James Smurthwaite looks at the critical issues around IT cooling and explores a new system that brings VRF flexibility to data centres

As more of us shift our working, shopping and media online, the UK data centre market is booming. And while large, centralised data centres will dominate for some time to come, growth in this area is at the Edge.

Edge computing puts data that would once have gone to the large, centralised cloud servers, closer to where it is collected and used. In terms of physical location, this means smaller data centres placed geographically closer to businesses and towns.

The benefit of edge data centres is that they offer faster response times (less latency, as it’s known) for those video calls and online gamers.

Organisations looking to pivot their business to serve customers online may also decide that it’s cost-effective to set up their own on-site data centre, especially where mission-critical data is concerned.

Data centres have to deal with the cooling requirements of equipment that produces a lot of heat

James Smurthwaite James Smurthwaite Business Development Manager

Main design challenge

But just like their hyperscale counterparts, smaller data centres have to deal with the cooling requirements of equipment that produces a lot of heat.

Managing this is one of the main design challenges for data centres, and it becomes more so when space is at a premium.

The growth in edge data centres means that there is a driver to find new ways of cooling, that offer high levels of reliability as well as flexibility.

At Mitsubishi Electric we have responded with a cooling solution designed specifically for this market. Our Multi Density system offers a high efficiency solution combined with the simplicity of VRF.

Cool within rows

Edge data centre cooling typically requires high sensible cooling and close control of temperatures in high density applications.

Putting the cooling as close as possible to where it’s needed is key to dealing with the thermal load of high density racks or blade servers.

The new Multi Density VRF from Mitsubishi Electric can deliver cooling directly within the rows of racks to cool those hot spots.

It’s a particularly useful approach, as Multi Density offers high capacity cooling with a small footprint.

What’s more, a single outdoor unit links to multiple indoor units on a DX circuit, with plug-and-play capability.  Its long pipe runs (up to 165m) mean that it’s easier to get to an in-house edge data centre that might be right in the middle of an existing building, without the risk of using water as a cooling medium.

Cost-effective and trusted

It’s also easy to build in redundancy to a project, as the Multi Density VRF offers a modular approach that allows for growth in cooling requirements over time. There is also a 3-year warranty to offer peace of mind to end-users who are looking for reliability.

Our need for data centres at the edge is set to grow as the UK shifts to more use of online services alongside the development of our 5G network.

Now is the time to think about how to keep these vital services running in a cost-effective and energy-efficient way. VRF is a well-known and trusted technology, so it makes sense to apply it to business-critical applications.

James Smurthwaite is Business Development Manager