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Green Grid tells data centres to run servers hotter

Date: 29th November 2012

The Green Grid – which promotes IT efficiency – has urged data centres to operate their servers at higher temperatures and greater humidity, to save energy. Data centres are still operating on old-fashioned principles that waste energy by cooling servers and equipment down to temperatures far inside their operating limits, when IT kit is now resilient enough to run at higher temperatures and humidities, says the Green Grid, in a new report, Data Centre Efficiency & IT Equipment Reliability.

“The common perception of IT network, server and storage equipment is that it operates within very tight environmental tolerances, but this is a belief based on data centre practices from the 1950s,” said one of the report’s authors, Harkeeret Singh. “These practices are archaic, predicated as they are on maintaining constant and narrowly-defined temperature and humidity levels. In practice, modern equipment can tolerate periods of much greater heat and humidity, with no significant effect on failure rates.”

Keysource says: There are so many industry papers and comments regarding the opportunity to lift in-let temperatures, but these need to be treated with caution. Too many operators could go off and make big mistakes unless the steps are properly controlled with the appropriate air management. It is not simply about raising temperatures wholesale across all IT equipment, but identifying where adjustments can be made within the recommended ranges to achieve the greatest savings. However, any changes need to be based on the precise requirements of an individual data centre and where making such a change has an impact on the energy consumption of the cooling system. Increasing inlet temperatures can increase the power drawn by server fans and if this is not offset by a decrease in total power mainly from cooling, whilst the PUE can improve, the total power can increase.


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