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It’s gettin’ hot in here

Image: Adobe Stock / Connect world

But unfortunately, unlike the 00’s hit, electrical equipment can’t take off all its clothes. In this article, industry experts give their advice on how data centres and the precious hardware within them can hope to remain cool as temperatures continue to rise.

2019 has seen temperatures soar across Europe and set new records for extreme heat. In the UK, temperatures peaked at 38.7C as the country’s warmest ever day was officially recorded, whereas in central Europe, cities such as Paris and Madrid have experienced extreme temperatures of over 40C this summer.

This won’t come as a surprise as temperatures continue to rise across the globe, but what challenges does this pose for data centre operators who already face a battle to keep heat down across their sites?

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers recommends that server temperatures be between 18 and 27 degrees Celsius. With temperatures on the outside rising, the battle to keep data centres cool has never been more challenging.

“With warmer temperatures continuing to set new records everywhere, there’s probably more than a few data centre operators who are anxious about how equipment designed to keep facilities cool might handle increasingly warmer environments,” Leaseweb UK managing director Eltjo Hofstee commented. One way he believes operators can keep temperatures down is by maintaining current equipment and investing in new technology.

“Data centres house hardware, including servers and UPSs, that rely on temperature-controlled environments to maintain functionality. This is why it’s crucial to ensure that cooling equipment is well maintained outside of summer to keep systems functioning during the warmer months.

“Purchasing new equipment for example can actually reduce overhead costs because the vast majority of older equipment is not energy efficient and likely costs more to run than replace.

“As customers become increasingly aware of the cost and availability of power, data centres have some of the most advanced tools of any sector for improving energy efficiency – so why not use them?”

Analysing current infrastructure and determining its sustainability is another avenue that providers should be considering, according to Hyve Managed Hosting’s operations and compliance director, Graham Marcroft.

“As the climate changes and becomes both more extreme and unpredictable, there has never been a better time for businesses to analyse their IT infrastructure and determine if it is able to perform come rain or shine. “

The 451 Group’s Uptime Institute recently published a report on the impact of natural disasters on data centres, which found that 71% of respondents weren’t preparing for severe weather events at all, and 45% are ignoring the risk of climate change disruptions.

Businesses need to be thinking about how this will impact the entire organisation, Marcroft continued, “Data centre outages caused by environmental factors such as the rising heat have an impact that can be felt across the entire business, so it is important that businesses work with providers to ensure there is no risk of weather affecting their efficiency.

“To combat against this, providers should be ensuring they utilise advanced data centre infrastructure designs that reduce power loss through techniques such as improved cooling and power conditioning.”

Recent research has revealed the 10 warmest years on record in the UK have all occurred since 2002. It’s a solid indicator that the temperatures we are currently facing are set to become the new norm as the effects of climate change are realised. If they haven’t already, data centre operators need to understand the impact and work to mitigate against it.




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