Operating Higher Temperature Data Centers

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The traditional rule of thumb was always that colder data centers (between 68°F and 70°F) were important to prevent problems with servers overheating. At one time, that made sense. But with current IT hardware, there’s no need to keep data centers that cold.

Keeping data centers that cold means wasting energy. That’s a significant problem. As the U.S. Department of Energy points out, about 2.2 percent of U.S. energy consumption is related to data centers. For individual companies, raising data center temperatures is a great opportunity to reduce energy costs.

Experts now say that recommended data center temperatures can range from 64.4°F to 80.6°F and can apply to older, legacy equipment if the increased temperatures are implemented slowly, carefully, and incrementally. Watch to see at which temperature increment pushes the data center out of tolerance. In older data centers, particularly, keep an eye on areas that get hotter than others, as they can get out of range far more quickly.

Also bear in mind that your location can dictate the highest temperature at which the data center can safely function. Extremely hot climates will have a lower threshold for operating centers at higher temperatures.

The wider band of temperatures also offers new opportunities to use free cooling.

To help minimize risk of higher operating temperatures, experts suggest having a backup system to exhaust high temperature air from the space. Another option is to use thermal energy storage with tanks of cold water that pump cold water through the system quickly if a facility switches to emergency power.

Click here to learn more about why warmer data centers are safe.

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  • Bjorn Gruenwald

    10 years ago

    Nice article.

  • I’d love to see this methodology adopted on a wider scale. As it is, in the UK there is still a fair amount of resistance to temperate increases in data centres from their managers, even with environmental & power data readily available. The European Code of Conduct for Data Centres seems to be going some way to allay those fears, and the resistance and worry around increasing the temperatures incrementally seems to be decreasing, but data centres are certainly late-joiners to the efficiency bandwagon.

    • Thanks, Phil. There is resistance in the U.S. as well. IT departments see risk, but no benefit to themselves when they aren’t paying the electric bill. Education is still required.

  • thanks

    i need this

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