According to the Korea Times, Intel and Korean telecom company KT Corp have agreed to jointly develop energy-efficient technology to reduce power consumption in data centres. The technology is based on operating data centres at above 30 degrees Celsius, saving the electricity costs needed to maintain the temperature between the usual 18-22 degree range.
The agreement has been prompted by a rise in electricity costs and growing data centre usage. In particular, a recent heatwave in Korea has meant that using air conditioners to maintain temperatures in overheating data centres has been posing serious problems for a country trying to conserve energy.
If the system works as planned, internal data centre temperatures can be set higher than 22 degrees without any problems. The companies maintain that for every degree that the temperature can be raised air conditioning costs can be reduced by about 7%.
The two companies will operate a high-temperature test centre before adapting the technology at KT's data centre. The plan is to apply the technology in one of KT’s internet data centres by the end of 2013
Review: While most data centres still keep the heat down to 21-22 degrees, there’s already a lot of work going on to increase working temperatures. There are servers certified to work at higher temperatures and building technology organisation ASHRAE has come up with a set of temperature standards for equipment to make it easier for data centre managers to use them. ASHRAE has a classification for servers that can run at temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius.
It’s not clear what the Intel/KT collaboration will bring to the party. Hopefully a more holistic data centre approach - it will be interesting to see what develops. Certainly KT is looking for real solutions and Intel seems like a good partner, given that much of the data centre heat emanates from the processors themselves.
What’s also interesting is that the move is the result of the recent hot weather in Korea. Climate change can be seen as the driver, creating additional costs that need to be addressed.