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Higher data center temperatures have network, console management implications

By Donna Donnawitz
July 30, 2012
ASHRAE recently released guidance indicating that servers and other data center equipment can be run at higher temperatures than initially believed. In an interview with TechTarget, industry expert Fred Homewood explained data center operators are embracing this movement, keeping some equipment hotter to cut costs.

The theory of raising data center operating temperatures has been around for a while, with some major companies in the sector experimenting with the idea over the course of the past few years. The prevailing thought is that servers and other hardware has become so inexpensive that it is now less expensive to replace failed equipment than to keep an operational system cool.

Homewood told TechTarget that the perception that keeping servers hotter delivers a return on investment has proven true. As a result, many data center operators have begun identifying equipment that can safely operate at a higher temperature and are partitioning their facilities to keep some sectors cool while allowing others to heat up.

"[Running data centers at a higher temperature is] certainly an interesting concept and really does improve efficiency in the data center," Homewood told the news source. "Certainly we're seeing a lot of interest from our customers in this. We have some who are selectively partitioning their data center buildings so they can run higher-grade equipment, or equipment that can run hotter, separately from equipment they've determined won't run at those same temperatures. That's certainly given them a large savings."

Homewood told TechTarget that most data centers are currently partitioned through hot and cold aisles or similar solutions in which certain parts of a facility are kept cool while others run hot. Few data center operators are actually putting in extra walls and other physical barriers to separate hot and cold parts of the data center.

As more organizations implement policies to run servers at higher temperatures, the risk of equipment failure, fires and similar problems increases. Because of this, data center managers need to have networking systems in place with monitoring devices to carefully track operating temperatures and notify managers if unsafe temperatures are approached. In many cases, combining this network-based solution with console management systems can deliver the best results, as console server infrastructure enables remote data center management, allowing engineers to control temperatures from any location with an internet connection.

Perle’s wide range of 1 to 48 port Perle Console Servers provide data center managers and network administrators with secure remote management of any device with a serial console port. Plus, they are the only truly fault tolerant Console Servers on the market with the advanced security functionality needed to easily perform secure remote data center management and out-of-band management of IT assets from anywhere in the world.


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