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Bring the heat: How to keep your data centre up and running this summer

Posted by on August 30, 2018

Heatwave warnings, shorts in the office and pub gardens packed to the rafters. These have all been prominent sightings throughout the UK over the last few weeks, as our usual patchy summer has been replaced by Mediterranean temperatures and cloudless skies.

This period of course brings joy to many – especially those with exotic holidays planned – but when it comes to data centre management, there are plenty of factors to consider during the summer months.

Rising external temperatures can have a significant impact on data centre operations. For example, virtually all data centres today are built with cooling systems to help keep temperatures at the optimum level, but a sudden increase can end up putting a substantial strain on these systems, as well as increasing the associated costs.

It also increases the risk of a data centre outage, as research shows that more data centres go offline between June and August than during any other three-month period throughout the year. What’s more, the outage issue is made even more worrying by the fact that key personnel are likely to be on holiday at some point during the summer, potentially impacting the business’s ability to get everything up and running again.

So, with these factors in mind, what can businesses do to help themselves prepare for a long, hot summer?

Firstly, they should consider embracing the heat. It may go against conventional wisdom, but there’s no reason why data centres can’t run slightly hotter than usual to match the external temperature, thereby enabling businesses to keep their cooling costs under control without impacting performance.

Secondly, they should carry out a review of all systems before the summer hits. A ‘spring clean’ can be a great way to pinpoint exactly where any problems are and identify any inefficient units that are unlikely to survive a summer heatwave.

Finally, operators should consider the use of automation. Not only can automated tools identify any issues significantly quicker than manual tests, they can also help IT teams manage when people go on holiday.

That way, data centre management teams can enjoy their summers, save in the knowledge that they are prepared for whatever heat may come their way.