The Green Grid has claimed that the current perception of data centre equipment’s tolerance to heat and humidity is based on practices dating back to the 1950s, resulting in large and unnecessary waste of money and carbon.

In its latest report The Green Grid has shown how data centres can run at significantly higher temperatures and humidity levels without affecting overall equipment failure rates.

The report, ‘Data Centre Efficiency & IT Equipment Reliability’, details the latest research on the robustness of modern IT equipment, along with new practices that enable data centre operators to reduce and even eliminate the need for mechanical air conditioning.

“The common perception of IT network, server and storage equipment is that it operates within very tight environmental tolerances, but this is a belief based on data centre practices from the 1950s,” said Harkeeret Singh, who contributed to the report. “These practices are archaic, predicated as they are on maintaining constant and narrowly defined temperature and humidity levels. In practice, modern equipment can tolerate periods of much greater heat and humidity, with no significant effect on failure rates.”

“When these periods are compensated by periods of more favourable environmental conditions, where water- and air-side economisers can be used for cooling, data centres can reduce reliance on mechanical chillers without any detriment to overall failure rates,” continued Singh. “This builds directly on The Green Grid’s recently updated cooling maps, a resource which helps data centre operators and owners take advantage of free cooling from ambient air temperature.”

The new report, which is free to members of The Green Grid, gives users a detailed understanding of allowable IT operating ranges, techniques for better temperature and airflow management in facilities, and implications for data centre design and operations.

“While we are not yet ready to do away completely with mechanical cooling, the industry is making constant progress in minimising the need for air conditioning thanks to economisers, better data centre design, and more efficient operating practices,” said Singh. “The Green Grid’s ‘Data Centre Efficiency & IT Equipment Reliability’ report is an important step towards the goal of eventually eliminating the need for mechanical cooling, while enabling data centre operators to make immediate savings in costs and carbon from their operations today,” he concluded.

The full report is available to download here