In-Rack Cooling

Why Trust Techopedia

What Does In-Rack Cooling Mean?

In-rack cooling refers to cooling systems that are often used in small data centers or in high-density areas inside large data centers, or to supplementary cooling systems used in high-density environments. The technology used in in-rack cooling systems leaves the cold and hot air with no choice but to move across the servers and the heat exchangers, respectively.


In-rack cooling offers an ideal computing environment, that is, a microclimate that is thermally neutral to other parts of the room.

Techopedia Explains In-Rack Cooling

An in-rack cooling system cools down the servers placed within closed rack cabinets. Both the cabinets and the in-rack coolers have been developed specifically to avoid the mixing of warm and cold air, which is the factor that causes loss in almost all server rooms. This cooling system operates at a higher temperature than other types of cooling systems. This results in a better level of free cooling, which is cost-effective as well.

In an in-rack cooling system, the airflow paths are minimal, requiring a lesser amount of fan energy. Furthermore, the exhaust air is trapped at its hottest point, which maximizes the cooling coil’s delta T.

Based on the product, this efficient cooling system utilizes refrigerant or chilled water as the cooling medium. Even though there are exceptions, most products tend not to bring liquid into the server rack. The air conditioner, along with the water connections, is encased in a nearby, but independent, enclosure. The device at the rack level continues to be air cooled. For chilled water supply in addition to best heat rejection, chilled water units require connections to the chillers.

In-rack cooling is versatile, quick to employ and attains high density with additional expenditures.

In-rack cooling offers the following benefits:

  • Agility: Can easily afford any power density
  • System availability: Close coupling results in the removal of hot spots as well as vertical temperature gradients
  • Lifecycle expenditure: Standardized elements and a pre-engineered system minimize or eradicate planning and engineering
  • Serviceability: Standardized elements lessen the need for technical expertise
  • Manageability: Effortless browsing through a menu interface and is good at providing predictive failure analysis

Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

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.