The dog days of summer are upon us. This season reminds us of the critical importance of data center air conditioning systems. Though intense summer heat puts server rack cooling systems to the test, protecting against rising cabinet temperatures is no longer a problem restricted to the summer. As the power densities in server racks increases, the need to carefully monitor and control temperature and humidity has become an even more important year-round concern.

Until recently most data cabinets drew 5 KW or less. Now, as cabinets are packed with more powerful processors and more compact servers, the electrical load per cabinet is increasing. It is not unusual for the power per cabinet to be twice as much as it was only a few years ago. The trend for the near term future is for power consumption per cabinet to grow by several multiples more.

More Power In Equals More Heat Out

More electrical power input produces increased heat output. Since elevated temperatures can damage critical IT systems and cause outages, it is more important than ever to manage the temperature in data centers. Relative Humidity levels can also impact service so they too must be regulated.

Colocation data centers like CAPS are experts at managing heat and humidity while powering clients’ IT systems economically. Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) systems direct cooled air to the front of servers and remove heated air from the back of these systems. Cabinets are set up for Hot Aisle and Cold Aisle Containment to maximize efficiency. CRAC systems also control humidity in the data center.

Electricity is needed to run IT systems but also to power the environmental systems that control both temperature and humidity. The additional electrical power demand of today’s high performance server cabinets generates a need for more power to run the air conditioning systems to manage higher heat.

What Should Temperature and Humidity Be?

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers recommends the following ranges for temperature and humidity in Data Centers-

Temperature                64° F to 81° F

Relative Humidity         20% to 80%

Sustained elevated temperatures can lead to component failures and outages. Low Relative Humidity can increase the likelihood of Electrostatic Discharges which can damage equipment. High Relative Humidity can lead to hydroscopic dust contamination that can cause current leakage or shorts. High humidity also leads to condensation that can cause corrosion and equipment failures.

CAPS drives itself to the highest performance standards to protect the critical IT systems placed in our data center by colocation clients. CAPS continuously monitors the temperature and humidity in its data center and adjusts its systems as required to maintain temperatures between 69° F and 72° F and Relative Humidity between 40% and 50%.

Colocation Provides the Best Environment

As servers become more powerful and generate more heat, the case is even more compelling for colocation. Many corporate data centers do not have the sophisticated environmental systems and knowledge required to protect today’s high performance servers. Colocation data center professionals have the expertise and tools needed to cost-effectively regulate temperature and humidity to protect clients’ valuable investment in Information Technology.