Controlling climate in the data centre when disaster strikes
Thu 2 Mar 2017 | Carl Webb
Carl Webb, Director of HVAC at Andrews Sykes, explains the benefits of having a dependable climate back-up plan to safeguard your assets in a crisis…
For the majority of companies, it is important to know that key information is stored appropriately and securely. Very few, however, give much thought to the infrastructure behind essential hardware that facilitates this – at least until after disaster has struck.
Constant technological advancements have led to a frankly staggering international-wide reliance on servers and computer facilities. And this is only expected to continue soaring. By 2020, the amount of space and energy consumed by data centres on this continent alone could increase by as much as a fifth.
This, in turn, means that as the global demand for online information exchange surges so too does the need for suitable cooling equipment. Failure to make adjustments to your climate control arrangements when capacities change could have devastating ramifications for both you and your clients.
The implications of a faulty air conditioning or chiller system are unsurprisingly varied yet easily avoided
The implications of a faulty air conditioning or chiller system are unsurprisingly varied yet easily avoided when commensurate steps are taken. One of the most common causes of breakdown is overheating, which has the potential to seriously affect a company in the short term and impact business continuity.
In these situations, it is vital that you have a trustworthy back-up on standby which can react instantly should an emergency strike. Flourishing organisations will have a set protocol to follow when their everyday operations come under threat, and this will ultimately help avoid revenue streams being harmed, hampering disruption and lost output.
However, temporary cooling solutions are not just required when a data centre malfunctions. It is very common that such applications undergo an annual shutdown period – with these generally planned months in advance. Service engineers are normally given a 48-hour timeframe over a weekend to complete necessary work, which must be done without taking servers offline.
The deployment of a tailored chiller hire package will protect temperamental electronics on site, by eliminating any serious risk of the equipment overheating. Once repairs and precautionary checks have been carried out, provisional cooling apparatus can be scaled down or removed completely – depending on the size of the area.
Of course, circumstances sometimes dictate that a more reactive solution is needed for instances when things don’t go according to plan. A large data centre has the capacity to consume as much electricity as a small town, underlining the constant possibility that hardware might get too warm.
Failure to act quickly and take preventative measures will almost certainly lead to a scenario where productivity is reduced
Should this occur, it is critical that a practical cooling system is sourced and commissioned before downtime can harm your customers’ day-to-day operations. A recent survey concluded that technologically-induced interruptions cost small businesses around £45,000 per year, and upwards of £1 million for large corporations.
Failure to act quickly and take preventative measures will almost certainly lead to a scenario where productivity is reduced – one of the many ways in which you could be affected. As well as a diminished output, companies are also faced with counting the cost of general disruption (typically the highest figure), detection of a problem, the subsequent recovery, equipment hire and any third party assistance.
It is therefore of great importance that data centre operators have a trustworthy climate back-up plan to guarantee immediate intervention, should internal temperatures exceed the norm and lead to disaster.