Request more information for TileFlow
Or call us +1 763 231-1200
TileFlow: New Features
A CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) Modeling Software Tool for Data Centers
TileFlow v7.0 includes numerous enhancements that expand the simulation capability, simplify and speed up the model setup, and offer customization options for results.
Transient Simulation Capability
TileFlow v7.0 allows you to perform transient simulations, which predict the evolution of airflow and temperature distribution following fan or cooling failure of the cooling units. An important outcome of a transient simulation is the time variation of rack inlet temperatures, information that determines the time available for restoring power or starting backup cooling units.
A transient simulation requires input about the thermal and flow properties of the cooling units and racks. TileFlow gives you the flexibility of using common values, of which reasonable default values are provided, or specific values for individual objects
The transient event can be triggered by the fan or cooling failure of the cooling units.
The results are stored at a user-specified time interval. They can be displayed at specific time instants or via animations covering a certain time interval. In addition, selected results for cooling units and racks can be presented as time plots. These plots can be added to the report or saved as images.
Real-Time Temperature Monitoring
The temperature-sensor capability can be used to display the discrete sensor temperatures, calculate the three-dimensional temperature distribution based on these temperatures, and present this distribution as temperature maps. This capability expects the sensor temperatures to be specified through a table (in TileFlow) or imported via an Excel file. This step requires user intervention.
Real-time monitoring automates the task of reading the sensor temperatures and the subsequent calculation of the three-dimensional temperature distribution. Thus, its objective is to present, without any user intervention, the temperature distribution based on the sensor temperatures at various time instants.
The details of real-time monitoring are specific to the protocol for communication between the sensors and the control unit. The current implementation is based on the Modbus protocol; for other protocols, contact us.
Spot Cooler Template Database
Spot coolers are used to represent a variety of cooling units, including fan walls and air handlers. Currently, the spot coolers are specific to a model; they cannot be saved for future use. So, if you need the same cooling unit in several models, you either have to copy the corresponding spot cooler from another model, an inconvenient option, or have to configure a spot cooler from scratch, a time-consuming option. TileFlow v7.0 allows you to save spot coolers as templates, which can then be used to add identical or similar spot coolers in the present and future models.
A template contains full information about the spot cooler: dimensions; the sizes, locations, and air flow rates of inlet and outlet vents; and the cooling characteristics. TileFlow v7.0 includes a database of templates for a number of cooling units. The database is editable: you can modify the existing templates and add new ones.
The spot coolers based on the templates are editable. But in most cases, they can be used as such or require only minor changes.
Supply and Return Plenums for Downflow CRAC Units
TileFlow v7.0 allows you to add supply and return plenums on downflow CRAC units. The supply plenum is available when the bottom face is the discharge face and can be open from the front or the rear. It is located below the raised floor if the unit is sitting on the raised floor, and above the raised floor if the unit is on a floor stand.
The return plenum can have one or more of the four vertical faces open.
Vent summary presents the details of all the vents in the model. Depending on the parent object, the vents are grouped in six categories: Under-floor, Above-floor, Hot boxes, Spot coolers, Associated with upflow CRAC units, and Partitions. For each vent, the information presented include the parent object, the coordinates of the reference corner, type of vent (inlet/outlet/opening), and, if relevant, air flow rate, flow direction, and temperature.
Supply-Air Temperature Control
Supply-air temperature control can generally be modeled by specifying the set point temperature as the supply temperature, which is assumed independent of the return temperature. Under certain conditions, the control system may not be able to maintain the supply temperature at the set point, forcing the supply temperature to become higher than the set point and dependent on the return temperature. This comprehensive, more complete supply-air temperature control is now available for CRAC units and spot coolers.
Flow Tilt for CRAC Units
You can now specify flow tilt for openings on the front and rear faces of downflow CRAC units and for the vertical faces of the supply/top plenums of upflow CRAC units.
Writing Maximum Rack Inlet/Outlet Temperatures on Rack Tops
TileFlow allows you to paint rack tops with maximum inlet or outlet temperatures. When these displays are shown in the plan view or xy end view, you can now write the values of the temperatures on the rack tops.
Ability to Fail/Deactivate a Rear-Door Heat Exchanger
TileFlow v7.0 allows you to fail, or deactivate, a rear-door heat exchanger.
Vertical Trim Color-Scale Dialog Box (Markup mode)
TileFlow v7.0 allows you to change the orientation of the trim color-scale dialog box to vertical. The default orientation is horizontal.
