EkkoSense recently polled 128 UK data centres and found that 78% of them were running hotter than recommended by ASHRAE thermal guidelines. This has implications not only for the reliability of the data centre, allowing the kit to run hotter than recommended, but also for power consumption which has costs for both client businesses and the environment. It’s a worrying statistics and if you use colocation services from a data centre, it’s worth finding out about their energy consumption and cooling processes.
The first reason to do this is to protect your kit; overheating can cost your business twofold. First of all, it may cause expensive failures which may require new equipment, and secondly it could lead to data loss. Both of these are expensive occurrences but more significantly, the problem is avoidable. Data centres should have proper cooling procedures which are energy efficient to ensure that all the servers running in the aisles do not overheat.
It may not occur to you to ask about energy efficiency when you’re looking at a data centre, but it’s an important question. Not only will you be paying more for a service that uses energy inefficiently but you’re also increasing the carbon footprint of your own organisation. This might have an impact if you’re bidding for public contracts or work with major organisations that take your green credentials into account when assessing your bid.
So how do you keep your servers from overheating without overspending on energy costs from air conditioning? Ask your data centre for more detail on their policies and procedures, rather than just an assurance that the facility has air conditioning for proper cooling. The use of procedures and infrastructure such as hot and cool aisles, for example, mean that the equipment can be cooled using less energy. If you can, go and see the facility for yourself and ensure that they are taking all the necessary measures to ensure energy isn’t being wasted and that your kit will be kept cool.