Report: Most data centers are too cold

Even though ASHRAE recommends that data centers maintain 80 F temperatures, 100% of respondents cooled their facilities to 74 F or less.

September 16, 2009 |

A recent study (PDF) by server and computing giants shows that data centers are wasting energy-and money-by over-cooling their servers, according to a story in The Register.

Representatives from Intel, IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Liebert Precision Cooling, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab conducted the study, along with a recent Liebert survey of members of the Data Center Users Group (DCUG), that showed that 100% of respondents was cooling data centers significantly below ASHRAE's recommended 80.6 F.

Last year, ASHRAE raised its 2004 high-end recommendation for inflow temperature from 77 F to 80.6 F. Of the 98 respondents to the DCUG survey, however, none had a computer-room air handling inflow temperature higher than 74 F, and the majority chilled their air to 70 F or below.

Chilling the air, of course, requires a significant power outlay, but getting the servers to communicate their cooling needs to computer-room air conditioning (CRAC) units is difficult because the equipment works on different protocols. Additionally, CRAC-unit vendors aren't motivated to step up and say that overly cool data centers are wasting power and money, since they profit from selling more powerful cooling systems.

Read the full story.

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