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With the temperature hitting 38.1C in the UK at the end of July, and records also falling across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France (where Paris recorded a high of 42.6C), climate experts are talking of 40C temperatures becoming the new normal for European summers.
While media attention focused on the impact of high temperatures on the rail network, and problems for both patients and staff in hospitals, these record temperatures have also brought with them a stark warning for the data centre industry.
With the extreme heat building from central France and sweeping up over South-East England, Belgium and the Netherlands, the resulting urban heat island effect prevented many cities from cooling. This proved a critical issue for operators in a number of Europe’s key data centre nodes, impacting London, Paris, Frankfurt and Amsterdam particularly.
What caught many operators by surprise was just how quickly thermal runaway can transform a data centre that was running fine into a site with real problems due to cooling plant failure. Where cooling systems and critically resilience have not been tested in anger, plant failures or reduced output caused by high ambients can quickly lead to high IT temperatures. So it’s easy to see how what was previously thought to be a well-operating site can quickly become well over temperature within hours, if not minutes.
As the UK’s ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 2002, it’s reasonable to assume that the extreme heat issue is going to become a more frequent occurrence. Data centre operators need to prepare for this as part of their risk planning, preparing not only for eventualities such as thermal runaway but also in terms of immediate action plans when a similar even occurs.
Given that cooling issues still account for almost a third of unplanned data centre outages, it’s increasingly important for operations teams to have access to the data required to effectively manage their thermal performance. EkkoSense, with our EkkoSoft Critical software and Critical Things sensor technology is ideally placed to equip organisations with a solution that can monitor, plan and optimise the critical data centre environment.
This kind of visibility is particularly important before, during and after extreme temperature periods, giving teams precise data and real thermal insight so they can highlight unforeseen issues before they occur, track actual performance in real-time when they do and finally truly assess site performance after an event so site can be improved for next time. A simple, ‘we were ok this time’ is not enough. Monitoring cooling performance is clearly essential if you’re going to find out exactly how your rooms perform when the weather gets really hot.
From what we’ve seen over the last couple of weeks there are some clear lessons that organisations can learn. We’ve divided them into two key areas: What you can do to prepare your data centre for extreme heat events, and What immediate steps can you take if you’re facing thermal runaway.
What can you do to prepare your data centre for extreme heat events?
Immediate steps to take when facing thermal runaway
EkkoSense is the leading thermal expert for Data Centres worldwide and we are ready to mobilise our tools and expertise to assist our clients to identify & prevent issues or, if needed, solve them when they occur. To understand more about how tools such as EkkoSoft Critical and its Cooling Advisor service can help you reduce the risks associated with potential thermal failure, contact me James Kirkwood at [email protected] or book a demo of EkkoSoft Critical Cooling Advisor here www.ekkosense.com/demo
EkkoSense solutions are available directly, or through the company’s expanding network of international partners across North and South America, Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
Press Contact: Cheryl Billson, Comma Communications – PR for EkkoSense,
+44 (0)7791 720460