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TileFlow: Data center CFD modeling software

A CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) Modeling Software Tool for Data Centers

  • Airflow and Temperature Distribution in a Raised-Floor Data Center

    Airflow and Temperature Distribution in a Raised-Floor Data Center

TileFlow is a powerful three-dimensional CFD modeling software tool for simulating cooling performance of data centers. It uses the state-of-the-art computational fluid dynamics (CFD) techniques, and is applicable to both raised-floor and non-raised-floor data centers. It allows both steady-state and transient simulations.

TileFlow has been specifically designed to give the user the ultimate ease-of-use and speed in setting up the data center model and examining the results. In addition, TileFlow has an unmatched speed in performing the calculations. We believe--and this has been confirmed by many experts in the field--that no other CFD software product in the HVAC area or even other fields has the ease-of-use and speed of TileFlow. Further, TileFlow presents the simulation results in a variety of colorful and attractive ways, making it an excellent communication tool (in addition to a reliable analysis tool).

TileFlow is being used worldwide by data center managers, equipment manufacturers, architectural and engineering firms, and consulting companies.

Role of Airflow Modeling

Data centers are facilities that house computer servers, data storage systems, and telecommunications equipment. To ensure that these computer systems operate reliably, they must be adequately cooled: The airflow requirement of each server rack must be met, in order to maintain the rack inlet air temperatures within acceptable range.

The airflow distribution and rack inlet temperatures are controlled by complex fluid dynamics processes and depend on a large number of parameters, which often interact in a counter-intuitive manner. These parameters include the layouts of perforated tiles, CRAC units, supply and exhaust ducts, supplemental cooling units, and server racks; the open area of perforated tiles; the heat loads and airflow demands of the racks; and, obstructions under and above the raised floor.

Often data center floor layouts are designed using empirical guidelines based on limited measurements. These guidelines do not consider the complex fluid dynamics processes that control the airflow and temperature distribution. Consequently, the layouts do not produce the expected flow rates and rack inlet temperatures, and must be modified. However, because modifications in one region of the floor influence airflow and temperatures throughout the floor, considerable trial and error is involved in identifying adjustments that will yield the desired changes in the rack inlet temperatures. This design practice is time consuming and expensive, and often the resulting arrangement is not optimum. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modeling or airflow modeling offers a more scientific and comprehensive design approach.

Computational simulation can be used for a quick setup of any proposed layout, any desired placement of CRAC units and perforated tiles, and any imagined failure scenario. The “computational” trial-and-error process is preferable for two reasons. First, performing a simulation is much faster and more economical than building an actual layout. Second, the computed results provide not only the flow rate distribution through perforated tiles and rack inlet temperatures  but also the underlying velocity, pressure, and temperature fields and thus explain the physics behind the results. This understanding is useful in guiding the computational trial-and-error process in the optimum direction.

The TileFlow Approach

TileFlow constructs a computer model of the data center and uses the technique of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to calculate the airflow pattern and pressure/temperature distributions. TileFlow is a reliable, quick, and cost-effective tool for:

  • Designing efficient data centers
  • Evaluating options for positioning new equipment
  • Examining "what if" scenarios
  • Streamlining installation and commissioning
  • Preventing heat related outages of computer equipment
  • Making cost-effective investments in cooling-related hardware

Distinguishing Features

  • First CFD product dedicated to data centers
  • Comprehensive, flexible, and robust
  • Unparalleled ease of use
  • Unmatched solution speed
  • Unlimited technical support
  • Modest computing resources
  • Extensively validated

Hardware Requirements

  • Operating System. TileFlow runs under Microsoft Windows operating system.
  • Graphics Card. A discrete graphics card with 512 MB of memory (1 GB or larger preferred) and OpenGL support.
  • Memory. RAM of 2 GB is adequate for most data centers. For very large data centers, you will need additional RAM and a 64-bit operating system. Please contact us to discuss this further.
  • Processor. The processor speed determines the solution time. The faster the processor, the better.