Dell has announced a range of servers, storage and network equipment designed to run at higher than normal temperatures for short periods. The Dell Fresh Air cooling solutions are capable of operation in temperatures up to 113 degrees Fahrenheit/45 degrees Celsius.
New data centres increasingly make use of outside air for cooling, making either less use of chillers or not using them at all. But usually the maximum temperature that equipment can run at is 95 F (35 C), which limits the places and times they can do without chillers. Dell will provide warranties for the new range of equipment to run at up to 900 hours of 104 F (40 C) operation per year and up to 90 hours at 113 F (45 C).
With equipment able to run at higher temperatures for short periods the back-up chillers can be run less often, or not at all, improving energy consumption. It means that data centre operators can save over $100K per year per megawatt of IT in their data centres, according to the company.
It’s good news. It’s often said that servers can run hotter than they usually are, but data centre operators are reluctant to push their luck. Having a warranty behind the hotter running will give them some reassurance.
More importantly, it could make the difference between installing chillers in a new data centre or not. If there’s a risk of exceeding normal temperature limits for a few days, then the Dell equipment could be the answer (although the limitation would be the highest operating temperature of whatever other equipment is also installed in the data centre).
Having said that, with climate change on the way the flexibility that this level of hotter running provides may not be enough in 10 years’ time. Hopefully by then Green IT pressures will have resulted in equipment guaranteed to run at higher temperatures permanently.