Data center: how to protect them from heat
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Extreme heat is taking a toll on data center operations and infrastructure, from outages and outages in UK data centers to reduced output at power plants in France, to concerns over usage of water in drought-affected areas around the world.
In order to keep systems cool and help ensure data center availability, Vertiv experts have released a series of immediate recommendations.
“Customers are increasingly aware of the challenges that extreme heat brings. Our service teams have proven invaluable in providing the guidance and support needed to not only manage the immediate impact, but to discuss with customers how they can plan ahead to build future resilience,” explains Karsten Winther. , president of Vertiv in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
Data centers and heat waves
Here are the recommendations for data center operators to withstand global heat waves:
- Depending on data room load, keep as many units running as possible to reduce the load on each cooling unit. Typically, an organization would run all redundant units, but if the IT load is not 100%, then enough units would need to be run to get as close to the cooling unit as possible. This keeps refrigerant pressures lower so there is no risk of high pressure spikes in high ambient temperatures. It also provides a more efficient operating point.
- Schedule a regular maintenance plan. Vertiv recommends that its customers schedule preventative maintenance on a quarterly basis. For compressor-based (DX) units, Vertiv recommends quarterly or more frequent cleaning of the condenser coils. Failure to properly and regularly clean the condenser coil can cause a greater reduction in the overall capacity of the refrigeration unit than the ambient temperature itself. In addition, proper refrigerant charge level maintenance helps design capacity and operating efficiency to run smoothly. Too low or too high a refrigerant charge can cause operational inefficiencies.
Regular maintenance of the data center cooling system among short-term recommendations
- As the planet continues to warm and the climate crisis intensifies, extreme heat events will become even more frequent. Short-term actions will have to be accompanied by longer-term systemic changes in the industry.
Here are other good practices for long-term action and advice from the company’s experts:
- Consider different types of cooling systems, including immersion cooling, waterless cooling, and evaporative freecooling systems designed for reliability and efficiency in high-temperature environments.
- If solar cells are relied upon as a power source, account must be taken of the reduction in solar cell efficiency as ambient temperature increases.
- Instead of relying solely on historical data to determine data center capacity—data that doesn’t account for today’s extreme temperatures—use predictive modeling.
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