Operators use temperature monitoring to allay energy efficiency concerns
Monday, Nov 18th 2013

Data center operators are beginning to take a more holistic view of facility processes to determine how to increase energy efficiency. Power use and environmental conditions are crucial to maximizing server uptime and ensuring that no unplanned outages occur. Because reliable service is important to retaining customers and promoting a successful data center, management must invest in the best tools that will help provide consistent temperatures and optimal performance.

In the past few years, energy efficiency has become a nationally observed initiative in the IT sector, with the implementation of more industry-wide regulations that target power conservation. According to a recent survey of the Data Center Users' Group conducted by Emerson Network Power, availability and energy efficiency remained top concerns for most data center operators in the fall of 2013. Although 53 percent of respondents believed that their data center's capacity will only last for three more years at the most, the average power density per rack rose from 5.9 kW in the spring to 6.3 kW. Within the next year, a majority of organizations plan to invest in monitoring software and purchase more racks and cabinets. Although data room cooling is another important factor, only 43 percent are preparing to upgrade their systems.

"As the complexity and criticality of the data center continues to increase, data center professionals are increasingly turning to monitoring and data center infrastructure management (DCIM) tools to provide the greater visibility they need to plan for growth and support changes to the data center without compromising availability, and while ensuring customers' needs and corporate goals are met," Emerson Network Power vice president of global sales Bob Miller said.

Managing facility conditions
Temperature monitoring can be a significant boost to stabilizing the data center environment and ensuring that the servers are kept in optimal conditions. According to ComputerWeekly contributor Clive Longbottom, while it can be easy to record the overall temperatures, finding abnormally warm hotspots is more crucial as they could spark fires and damage equipment. By using environmental monitoring solutions, operators can better identify any potentially problematic variations and rectify them quickly. Similarly, humidity sensors help prevent water from accumulating and causing additional failures in the server room.

"Environmental monitoring is more important in managing a [data center] facility today than ever before," Longbottom wrote. "Ensuring that temperature, fire, moisture and airflows are all covered is critical. Pulling all of these together in a coordinated and sensible manner will require an overall software and hardware solution built around a data center infrastructure management package."