Hotter might be better at energy-intensive data centers

Sep 25, 2012

New research examines the issue of temperature management in data centers, and suggests that allowing warmer temperatures than are normally recommended might be justifiable.

As data centres continue to come under scrutiny for the amount of energy they use, researchers at University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) have a suggestion: turn the air conditioning down.

"We see our results as strong evidence that most organizations could run their data centers hotter than they currently are without making significant sacrifices in system reliability," says Bianca Schroeder, a UTSC assistant professor of .

As data centres have proliferated they have required more energy, accounting now for about 1 percent of global . A sizeable fraction of that is the cooling necessary to keep the machinery functioning properly.

But in a paper called Temperature Management in Data Centers: Why Some (Might) Like It Hot, Schroeder and her UTSC colleagues found that warmer temperatures than are normally recommended might be able to save energy without negatively impacting equipment reliability and .

Data centres typically operate at temperatures from 20C to 22C. Estimates show that just 1 degree increase in temperature could save 2 to 5 percent of the energy the centres consume. Schroeder says that most data centres could probably increase temperatures much more than that.

To conduct the study, the researchers collected data from data centres run by , Los Alamos National Labs, and others. They also directly tested the effect of on equipment performance in their lab. Their data showed that higher temperatures either weren't associated with negative effects on the equipment, or else the negative effects were smaller than predicted.

Explore further: Dubai plans to build 3-D printed office building

More information: The paper can be found here dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2254778. It was presented at the ACM Sigmetrics conference in London in June.

Related Stories

Servers perform well in cooler temperatures

Sep 22, 2010

Lots of energy can be saved by using outside air directly for cooling in data centers in the north. In a study by researchers of Helsinki Institute for Information Technology HIIT and the University of Helsinki, ...

Recommended for you

New capability takes sensor fabrication to a new level

7 hours ago

Operators must continually monitor conditions in power plants to assure they are operating safely and efficiently. Researchers on the Sensors and Controls Team at DOE's National Energy Technology Laboratory ...

Smart phones spot tired drivers

8 hours ago

An electronic accelerometer of the kind found in most smart phones that let the device determine its orientation and respond to movement, could also be used to save lives on our roads, according to research ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.