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Hotter might be better at energy-intensive data centers

Date:
September 25, 2012
Source:
University of Toronto Scarborough
Summary:
New research examines the issue of temperature management in data centers, and suggests that allowing warmer temperatures than are normally recommended might be justifiable.

As data centres continue to come under scrutiny for the amount of energy they use, researchers at University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) have a suggestion: turn the air conditioning down.

"We see our results as strong evidence that most organizations could run their data centers hotter than they currently are without making significant sacrifices in system reliability," says Bianca Schroeder, a UTSC assistant professor of computer science.

As data centres have proliferated they have required more energy, accounting now for about 1 percent of global electricity usage. A sizeable fraction of that is the cooling necessary to keep the machinery functioning properly.

But in a paper called Temperature Management in Data Centers: Why Some (Might) Like It Hot, Schroeder and her UTSC colleagues found that warmer temperatures than are normally recommended might be able to save energy without negatively impacting equipment reliability and longevity.

Data centres typically operate at temperatures from 20C to 22C. Estimates show that just 1 degree increase in temperature could save 2 to 5 percent of the energy the centres consume. Schroeder says that most data centres could probably increase temperatures much more than that.

To conduct the study, the researchers collected data from data centres run by Google, Los Alamos National Labs, and others. They also directly tested the effect of temperature on equipment performance in their lab. Their data showed that higher temperatures either weren't associated with negative effects on the equipment, or else the negative effects were smaller than predicted.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Toronto Scarborough. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Nosayba El-Sayed, Ioan A. Stefanovici, George Amvrosiadis, Andy A. Hwang, Bianca Schroeder. Temperature management in data centers. SIGMETRICS '12 Proceedings of the 12th ACM SIGMETRICS/PERFORMANCE joint international conference on Measurement and Modeling of Computer Systems, 2012 DOI: 10.1145/2254756.2254778

Cite This Page:

University of Toronto Scarborough. "Hotter might be better at energy-intensive data centers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 September 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120925143759.htm>.
University of Toronto Scarborough. (2012, September 25). Hotter might be better at energy-intensive data centers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120925143759.htm
University of Toronto Scarborough. "Hotter might be better at energy-intensive data centers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120925143759.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

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