Caleb Tennis A day in the life of a DC manager, HVAC

February 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

water chillersThePlanet has a blog post from a couple of years ago from their DC Manager highlighting some of the daily things they go through in keeping their data centers up and running.  I’ll highlight some similar bits of information about Data Cave in the next couple of posts.

Air Conditioning

Each data suite in our center has multiple air conditioning units (CRACs).  We monitor these units remotely from our Network Operations Center (NOC) and keep an eye on the temperature and humidity levels in the rooms.  We keep historical data for trending analysis.  We also will spot check the units daily, verify they are working properly, and ensure the screen readouts agree with our remote monitoring.

Water Chillers

The main part of our chilled water system are our multiple centrifugal chillers that create the chilled water.  These units run mostly autonomously, but we still spot check them daily for things like oil level, and level of the refrigerant in the system.  We also remotely monitor them in our NOC to ensure that no faults have occurred, and that the water temperatures and flows stay within bounds.

Process Water

The chillers make cold water, but they do so by rejecting heat into a separate water system, known as our process water.  This separate water loop is also computer controlled via a system of pumps and cooling tower fans where it is taken outside and water is evaporated to reduce the temperature again.  Makeup water is also brought in through wells located around the building, and is purified by reverse osmosis and softening systems.  Again, the whole system is computer controlled and remotely monitored, and we spot check it daily.

Because the process water is warm, it is a breeding ground for bacteria.  Thus, we have to periodically add chemicals to it to keep bacteria from forming and to prevent it from rusting or deteriorating steel and copper tubing throughout the cooling system.  This treatment process is done in house, and is monitored weekly.

Stay tuned for part #2, where I’ll talk about our electrical systems.

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