Additional Unit for Air Flow Rate (Metric units)
In Metric units, you can now display the air flow rates in m^3/s, in addition to CMH (m^3/h) and liter/s.
Positions of the Billboards
TileFlow now reports the orientations and positions of the billboards. This information is presented in a dialog box and gets updated as billboards are added or removed.
Add to Report Dialog Box
The Page Name dropdown now lists the pages in the report, making it easier to add content to existing pages.
The report now contains a fourth section, Transient, which contains selected results of the transient simulation.
The Scheduler has been modified to perform transient calculations. The files must have steady-state results calculated using TileFlow v7.0.
Improved Place a Vent Utility
When you click the toolbar button Place a Vent or use the command Partitions/Containments > Place a Vent, TileFlow now presents a dialog box outlining the next set of actions, including how to select another face on the highlighted object.
Select Vent Parent
Currently, if a vent covers the entire face of a 3D object or an entire partition, it is difficult to select the parent object; a mouse click selects the vent. The usual workaround is to hide the vent. TileFlow v7.0 removes this difficulty by adding a new command, Select Vent Parent, to the context menu for vents. You can now invoke the Properties dialog box for the parent object. If you want to move the parent object, use the arrow keys or press and hold the space bar and use the mouse. The new command and ways of moving the parent object are especially useful in the plan view or xy end view.
Customize Length Scales for Velocity Arrows
TileFlow now allows you to change the vector scales. By default, TileFlow automatically scales the velocity vectors to represent the largest vector by a reasonable length and minimize the overlap between the arrows, and the results plots are always satisfactory. However, the default scale varies from model to model, making comparison of velocity plots for different simulations difficult. The new version removes this difficulty.
Improved Import of Rack Data from Excel File
The facility for importing rack data from Excel file has been improved and simplified. The data needed has been divided into two groups — essential and optional, and the import will be successful as long as the file contains the essential data. TileFlow will assign reasonable default values for the missing optional data, which can be changed by the user. Further, checks have been added for improperly defined racks.
Locking Under-Floor Obstructions
You can now lock under-floor obstructions. This action will prevent their movement, but other attributes can still be edited.
Improved Numerical Scheme
The accuracy and robustness of the numerical scheme have been substantially improved.
The databases in TileFlow 7.0 have been expanded.
The enhancements in TileFlow 6.0 include a new rendering scheme that uses textures for objects and surfaces that reproduce their appearance in real data centers; plots of pressure in the computer room; improved rack model; improved representation of racks with rear plenum; spot cooler; extended flexibility for vertical partitions; controls for velocity arrows on billboards and under-floor plots; keep current tool active, to place multiple objects of the same kind; a new, simpler way to commit a number in a dialog box; and extended databases.
Realistic Display of Objects
In TileFlow v6.0, the rendering scheme uses textures for objects and surfaces that reproduce their appearance in real data centers. In this New Rendering, realistic textures are used for perforated tiles, solid tiles, and walls. Vents and grilles, solid blocks, CRAC units, and hot boxes are displayed with considerable detail and variety to match what is found in practice.
The largest impact of New Rendering is seen in how racks and servers are represented. Each server has a realistic texture for both front and rear faces. One can see individual servers (of specified U height), blanking panels, and open spaces. The racks are normally shown without the front and rear doors, but there is a display option to activate the doors (complete with hinges and handles). Depending on the flow configuration, the racks have screen doors or glass doors.
The rows of racks (and in-row coolers) are imagined to be lit by ceiling lights.
(Note. The new rendering looks best in the perspective mode.)
Plots of Above-Floor Pressure Distribution
TileFlow v6.0 allows you to display pressure distribution in the computer room on billboards. The pressure billboards have all billboard capabilities (park, traverse, and arrow control). A pressure gage is available to read the local pressure on a billboard.
Improved Rack Model
In TileFlow v6.0, for selected flow configurations, the rack/server flow rate is sensitive to the pressure difference between the inlet and outlet faces of the rack. The actual flow rate is decided by the server fan characteristics and the external pressure difference. The information needed for this calculation is obtained from the nominal airflow rate and the maximum pressure rise for the fan(s). For the specified nominal flow rate, TileFlow proposes the maximum pressure rise. User can override this value.
For these flow configurations, TileFlow calculates the airflow through turned-off racks/sections/servers. The flow rate depends on the internal resistance of the turned-off entity and the external pressure difference. The internal resistance is deduced from the specified values of nominal airflow rate and maximum fan pressure rise.
Improved Representation of Racks with Rear Plenum
Chimney racks usually have a plenum at the rear of the rack. TileFlow v6.0 allows you to specify the depth of the plenum and calculates airflow, temperatures, and pressures in the plenum. The rack/server flow rate responds to the pressure in the plenum.
