Don Beaty has built some of the worlds most efficient data centers. Between 2004 and 2011, Beaty has been resonsible for crafting recommendations on data center cooling for the leading industry group for heating and cooling professionals. Those dual roles have provided Beaty with a unique vantage point on the evolution of new strategies to cool servers implementing cutting-edge techniques for the industrys leading innovator as his day job, while working to develop standards and recommendations that can work for a broad spectrum of data center operators.
Beaty has grown accustomed to managing the heat. This week marks the release of the latest guidelines on data center cooling from ASHRAE
(American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), which reflect the growing momentum for operating servers at higher levels of temperature and humidity. Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments is published by ASHRAEs Technical Committee (TC) 9.9, which was co-founded by Beaty and IBMs Roger Schmidt to provide specialized guidance on data center cooling.
Published on October 5, 2012 by Rich Miller-Data Center Knowledge
Allowable vs. Recommended ASHRAE Guidelines - Design Your Data Center
The majority of data centers have multiple generations of technology, some type of spinning disc, some type of tape storage and maybe even some mainframe systems. These data centers can still be extremely energy efficient, but are not going to see the extremes of the ASHRAE design guidelines. They are the data centers that should probably stay with the ASHRAE recommended guidelines. Below is an example of the recommended versus allowable ASHRAE Guidelines. Please note that the recommended temperature guidelines didnt change in 2011, only the allowable.
2004 20C to 25C - Recommended
2008 18C to 27C - Recommended
2011 5C to 40C - Allowable
2004 40 to 55% - Recommended
2008 35 to 60% - Recommended
2011 20 to 80% - Recommended
One thing we are seeing more and more of today is confusion over what temperature and humidity parameters data centers should be designed for. Most of the discussion seems to assume that there is a monolithic block of data centers that can all be designed the same way. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Most of the data centers in existence today have a mixture of technologies and systems that all have varying environmental requirements. We typically refer to these as mixed use data centers. Unlike an E-Bay, Google, Microsoft or Apple data center, there is not rack after rack of the same equipment, all with similar operating requirements.