Understanding types of containment
Data center terminology can sometimes be challenging to understand, especially when discussing types of containment solutions. This page will outline the two main containment types (also known as corridors) and provide a high-level overview of the benefits and capabilities of each.
A cold containment or cold corridor is a solution in which the roof is in a horizontal position; hence also known as horizontal containment.
The roof is either laid on the racks or is independent of them (free-standing corridor).
In a cold corridor, cold air will flow through a raised floor into the corridor, containing the cold air in front of the servers and cooling. them down as the air flows to the rest of the room.
A hot containment or hot corridor is a solution in which the roof is in a vertical position; hence also known as vertical containment.
The roof is either supported by the racks or is independent of them (free-standing corridor).
In a hot corridor, the room is cooled, and the front of the servers will be on the external side of the corridor meeting this cold air. The cold air will flow towards the inside of the aisle, cooling down the IT equipment and being accumulated as hot air inside the corridor and expelled through a false ceiling.
|Room at a high temperature > 35 degrees
|Room at a comfortable temperature ~ 25 degrees
|Aisle at 22-25 degrees
|Aisle above 40 degrees
|Stand-alone equipment can be cooled without being part of the containment (e.g., UPS)
|Cable entry points not a problem
|Cable entry points or cutouts in the containment are a point of attention. Hot air can leak towards the room
|Optimizes performance of row-based coolers (if in use) thanks to the higher gradient of temperature between aisle and room
|Commonly easier to retrofit to existing data centers thanks to its horizontal approach
|Commonly requires of a raised floor to deliver cold air to the aisle
|Commonly requires of a false ceiling to get rid of the hot air accumulated in the aisle.