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  • Ian Goh

Curtain/Strip Containment or Aisle Containment?

Updated: Jun 24, 2023


Source: Data Center Resource

The decision between curtain containment and aisle containment depends on several factors, including the specific requirements of the data center, budget constraints, and operational considerations. Here are some key points to consider when deciding between the two options:

  1. Airflow Management: Both curtain containment and aisle containment aim to optimize airflow management in data centers. Curtain containment uses plastic curtains to separate hot and cold aisles, while aisle containment involves enclosing the entire aisle with physical barriers, such as doors or panels. If precise control over airflow is crucial, aisle containment may be preferred as it provides a more comprehensive separation between hot and cold air.

  2. Flexibility: Curtain containment offers greater flexibility in terms of installation and modifications. Plastic curtains can be easily installed, adjusted, or removed, allowing for quick changes to the data center layout. Aisle containment, on the other hand, requires more significant modifications to the physical structure and may be less flexible in accommodating future changes.

  3. Cost: Curtain containment is generally more cost-effective compared to aisle containment. The materials required for curtain containment, such as plastic curtains and mounting hardware, are less expensive than the construction materials needed for aisle containment, such as doors or panels. If budget constraints are a primary concern, curtain containment might be the more favorable option.

  4. Physical Security: If physical security is a critical requirement for the data center, aisle containment may be preferred. The enclosed aisle provides an additional layer of physical protection against unauthorized access and tampering. However, if security is already adequately addressed through other means, curtain containment can still provide sufficient separation and airflow management without the added expense of aisle containment.

  5. Noise Considerations: Aisle containment can help in reducing noise transmission within the data center environment. The physical barriers used in aisle containment can act as sound barriers, minimizing noise pollution. If noise control is a priority, aisle containment might be more suitable.

Ultimately, the choice between curtain containment and aisle containment depends on the specific needs of the data center, considering factors such as airflow management requirements, flexibility, cost, physical security, and noise considerations. Evaluating these factors in relation to the specific context and constraints of the data center will help in making an informed decision. Curtain Containment: Pros:

  • Cost-effective compared to aisle containment.

  • Quick and easy installation, adjustments, and removal.

  • Provides a sufficient level of separation for most data center airflow management needs.

  • Offers flexibility in adapting to changing data center layouts.

  • Does not require significant modifications to the physical structure.

Cons:

  • Limited physical security compared to aisle containment.

  • May not be as effective in noise reduction compared to aisle containment.

  • Less precise control over airflow compared to aisle containment.

Aisle Containment: Pros:

  • Provides a more comprehensive separation between hot and cold air.

  • Offers enhanced physical security with enclosed aisles.

  • Can effectively reduce noise transmission within the data center.

  • Allows for precise control over airflow management.

  • Can accommodate higher cooling densities and specialized cooling techniques.

Cons:

  • Higher cost compared to curtain containment due to construction materials and modifications required.

  • Installation and modifications are more time-consuming and may disrupt data center operations.

  • Less flexibility in adapting to future changes in data center layout.

  • Requires sufficient floor space to accommodate the enclosed aisle.

It's important to consider these pros and cons in the context of your specific data center requirements and constraints to determine which option is most suitable for your needs.

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