Data centers are getting denser, hotter and consuming more power than ever, and that’s driving significant growth in the data center cooling market. According to a new report by Global Market Insights (GMI), the market is set to exceed $20 billion by 2024, up from just $8 billion in 2016. That represents a compound annual growth rate of more than 12 percent.
Not long ago, the typical data center rack or cabinet had a power density of about 5kW. Today, it’s not uncommon to see power densities of twice that or even much more. Higher densities mean more computing power per square foot, which keeps the lid on operational cost and the need for data center expansion.
Increasing adoption of solid-state drives (SSDs) has helped to reduce the heat load — compared to traditional disk storage, SSDs generate very little heat. However, CPUs are running hotter due to increasing numbers of sockets and cores. In addition, many servers now have GPUs and large amounts of memory, which means even more heat. Data center operators must ensure that this heat is removed and not recirculated, leading to growing demand for more efficient cooling systems.
The rising number of racks and increasing rack power density has led more data center operators to opt for liquid cooling systems, according to the GMI report. Chilled-water systems are generally more efficient than refrigerant-based systems because water has about four times the thermal capacity of air. However, data centers have been slow to adopt liquid cooling due to its higher cost and concerns about water leaks around sensitive equipment.
Most data center operators are focused on proven techniques such as hot- and cold-aisle containment. However, the GMI report also notes that more operators are implementing containerized and modular data centers because of their efficiency and ability to adapt to a wide range of conditions.
In-row and rack-based cooling units will see the highest rate of growth, GMI says. These systems create a shorter airpath and more precise cooling than traditional computer room air conditioner (CRAC) and computer room air handler (CRAH) units. Because capacity is targeted to the actual needs of equipment, electricity costs generally are lower with row- and rack-based cooling compared to CRAC and CRAH units.
Green data centers are gaining traction due to the need for cooling systems as they utilize renewable sources of energy. In the right climate, data centers can even take advantage of free cooling — using cold outside air to chill water for liquid cooling systems.
Installation and deployment represent the biggest chunk of the data center cooling systems market. However, demand for maintenance and support services is growing rapidly as organizations seek help managing and optimizing their cooling plants. Operators are looking to reduce the power consumed by cooling systems, which typically represent about 40 percent of total data center energy consumption.
Rahi Systems offers a comprehensive suite of cooling systems and solutions, backed by experts with years of experience in design, implementation and management. If your data center is getting hotter, let Rahi help you keep your cool.