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Thoughts on thermal management for data centers

By Max Burkhalter
December 1, 2014

Consuming the power necessary for data center cooling is one of a facility's largest operating expenses, due to the large amount of heat generated by humming computer servers as they perform their respective functions. In fact, the entire design of the data center has revolved around heat management for years. Advances in the IT industry and new best practices have updated the rules for thermal management in the data center. By following the latest trends in the data center industry, IT professionals can isolate strategies that can help their own data centers to run more smoothly.

Better technology means new standards
The last generation of data centers were far more susceptible to overheating than their predecessors - rule of thumb required data centers to be set at 68 to 70 degrees for over a decade, said Facilities Net. New equipment has been developed with costly-to-heat data center environments in mind, so data centers featuring the latest gear can operate at temperatures over 90 degrees. While these temperatures may be less than comfortable for members of the IT staff, keeping the data center running at higher temperatures will show an immediate impact on the building's energy bill.

Widespread heat waste recycling around the corner
Greater implementation of heat waste recycling has had a major influence on the thermal management conversation. Since the earliest days in the data center, IT experts have focused exclusively on moving hot air out of the data center and into the atmosphere. Now the industry has shifted focus toward recycling this heat and resolving heat waste with a sustainable approach. For instance, Amazon recently erected an office building in Seattle which will be heated by a next-door data center's excess heat, according to InformationWeek. Data center companies in Europe are already working to power local residents with data center heat - the trend could spread in the United States even more quickly if heat waste recycling gains popularity overseas.

New heat controls track energy waste
Data Center Knowledge pointed out that facilities can reduce their energy costs by up to 40 percent by simply upgrading their temperature controls. Heat monitoring devices are more easily networked to hardware and each other thanks to the use of serial to Ethernet solutions, and are programmed to limit interference. New temperature controls also give users more precise information about the biggest sources of energy waste. This information goes a long way when optimizing a data facility.

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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