Updated 5/26/2017 - Original Post 08/26/2016
When President Harry S. Truman coined the phrase, “If you don’t like the heat, get out of the kitchen,” in 1942, he was referring to critics of his aggressive use of war contracts in the Second World War. Good advice for politics, perhaps, but not so much for data center management. In fact, when heat becomes an issue in your data center, it’s time to do something about it.
Each kW hour of server power creates and equivalent amount of heat. Over time, this heat can accumulate, impacting server performance. You canmonitor this within the cabinet, zone, and location levels. While servers have been adapted to withstand higher temperatures, computing power is rising, and this is generating more heat. Add on top of this the growth of virtualized servers leading to fewer idling computers, and you have an endless cycle of heat generation.
The fact is that many power and cooling systems can’t efficiently meet the demands of today’s data center. The perimeter-based CRAC units of yesterday were sufficient when rack densities hovered at the 2-4 kW per rack range, but this doesn’t really work in a modern data center.
The two main problems that currently exist are: