Analytical Instrumentation & Environmental Monitoring


New trends in control of temperature in data centres

August 2015 Analytical Instrumentation & Environmental Monitoring

Getting server room temperature under control is difficult for many data centres, but three new ideas highlight the ways different locations can naturally facilitate data centre heat control. Environmental Monitoring News reports that a major new development is in underground data centres, one of which is being constructed by Iron Mountain in Pennsylvania, according to Smart Data Collective. But there are other trends as well, including the movement of data centres to the Arctic Circle and to open plains where solar collectors can provide much of the energy needed to cool and run the centre. With so many natural means of cooling and supplying energy to centres, it's an exciting time to develop a data centre. 

When deciding on how to control server room temperature, utilising tech cooler air in an underground facility is an attractive proposition. These complexes are also highly resistant to any sort of weather disaster, and have been called 'nuke proof' in certain instances, making them useful for governments who may need data to flow in wartime. Physical security becomes married to data security here, because these complexes make it extremely unlikely that anyone could walk in to a server room and take information without being spotted.

Arctic landscapes and open fields

There are other ways for servers to keep cool without going underground, and one of those ways involves heading to the Arctic Circle. The air of the frozen North naturally keeps servers cool without having to invest much in cooling systems, but also can introduce the problem of latency when transactions between the data centres and users worldwide are common. The Irish Times notes that many Asian technology companies are putting their centres in Nordic countries such as Finland in order to maintain a reasonable distance while still benefiting from the cold. 

Apple's recent idea regarding maintaining cool data centres has been to put them in hot, humid climates like North Carolina, but to then use solar panels to offset the costs and provide free, green energy to power the server room temperature controls. The Guardian reports that much of the incentive behind this move is Apple trying to keep its carbon footprint low, but the combination of solar and geothermal it uses at plants in NC and Arizona makes good fiscal sense as well. As the race for cheaper data storage continues, it is likely that increasingly more innovative approaches will be used to keep costs low. 

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