The weather is getting warmer…is your data center?

Being born and raised in the Chicago area, I revel in the fact that we have four distinct seasons each year. However, winters can be long and I do find myself occasionally wishing for an expedited arrival of warmer weather while snow blowing  my driveway for the umpteenth time.

Well it’s here, Spring is in the air in the temperature is expected to flirt with 80 degrees today. Good news for some, but some data center managers are not so excited about an 80 degree day in April.

Years ago, when I was in the telecommunications business, before colocation and data centers were really an option for SMBs, our clients often had what they called “computer rooms.” Most of these “computer rooms” were simply offices or even closets where there were some power outlets, phone lines and if your were lucky some sort of air conditioning. In many cases, the climate control for these spaces were tied into a building wide system that was outside the control of the individual business or department. Many buildings would not turn on the air conditioning until mid-May or it would be turned off after hours to conserve energy. You can imagine the impact this could have on computer systems. I can remember seeing all types of “custom” cooling solutions from box fans to spot coolers deployed every which way in an attempt to keep the heat under control.

Most companies, as they began to rely more and more on technology to support their businesses, have addressed this issue by either retro fitting a space at their own location with a climate control system more suitable for supporting today’s power hungry compute environments or by colocating their mission critical infrastructure in a data center. However, I am continuously surprised and how many companies, of all sizes, still face challenges cooling their IT infrastructure.

I was visiting a friend at his office this week. They have a few cabinets of servers and some network attached storage in their “computer room”. I walked in and was surprised to see one of his IT guys hot footing it down the hallway with an oscillating fan headed for the “computer room.” When is asked what the problem was, I was told that temperature had shot up to over 90 degrees in the in the room after they deployed some new hardware.

Needless to say, that was enough to get me started on the advantages of colocation in a well cooled, hardened facility with redundant infrastructure and guaranteed uptime. His reply was one that I hear almost daily. He said, “I suggested it to my boss and we just can’t afford it”. My reply to that was, “If you are trying to cool your equipment with a $15 desk fan, it seems to me that you can’t afford NOT to look into colocation”.

If you want to sleep well this summer and not have to worry about equipment failure due to excessive heat, give me a call and I’ll be happy to show you how colocating your critical systems with 360TCS will provide you with the peace of mind that comes with knowing your business is protected.

Don Welbourn – dwelbourn@360TCS.com – 312-907-5241

By the way, have you tested your UPS lately? Thunderstorm / Tornado season is also upon us…..

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One Response to “The weather is getting warmer…is your data center?”

  1. Greg Stockton Says:

    Hi Don:

    We are in a campaign to help data centers validate CFD modeling and find, document and repair hot spots in data centers. Your post is right on the money. Every data center we have surveyed are in bad shape, with respect to cooling system efficiency.

    To make things worse, the trend is to raise the set-point temperatures in data centers to save energy and this is going to create problems with availability…
    http://www.datacenterknowledge.com/archives/2008/10/14/google-raise-your-data-center-temperature/

    Here’s our web site… http://www.CompuScanIR.com

    Greg Stockton
    http://www.StocktonInfrared.com

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