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Take care to avoid overcooling your data center

By Max Burkhalter
September 10, 2014

Efficient, effective server cooling is a vital to the big data industry. In fact, a press release from MarketsandMarkets reported that experts expect spending on data center cooling to skyrocket up to $8.07 billion by 2018. Ironically, many of these investments will turn counterproductive. Smart cooling strategies are available, and companies that take a more holistic approach to managing their servers will be able to significantly cut their temperature control costs.

How servers get too cool
A large percentage of a data center's cooling costs are spent on towers and fans. However, relying on any one cooling strategy is an inefficient method of maintaining a data center. A one-note cooling can also create serious resiliency vulnerabilities in a data center. The loss of a single fan could cripple the efficiency of the entire operation. Redundancy isn't an option when the entire cooling method is dedicated to 24/7 temperature management.

Data centers fall into the trap of overcooling when the facility's entire temperature control strategy revolves around purchasing additional equipment. This method is effective at keeping facilities at the lowest possible temperature, but does so without integrating more cost-effective strategies into the solution. Overcooling will also keep the facility at unbearable temperatures, and this uncomfortable work environment will eventually impact the performance of staff.

Strategies to correct cooling
Thankfully, there are several strategies that can be used to eliminate overcooling. IT teams can quickly improve the cooling efficiency of their facility by identifying hot spots, notes Processor. Hot spots are localized sources of extra heat that increase the temperature of the entire center. Addressing these hot spots directly reduces demand on fans and improves resiliency by freeing up equipment to serve as redundancy fail safes.

Data Center Knowledge recommends that IT teams invest in temperature and humidity sensors to install in the facility. These devices will provide real-time data on temperature changes across the data center, which IT teams can use to better organize the facility's infrastructure. Sensors can be quickly integrated into the system with the help of serial-to-Ethernet solutions. Simple fixes like a change in rack arrangement can improve airflow, create distance from hot spots and help reduce the base temperature of the facility. IT teams can then adjust cooling fans accordingly and put an end to overcooling.

Perle's serial to Ethernet converters connect serial based equipment across an Ethernet network. The Perle IOLAN range of Console Servers, Device Servers and Terminal Servers feature built-in support for IPv6 along with a broad range of authentication methods and encryption technologies.


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