Aisle Arrangement: What is Aisle Pitch?

In any data center, aisle arrangement is an important necessity to assist with data center cooling and air flow. “There are many factors that go into the design of data center space,” says Data Center professional, Vincent Fava. “Aisle pitch is one of the most important things to consider.” Aisle pitch is defined as the measurement of row-to-row spacing between the center of adjacent cold aisles. It is best practice for the front of each rack to face each other on cold aisles with racks facing back to back on the hot aisles. Aisle pitch is important because the density of racks on the floor ties directly into density of power and thermal management of space.

The most common set up in data centers is the 7-tile pitch rule, which is 14 feet in overall width, assuming the data center using 2 x 2 foot (0.61 x 0.61 m) tiles Each cold aisle width should be 2 tiles which is equal to 4 feet and each hot aisle should be 3 feet wide. It’s important the front facing edge of the rack matches the edge of the floor panels facing the front of the opposite rack with 1 mm of front clearance, and .6 mm rear clearance. A standard 42-inch-deep rack will cover 1 and a half tiles.

7-Tile Pitch

While the 7 -tile pitch rule is the most used, other things must be taken into consideration. For example, a higher capacity data center might use a 6-foot cold aisle, and a telecommunication might use a much narrower pitch.  The method used is dependent on customer and facility requirements. A data center engineer should determine if things like Power Usage Effectiveness or how “green” the data center is should drive the design of the facility. Probably one of the biggest factors is if the data center is starting in a predefined space or building from the ground up. A data center in an already existing building must consider the floor space it currently has available, wherein if they are starting from scratch, they can have more flexibility and build to their needs.

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