TileFlow v6.0 introduces spot cooler, a generic cooler. It offers full flexibility for specifying inlet and outlet vents and cooling characteristics. It can be placed at any elevation in the computer room.
Extended Functionality for Vertical Partitions
TileFlow v6.0 allows you to extend vertical partitions below the raised floor. A vertical partition can now be under-floor only, both under and above floor, and above-floor only. You can place vents on both under-floor and above-floor sections of these partitions.
Keep Current Tool Active
In the previous versions, the behavior of the tool to place perforated tiles is different than that of the tools to place other objects (e.g., CRAC units, racks, and obstructions). The tool for perforated tiles remains active after placing a tile, allowing you to place multiple tiles, but other tools revert to the Select tool after you place the object. To place another object of the same type, you have to click the toolbar button again.
In TileFlow v6.0, the ability to place multiple objects at a time has been extended to all tools, including tools to place vents, markers, and markup objects.
Control for Velocity Arrows on Billboards and Under-Floor Plots
TileFlow v6.0 introduces options to customize the display of arrows. It allows you to specify color for arrows, hide arrows, and show only arrows (hide temperatures or pressures). For arrows-only plots, it allows you to choose the background color.
Extended Options for Movie Capture
TileFlow v6.0 allows you to include, menus, toolbars, and mouse pointer in the movies.
Rack Inlet Temperature Maps for Racks in Wireframe Mode
In the previous versions, rack inlet temperature map is shown only if the display mode for the rack is Full. In TileFlow v6.0, the map is shown even when the display mode is Wireframe. Thus, the temperature map can be seen even when the rack is not facing us.
Opaque Above-Floor Billboards and Under-Floor Plots
In the previous versions, the above-floor billboards and under-floor pressure and temperature plots are translucent. In TileFlow v6.0, you can make them opaque.
Additional Selection (Resize) Handles
TileFlow v6.0 introduces new selection (resize) handles on hotboxes, solid blocks, spot coolers, and vents. These handles make it easier to position and resize these objects.
A New, Simpler Way to Commit a Number in Dialog Box
When you enter a number in a dialog box, you must commit the number to finalize the input. In the previous versions, to commit without closing the dialog box, you have to click on some whitespace within the dialog box. In TileFlow v6.0, you can commit a number by simply pressing Enter on the keyboard.
Bidirectional Airflow Panels
The airflow exiting a bidirectional airflow panel splits into two opposite directions. The machinery to handle such panels has been added in TileFlow v6.0. Bidirectional panels from selected manufacturers have been added to the database of perforated tiles.
Capture Multiple Markup Scenes
TileFlow allows you to create Markup scenes, which are layouts, including plots of results, marked up with, for example, text, geometries, and row/column labels. Often, you create screen captures of these scenes, to include them in reports and presentations. In the previous versions, you have capture one scene at a time, by giving the screen capture command. In TileFlow v6.0, a command has been added to generate screen captures for all desired scenes. The associated dialog box lists all scenes and gives you the option to capture either all scenes or selected scenes.
The databases in TileFlow 6.0 have been expanded.
The enhancements in TileFlow 5.7 include tools for creating aisles and containments, a command for automatic placement of columns, capability to represent under-floor vents, downflow CRAC units with front/rear discharge, and tilted partitions, and capability to record movies in the WMV format.
TileFlow 5.7 includes a command to automate the task of creating aisles. A dialog box provides options for the number of rack rows, number of racks per row, rack style, and orientation of the aisles. In addition, there are options for including perforated tiles of a chosen style, cable cutouts, and cold-aisle containments. A single click on the floor places the specified set of aisles, which can be moved and/or copied.
TileFlow 5.7 includes a new “Containment” object. It consists of containment walls, which appropriately intersect racks and other objects, and an optional lid or ceiling. When the containment object is placed around a row of racks, the containment walls automatically fill the space between the racks and the space above the shorter racks (if racks of different heights are used). There are options for assigning leakage area to the containment walls and the racks belonging to the containment. A containment can be placed with one click and then resized and moved.
Automatic Placement of Columns
A new command has been added for placing columns. A dialog box is provided for specifying the column size and distances between columns in the x and y directions.
TileFlow 5.7 includes the capability to place inlet and outlet vents on the under-floor side walls and on the subfloor.
Downflow CRAC Units with Front/Rear Discharge
Many conventional downflow CRAC units can now be configured for front/rear discharge (instead of the bottom discharge). This capability has been added in TileFlow 5.7.
