Bypass Airflow

What Does Bypass Airflow Mean?

Bypass airflow refers to a conditioned air leak that prevents properly conditioned air (usually cooled or temperature controlled air) from reaching specific computer parts. Leaking air may escape through cabling holes, under cabinets in ceilings or through wall openings or holes.


Techopedia Explains Bypass Airflow

As computer manufacturers produce faster processors and high-heat density equipment, cooling systems become more and more critical to prevent data center hot spots.

In 2007, a study conducted by engineers from Upsite Technologies Inc. and Uptime Institute Inc. covered more than 15,000 measurements in 19 computer data centers of various sizes and capacities. Every room analyzed served more than the required cooling capacity and the results reflected all the same. It showed that one of the centers had 2.7 times more cooling equipment than was required, while two other rooms had 16 times the regular cooling required. However, only 40 percent of the cold air supply was actually cooling the computer equipment directly. Therefore, the results obtained from the study conducted proved to be counterintuitive. The problem was not air conditioning units or high-heat densities but bypass airflow.

The study concluded that the elimination of bypass airflow is critical to getting cold air to the right places, which would eliminate zone and vertical hot spots. The simplest solution to this problem was to first optimize the quantity and location of perforated tiles and secondly to seal cable cut-out openings starting with the largest openings.

Data center owners and operators must adopt strategies for assuring sufficient computer equipment cooling. This will definitely result in two positive changes – the reduction of the amount of conditioned air required and better temperature distribution across equipment cabinets.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.