This summer, Dell shared details of a series of thermal tests we conducted to validate that our PowerEdge servers could withstand higher temperatures without impacting performance. In our 12th generation of servers, launched in February, fresh air specifications were built into every platform. This means you can choose to raise the temperature in your data center to take advantage of the operational savings, you can gain additional ride-through time in the event your chiller goes down, or you might decide to build your next data center completely chiller-less – all with a variety of server form factors to choose from.
Cooling costs account for a significant portion of the energy consumption of a typical data center. It isn’t unusual for a hyperscale data center to build a chiller-less facility, relying solely on outside air for cooling, but it is fairly typical for these data centers to be built in northern climates to avoid the hot temperatures or high humidity levels found elsewhere. What about the rest of the world? Dell conducted an analysis of climate data from across the United States, Europe, and Asia and found that, for the widespread deployment of highly economized and even chiller-less data centers, IT equipment should be able to withstand short term excursions of up to 45C/113F. However, most commercially available IT equipment is rated at a maximum inlet temperature of only 35C.
Dell’s richly featured PowerEdge 1U, 2U, 4U, tower and blade servers provide greater opportunity to leverage fresh air cooling, without moving your operations to a frigid climate. Dell’s next generation servers are fresh air capable with a peak excursion temperature rating of 45C. And, Dell offers fresh air capable storage, networking, and power products to round out a complete chiller-less data center.
While delivering server and compute platforms for higher temperature operation increases business agility with reduced TCO, it also requires a review of the fabric foundation used to connect the business, and to determine if the same efficiencies can be extracted from networking solutions. Most commonly, network solutions such as switches are co-located with servers and storage in the racks, and a desired chiller-less rack solution can be rendered improbable if a single component is not qualified.
To complement Dell PowerEdge servers, Dell Networking solutions enable power and cooling efficiencies with select Gigabit and 10 Gigabit Ethernet switches, enabling the data center to realize and withstand higher temperatures. Dell PowerConnect switches currently support up to 45C/113F temperatures, and Dell next-generation Force10 switches will continue this trend of extended temperature support to support higher performance, flexible network fabrics for the data center.
Regardless of whether you are considering a chiller-less data center, one that is highly economized, or whether you are looking for data center hardware with additional environmental capability and ride-through time in the event of an HVAC failure, Dell’s servers are ready to meet your needs.