Please do not overcool your data center… want to know why?

Data Center Managers are in a myth that the secret to run their equipment efficiently is by ensuring the facility is as cool as possible and avoid overheating. Well, this myth is being blindly followed by most data center managers, if not many. But in actuality, this practice doesn’t lead to lowering of operational costs, but in practical, can only result in augmentation of cooling costs.

So, what most experienced data center managers feel is that rather than lowering the temperature, the focus must be shifted onto the real culprits behind the hot spots. Here the key must be to maintain the proper operating temperature for the equipment without overcooling and under cooling. It means that the IT head needs to monitor the environment and then take necessary steps to fix the problem.

Some data center related cable and cooling installing contractors adhere to the point that irrespective of the best practices in designing the data center environment, approximately 40% of the data center operational cost will be consumed by cooling equipment work functions like towers and computer room air conditioning (CRAC).

Negative impacts of overcooling data center

Ironically speaking, the percentage of cooling costs will continue to rise, if the IT head has a philosophy of achieving the lowest possible temperatures, by purchasing and using more air-conditioning units or other pieces of cooling equipment than necessary.

Here, the point which has to be notified is that it’s a necessity to have a redundant unit, to keep the structure of disaster recovery intact. But keeping it running 24/7 will be a burdensome cost wise.

The other downside of overcooling the data center will be from the working IT staff’s point of view. Overcooling will automatically create an uncomfortable environment for the IT staff, especially for those who work underneath the floor in raised- floor facilities; where already low-temperatures are a big issue. Thus, over-cooling can affect the overall maintenance work and lead to a disaster.

How to determine whether the data center environment is being overcooled?

They are many ways to determine whether your server farm is being over-cooled. But the most trusted is to calculate how much cooling is actually necessary based on the total heat load.

  • The two key indicators are total square footage and total wattage for the data center. The good rule of thumb is to use 1 square foot=30BTU/hour for an 8-foot ceiling. Then convert the total wattage using 1W=3.14 BTU/hr. By adding both numbers, you can get the accurate total heat load for your data center.
  • By the use of this method, a data center manager can get a baseline figure of the cooling needs. But there are many factors that contribute to an overcooled or under-cooled data center.
  • Therefore, by having temperature reading meters like digital thermometers all around the facility can solve this issue to a major extent. Also ensure that you gather temperature readings on the top and the bottom of cabinets and note the difference for every 48 hours.
  • Generally, hot spots often prompt data center managers turn the temperature down throughout the entire room. Instead, finding the root cause for these hot spots and eliminating them can see a savings of 4% to 15% or even more in your overall cooling costs.
  • The other way to avoid overcooling or under-cooling is to implement regular maintenance programs for your air conditioners and other cooling equipment. Ensuring proper heat exchange, checking the coils & belts and change in filters can also show you some savings.
  • Keeping the data center clean, well maintained, free of debris and off wire-tangles can also save you from extra cooling costs.
  • Regular monitoring of the environment to make sure you are maintaining the proper operating temperature will also help you further. The monitoring must be done atleast for every 12 hours and one must ensure that there are no hot or cold spots in the facility.
  • Server consolidation or downsizing the server count can also give you the best.

If you think some points are missing, feel free to add them in the comments section. The points will be added, along with your name and your profession after moderation.

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