Computational research facilities house large computer systems with unique physical characteristics. In addition, the system utilization rate is significantly higher than that for conventional data centers and the load is near constant. A large amount of energy is required to support the operation due to high power and heat densities. Thus, research facilities require special considerations when it comes to adequate thermal and energy design. The following examples provide overviews of two high-profile projects.
ANCIS provided state-of-the-art thermal and airflow analysis for the design of a large government computational research facility at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), including computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling and rack cooling effectiveness (RCI) analysis. We contributed to the schematic design and the design development of the computer room, air-distribution system, and cooling system for optimal thermal and energy performance. The design was completed in 2008.
The 40,000 sq ft equipment room will be a showcase for high performance computing and be a model for thermal and energy management. The design addresses high power and heat load demands of future high-performance computer systems in a scalable and energy efficient manner, including liquid-cooled solutions. Since innovative approaches were an important project goal, ANCIS provided high-resolution computer graphics and animations to visualize the performance of each design permutation.
Computer Lab Facility Advanced computer modeling provides critical support for developing premier air-management solutions. It provides a clear understanding how well a particular design will perform prior to actual startup. ANCIS was asked to analyze and--if needed--enhance a proposed design for a computational research facility. The facility will house more than 700 equipment racks with a heat dissipation equivalent to more than 400 W/sq ft. In this dense environment, the design of the air-management system is critical. One feature of the proposed air-management system was an innovative isolation of the cold equipment aisles, and another feature was the use of large centralized air-side economizers pulling large volumes of air across the equipment room. Both features posed perceived challenges to the facility owner and operator. Indeed, our analysis uncovered a number of problem areas. A complete and costly redesign of the air-management system was avoided by adopting a number of easily implemented design changes that enhanced the system performance.
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