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The Importance of Blanking Panels in Data Centers

Since data centers are becoming increasingly complex and are expected to perform heavy data functions in a limited space, the need for effective cooling solutions is greater than ever. What this means for the data centers is that they will have to keep implementing simple yet effective solutions to keep both overheating and overspending in check. One solution that the data centers have banked on for a while now and will continue to do so are blanking panels. 


What exactly is a blanking panel?

A blanking panel can be simply described as a filler panel that is placed upon a single or multiple unused rack units. These are also known by the name of filler panels as they perform the function of a filler of empty space. These act as a vent and a barrier between multiple units, discouraging cold and hot air from mixing, avoiding the risk of damage to the active components stored within or around the rack. 

When both hot and cool air is kept separate, it makes managing the cooling cycles of the data centers much easier. Also, by simply preventing hot air from reentering the system and recirculating, the cooling costs can be brought down considerably. Not only do they regulate the airflow but the blank paneling also lends a more complete and organized finish to the entire setup. 

How did the need for blanking panels arise?

Data centers have completely transformed in the last two decades; whether it be the size of data or the equipment being used. Today, blanking panels are a must in every data center but it was not always the case. Only a couple of decades back, data center owners didn’t even factor in the cost of cooling the servers, let alone do something about the mixing of hot and cold air. Only when the idea of using rows for server cooling via airflow was introduced and then quickly adopted did blanking panels come into the picture. Their simplicity and effectiveness quickly made them a staple in data centers across the globe. 

What are the features of a good blanking panel?

While blanking panels do not offer as much variety as many of the other hardware components that you will find in a data center, their simplicity is what has made them so popular. However, there are a few things that you still might need to consider when buying blanking panels for your data center.

The first thing to consider is the material of the panels that you will be using. You can choose between plastic or metal blanking panels. If you go for plastic panels, you will find them to be less durable than metal panels but their overall benefits outweigh the cons; these include cost-effectivity, ease of installation, airflow assistance and reasonable control. 

Metal panels, on the other hand, do provide longevity but are more expensive and harder to install. These also allow for temperature control and airflow management. Therefore, if you are looking for a long-term, static solution, then you should go for metal blanking panels. 

Other differences in the blanking panels can be found in the way in which they are installed; screw-in panels vs simple snap-fit panels that do not require any tools. You can also choose panels with temperature strips that allow for better monitoring. Lastly, you can choose between black or white coloured panels, simply for the aesthetics. 

These are some of the important points about blanking panels that every data center owner or designer must know. Albeit simple, these panels help save millions of dollars every year! Contact us for more information on the blanking panel solutions Hardy Racks can offer for your data center or server room.

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