Why is monitoring temperature in your server cabinet important.
The interior of a server cabinet can oftentimes be a hostile environment for your servers to operate in. Servers, switches, and routers all generate heat, heat which needs to be expelled with cool air being drawn in to ensure that the equipment is operating at an optimal temperature. Heat is the deadly enemy of your servers. Excessive heat will cause shortened lifespan and increased energy costs as the server’s internal fans try to maintain the temperature. It is therefore critical that you monitor your cabinet for hotspots to avoid equipment overheating and to regulate cooling equipment.
A 2013 study by the U.S. General Services Administration recommended a temperature of 72°F – 80°F be used in a data center environment, claiming that a 4-5% saving in energy costs results from every 1° of temperature increase. A further study in 2014 published by ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers) dictated that the highest temperature a data center facility could go is 89.6°F. So there is no hard and fast rule, but it can be safely said that most data centers employ the tactic of overcooling, with no detailed level of monitoring or control over the environment. This results in a very in-efficient data center with high PUE numbers, high energy costs and a large carbon footprint.
As national and global attention continues to turn towards energy efficiency and the impact of technology on the environment, data center providers are trying to find new ways to cut costs and lessen their carbon footprint. In 2013 alone data centers used enough electricity to power New York city two times over, a huge 91 billion kilowatt-hours of energy.
A large IT service company in India had issues with their server rooms getting overheated. They had installed state of the art HVAC systems, heat exhausts, and central cooling elements. Despite this great expense, there were still critical issues that were causing servers to overheat, resulting in servers shutting down automatically and downtime. Downtime in a data center means lost revenue.
An audit of the facilities systems showed that the servers in the corners of the rooms nearby the AC vents were operating with excellent efficiency. As the servers got further away from the cooling vents they were more prone to overheating. The problem became more apparent also during the summer season
This all pointed to problems with the temperature of the air intake at the servers in a certain location not being maintained. A review of the way in which the air was distributed around the data center was done, to improve the flow of cool air to the servers, and temperature monitoring systems were installed on each cabinet to ensure that there were no hotspots, and to be alerted if the situation became critical so pre-emptive action could be taken to prevent a catastrophic shutdown event.
Environmental monitoring systems, such as those provided by AKCP, can prevent the disaster before it happens. They will give you an overall view of your data centers environmental condition, allowing you to detect hotspots and problematic areas. They save you time and money in catastrophic events, avoiding downtime and increasing server life. Temperature sensors placed at strategic locations around the data center will give IT staff real-time monitoring, and in some cases, this data can be used to automatically control cooling systems to ensure you are always running as close as you can to the ASHRAE recommended standards.
AKCP has thermal map sensors that are ideal for placing at the air inlet of a computer cabinet. A 4 in 1 combined sensor it monitors the temperature at the top, middle, and bottom of your cabinet, as well as the humidity of the air coming into your cabinet. Installed at the rear they can also monitor the exhaust air temperature as well. Monitoring of all your cabinets is provided through a single user interface AKCess Pro Server that will map your data center and it’s environmental conditions.