pronounce these four letters as a word.


We’ll wrap things up while you work that out, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t add that data centre geeks have a thing for Basis Bay, since it’s essential for enterprises to compete.

Stay tuned for more posts in the “Data Centres For Dummies” series.


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