A year ago, the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers recommended that the temperature of air entering servers and other data center equipment should be elevated to 77 degrees Fahrenheit to 80.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The recommendation was based on research led by IBM Fellow Roger Schmidt. He says in an interview that the previous recommendation for inlet conditions into server and storage racks was 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 Fahrenheit, which is what the IT industry felt was the range to support reliable operation for long periods.
"Above about 77 degrees we all start to speed up our [equipment] fans as the temperature gets higher in order to keep the silicon at a pretty level temperature," Schmidt says. "We don't want the chip temperature to be jerked around." Elevation of temperature past the recommended limit results in the acceleration of blowers and fans, which raises power consumption to the point where the entire data center's energy efficiency is reduced.
Schmidt notes that some data centers have adopted the new standard, but he says that data center managers "will probably step it up two degrees at a time. The benefit will be contingent on an analysis for that data center on what happens if you raise the air temperature and thereby raise the chilled water temperature by 'x' amount."
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