Green Grid Research Finds Data Centers May Overuse Air Conditioning

While data centers may not be ready to completely do away with mechanical cooling, The Green Grid believes the industry is making constant progress in minimizing the need for air conditioning thanks to economizers, better data center design and more efficient operating practices. The Green Grid, a consortium of stakeholders dedicated to advancing resource efficiency in information technology and data centers, has published its Data Center Efficiency and IT Equipment Reliability report, which details the latest research on the robustness of modern IT equipment, along with new practices that enable data center operators to reduce and eliminate the need for mechanical air conditioning.

The common perception of the IT network, server and storage equipment is that it operates within very tight environmental tolerances, but this is a belief based on data center practices from the 1950s, according to the report. Today, modern equipment can tolerate periods of much greater heat and humidity, with no significant effect on failure rates, says The Green Grid.

In today’s data centers, if periods of high humidity are balanced with periods of more favorable environmental conditions, where water- and air-side economizers can be used for cooling, data centers can reduce reliance on mechanical chillers without any detriment to overall failure rates. This builds directly on The Green Grid’s recently-updated cooling maps, a resource which helps data center operators and owners take advantage of free cooling from ambient air temperature.

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