In Push to Leverage Fresh-Air Cooling, Dell Sets New Server Temperature Limits
Dell is looking to enable businesses to better leverage outside air to cool their data centers by ensuring that select servers, storage and networking devices will work at a temperatures of up to 113 degrees for a few hours a day.
Dell officials said July 28 that the infrastructure products have been tested and warranted to run for relatively short periods of time at such high temperatures, which will give data center managers the chance to use fresh air to cool their facilities for longer periods of time, rather than having to rely on traditional chillers, which are expensive to run.
The announcement is part of a larger effort by Dell officials to help their customers reduce their rapidly rising data center power and cooling costs. It mirrors similar initiatives by other infrastructure vendors to drive up the power efficiency of their products.
Cooling expenses are becoming a larger overall cost in operating data centers, particularly as more systems and more powerful systems are being packed into tighter spaces. Businesses are looking for alternative ways to cool the facilities.
" One of the changes we ve been seeing is fresh-air deployments," Eric Wilcox, power and cooling product manager at Dell, said in an interview with eWEEK.
Companies increasingly are using outside air for cooling. The challenge is to determine the best way to take advantage of it, particularly in areas of high heat and humidity, Wilcox said. Dell engineers looked at weather patterns in regions around the country, and also conducted a multi-year study to determine at what temperatures their systems could run, and for how long.
Until now, Dell was like other vendors, who warranty their systems up to 95 degrees. For these systems, Dell will warranty a number of its mainstream systems at 104 degrees for up to 900 hours a year, or at 113 degrees for 90 hours a year.
Wilcox said the numbers are deceiving; 90 hours may not seem like many, but few places will ever see 113 degree temperatures. Those that do, he said, will only see them for small periods during the day, and for few days out of the year. And for much of that time, data center managers that normally would run their chillers when temperatures hit 95 can now keep them off for a while even as temperatures rise to 113 degrees, which will save them money.