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DMG: Keeping the World’s Data Flowing


Implementing CFD analysis in-house for mission-critical facilities.

Optimizing data center cooling strategies for low energy, reduced cost, and sustainability criteria.


Brought simulation services in-house.

DMG reports a 35% saving on labor costs per project, significantly reducing both time and financial expenditure compared to outsourcing.

ASHRAE code-compliant data center cooling.

side-view of data center CAD model showing movement of air

Design Management Group (DMG) is a pioneer in the architectural engineering industry, specializing in the design and optimization of buildings, particularly data centers. As the demands on data centers increase, particularly in terms of cooling and power efficiency, DMG has leveraged cutting-edge tools like SimScale to meet these challenges effectively. This case study explores how DMG uses SimScale to enhance its service offerings, focusing on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to optimize the design and functionality of data centers.

Company Overview

DMG provides a broad range of engineering services with a focus on the data center market. The company integrates sophisticated engineering simulation from the pre-construction and planning stages to create efficient, reliable, and scalable infrastructure. A key aspect of their service involves the utilization of CFD to analyze and optimize air cooling systems and power distribution in data centers and other mission-critical buildings and services.

DMG utilizes CFD within SimScale to assess and enhance cooling efficiency. By analyzing airflow and heat transfer in data centers, DMG can:

  • Predict and control the mass flow rate through the cooling and ventilation systems.
  • Use velocity vectors from CFD studies to develop effective air containment strategies, ensuring optimal heat dissipation.
  • Identify heat stress and hot spots within the data center.
  • Ensure the correct placement of air terminals and containments for optimal mixing efficacy.
velocity streamlines from a CFD simulation of airflow through a ceiling diffuser in a room
Velocity streamlines from a CFD simulation of airflow through a ceiling diffuser in a room.

In the past, we have frequently outsourced computational fluid dynamics tasks to specialized companies. Due to cost constraints and project budgets, only a select few clients were willing to pay for the additional service. These clients were vastly associated with mission-critical facilities such as data centers and other environmentally controlled spaces. DMG made the decision to not only incorporate SimScale (CFD) into our in-house design workflow, but strive to make the service accessible for clients operating non-critical facilities, and fellow engineering firms alike.

Katie Bahnck

Design Engineer at DMG

Application of SimScale in DMG’s Workflow

Recently DMG undertook multiple high-density projects, most currently involving a 10,000-square-foot data center space. The primary challenge was to optimize the layout and cooling efficiency across a varied density of server racks’ layout. The simulation process involved:

  • Modeling of physical layout: Using CAD data imported via .stp or .stl files from Autodesk Fusion into SimScale, the team designed server rack layouts, calculating power usage effectiveness per rack.
  • CFD analysis: The team conducted detailed CFD simulations to map underfloor velocity and temperature profiles ranging from 23 to 124 degrees Fahrenheit. This analysis helped optimize hot aisle containment and adjust the cooling strategy as required.
  • Heat dissipation and cooling strategy: SimScale enabled DMG to accurately model heat surfaces and airflow, ensuring adequate cooling by adjusting the placement and sizing of ventilation and air conditioning systems.
velocity of simulated airflow inside data center
Velocity (m/s) of simulated airflow inside the data center.
side-view of the data center CAD model showing the movement of air (colored by temperature ℉)
Side-view of the data center CAD model showing the movement of air (colored by temperature ℉). 

Benefits of Using SimScale

  • The SimScale platform enabled a simplified geometry import: easy importation of complex geometries from Fusion ensures seamless integration into the simulation environment.
  • Intuitive workflow and interface: SimScale offers a user-friendly interface with intuitive navigation, which simplifies the simulation process and enhances productivity.
  • Insightful output metrics: The tool provides critical data on spatial temperatures, pressures, and airflow — crucial for refining ventilation and cooling strategies.
  • Cost and time efficiency: By moving simulations in-house using SimScale, DMG reports a 35% saving on labor costs per project, significantly reducing both time and financial expenditure compared to outsourcing.

After much research, we have settled on utilizing SimScale software for in-house simulation services. SimScale is the only software developer to offer a totally web-based CFD solution with highly skilled technical staff on hand for real-time quality control and support.

Ryan J. Wanko

PE CEM LEED AP, Mechanical Engineer at DMG

What Is Next?

DMG plans to expand its use of simulation to include external site analysis to prevent re-entrainment of exhaust flows and to further explore direct-to-chip and water-cooling designs. These next steps aim to push the boundaries of current data center cooling technologies, driving further efficiencies and innovations.

Design Management Group’s integration of SimScale into their engineering process has enhanced their approach to designing data centers. By leveraging detailed simulations from the planning phase, DMG not only optimizes building design but also ensures operational efficiency and sustainability. As DMG continues to explore new technologies and strategies, its commitment to innovation is significant given the changes that need constant adaptation to, including COVID-19, energy, and code compliance such as K12 for healthy indoor spaces in schools.

Being able to utilize a web-based software package significantly reduces computation time and increases productivity. This aspect, along with leveraging cloud services in lieu of on-premises infrastructure, results in cost savings that we pass to our clients

Ryan J Wanko

PE CEM LEED AP, Mechanical Engineer at DMG

Set up your own cloud-native simulation via the web in minutes by creating an account on the SimScale platform. No installation, special hardware, or credit card is required.