Side Slots for Racks
If the server width is smaller than the rack width, racks can permit air leakage through the side slots. In TileFlow 5.7, a provision has been made to define these slots and to account for their effect on the flow pattern and temperature distribution.
In TileFlow 5.7, the Horizontal-Partition object has been enhanced so as to provide a tilt in the x or y direction.
Movies in WMV Format
In TileFlow 5.7, the movies can be recorded in the WMV format (and the old AVI files can also be converted into this format). The WMV movie files are smaller. Further, by default, the Windows operating system includes the codec for WMV files, so the WMV movie files can be played on any Windows-based computer.
Reversible Export/Import via Excel Files
TileFlow 5.7 allows you to export the current rack data in a TileFlow model to an Excel file, to modify that file to change the heat loads or other parameters, and to import the modified file into TileFlow to create a modified model.
The databases in TileFlow 5.7 have been expanded.
The enhancements in TileFlow 5.5 include the ability to customize the display options for individual objects, create queue of layouts for calculation of results, and specify and display measured/sensor temperatures. This version also has a module for calculation of three-dimensional temperature distribution in the computer room using sensor temperatures. This module is an add-on and is available for a fee.
Individual-Object-Based Display Options
You can now specify the display options for individual objects or for objects in a selection. This specification is done through the context menu. The context menu for a selection lists the display options for all object types in the selection.
A scheduler has been added. The scheduler allows you to create a queue of TileFlow layouts (tasks) and specify a start time for processing these tasks. For these scheduled runs, TileFlow does not require any user interaction.
In TileFlow 5.5, the perspective view has been added for the 3D view of the data center. Thus, you now have choice of the orthographic (parallel) view or the perspective view.
High-Resolution Screen Capture
The screen capture facility now gives you the option of specifying the number of pixels along the width of the captured image. If you are capturing maximized plan view or maximized 3D XY end view, it even allows you to specify the number of pixels per floor tile.
Text on Rack Tops
You can now display text on the tops of the racks. The available options for the text are the Rack Heat Load, the Rack Name, and a Display Name. The text can be displayed on all racks or only on selected racks. Further the type of text can change from rack to rack.
Enhancements in Styles for Downflow CRAC Units
Normally the inlet opening covers the entire top face of the CRAC unit. However, in some models, the inlet opening covers only part of the top face. Further, some models install a filter plenum over the inlet opening. In TileFlow 5.5, the style for downflow CRAC unit now allows both these features.
The databases in TileFlow 5.5 have been expanded.
Display of VFD Pressure Sensors
TileFlow 5.5 allows you to display the pressure sensors in your TileFlow layout. If under-floor results are available, the sensors are color-coded with pressure. An Inspect tool has also been added. When placed over a pressure sensor, it reports the position of the sensor and the pressure at that location (if results are available).
Colors for Walls, Subfloor, Ceiling, and Drop Ceiling
You can now customize the colors for the vertical walls (both above- and under-floor), subfloor, ceiling, and drop ceiling.
Toggle Buttons for Restore Default Orientation and 3D End Views
For the 3D geometry, TileFlow offers 4 standard views: default orientation and XZ, YZ, and XY end views. In TileFlow 5.5, the toolbar buttons (and the corresponding pulldown menu commands) for these standard views have been changed to toggle buttons. Thus, it is now possible to recover the previous or last view that was present before you switched to one of these standard views.
Specification of Temperatures at Sensor/Measurement Locations
TileFlow 5.5 allows you to enter the positions of the measurement/sensor locations and the measured temperatures. Alternatively, you can import this data from an Excel file. After the temperature values have been calculated, TileFlow automatically extracts the calculated temperatures at these locations. You can display the sensor positions within your TileFlow layout and use the Sensor Thermometer tool to see the measured and calculated temperatures and the differences between the two.\
Special Add-on: Calculation of Temperature Distribution Based on Sensor Temperatures
Temperature sensors are becoming popular to monitor the thermal environment in data centers and to make thermal-management decisions. TileFlow 5.5 includes the complete machinery to construct and display the temperature distribution from sensor temperatures.
This capability to calculate and to display the temperature distribution from the sensor temperatures is available as an add-on, for a fee.
TileFlow 5.2 contains features and capabilities that greatly expand the applicability of TileFlow and significantly reduce the time and effort required to construct layouts.
- Layout drawing import
- General Excel import for racks and servers
- Variable-frequency drives for CRAC units
- Annotation capability vis text on markers
- Search facility for databases
- Expanded databases