Don't Let Power Requirements Overheat Your Data Center
Written By Rick Grundy - AVTECH Software, Inc.
As most data center managers are well aware, temperature issues caused by air conditioning failures are the most common cause of unplanned downtime and equipment damage in today's data centers. AVTECH's Room Alert products are used around the world to provide early warnings of temperature and other environment issues including humidity, flood, smoke, motion, air flow, and perhaps most importantly, power.
What many do not realize is that virtually all of the power used by computer equipment is converted into heat, which can dramatically increase the temperature of the surrounding data center environment. As computer equipment continues to become more dense with technologies such as blade servers gaining prominence, more power is packed into a smaller area. This can significantly increase the temperature of the environment and severely tax HVAC equipment that was simply not designed to handle the load. The result is the eventual failure of the air conditioning system, resulting in hardware failures and unplanned downtime with staggering costs in lost business and productivity having a dramatic affect on businesses large and small.
How Much Does Power Really Affect The Temperature?
The amount of power (Watts) used by equipment has a direct affect on the amount of heat generated, often expressed as BTU/hr. Every 1 Watt used by computer equipment results in 3.413 BTU/hr in heat load. Using a conservative estimate of 350W used per typical server, the heat generated is as follows:
350W x 3.413BTU/hr = 1194.55 BTU/hr
If a 42U rack was fully-loaded with servers using an average of 350W each, this would result in 50,171.10 BTU/hr being produced from that single rack. A commercial grade kitchen oven typically has a 40,000 BTU/hr burner. If your data center has only 10 of these racks, imagine the load on your HVAC system if the 10 racks were replaced with 10 ovens running at full power with the doors open! With this example, you can easily see how monitoring and managing the power load in the data center can have a dramatic impact on your ability to keep the temperature within acceptable levels.
How Can The Power Used By Our Computer Equipment Be Monitored?
AVTECH's Digital Power Sensor is designed specifically for monitoring the power used by equipment and can trigger alarm notifications when configured thresholds are exceeded. It can monitor the real-time Amperage (A), Voltage (V) & Watts (W) and calculated Apparent Power (VA). Possible uses include monitoring for 'brown-out' or 'black-out' voltage conditions and high current draw from a single circuit. In addition, the Digital Power Sensor can be used to determine the Power (W) being used by equipment to accurately calculate the heat generated. This allows proactive monitoring of the heat generated to be sure the HVAC system is properly configured to handle the heat load as new equipment is added to the environment. This step can be critical to ensuring the long term reliability of the HVAC system in your data center.
Contact AVTECH today to ask how you can proactively monitor the environment in your data center... Don't wait until it's too late!