Software + Sensors is always going to beat people when it comes to data centre thermal optimisation
May 14, 2018 11:44 am Published by Leave your thoughts

I was recently asked why our cooling optimisation consultants find it necessary to use EkkoSoft Critical, our IoT platform that monitors 100% of the thermally sensitive equipment in a data centre. It’s true that as subject matter experts we are able to build up a mental picture of the dynamic behaviour of any cooling system over time but, from experience, we’re careful not to rely just on mental pictures when it comes to cooling.

Our cooling optimisation team are trained to utilise our EkkoSoft Critical sensor and software platform to support decision making that leads to risk free energy savings. This gives us the real-time data insight that is essential for effective thermal optimisation. However, this doesn’t mean we don’t still take manual readings to support our overall understanding. In fact, we take a great pride in our experimental skills and are constantly confirming and calibrating our IoT data with other manually-derived data sources.

If organisations are serious about achieving new levels of thermal efficiency in their data centres, but are unable to remain focused on this singular aspect of their operation, they absolutely need access to meaningful real-time cooling data that they can use to apply to their space, power, cooling and other airflow dynamics.

With cooling representing around 30% of a data centre’s operating cost, it’s clearly critical for organisations to be focused on thermal optimisation – particularly as cooling issues still account for almost a third of unplanned data outages.

For true cooling optimisation, however, we believe it’s necessary for data centres to start getting much more granular. And that means monitoring and reporting temperature and cooling loads much more actively. In an ideal world, ASHRAE recommends a minimum of three temperature sensors per rack – however, achieving this would probably require around 10x more sensors than are currently deployed in today’s typical data centre.

Realistically, data centres aren’t going to switch to this level of sensing immediately and – until now – traditional sensor costs would have made this financially unviable. What is clear though is that – from a risk management perspective – temperature sensing is now a critical requirement, particularly if you want to be certain that all your essential servers are actually ASHRAE compliant? Are you prepared to take the risk that they’re not?

Measurements alone aren’t enough but having access to real-time, rack-level data provides exactly the data platform needed for the kind of software-enabled real-time decision-making and scenario planning capabilities. This is what organisations increasingly require to optimise their critical facilities.

At EkkoSense we know that it’s only when you combine this level of granular cooling and thermal data with smart software that you can start to track cooling loads in real-time. True thermal optimisation requires a proven, safe process that’s based on thousands of real-time sensors and expert spatial models that combine to remove the uncertainty from data centre cooling.

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This post was written by Dean Boyle

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