How warm does your company keep its data center? According to tech giant Intel, most companies are wasting a lot of money on data center cooling by keeping temperatures unnecessarily low.
Common data center cooling practice is to keep temperatures around 70 degrees Farenheit, or even lower. However, Intel is telling its customers they can turn up the heat significantly without damaging their servers, Bloomberg reports.
Experts say data centers are kept as cool as they are simply because that’s what’s comfortable for humans, even though servers can handle more heat.
The key, says Intel, is using new technology that provides a better picture of what’s getting too warm so companies can avoid “hot spots” that damage equipment.
To prove its point, Intel began running one of its data centers in New Mexico at 92 degrees — a move the company says has cut power costs by about 67%.
Smaller temperature increases can have a big impact on the IT energy budget, too. Intel estimates that if all companies warmed their data centers by nine degrees, it would save a total of $2.16 billion a year. The energy saved on cooling would be equivalent to the power used by entire countries such as Spain and South Africa in a month.
Intel isn’t the first tech company to argue that data center temperatures are being kept unnecessarily low. In a 2010 presentation, Google’s “green energy czar,” Bill Weihl, said his company was keeping its server rooms at 80 degrees.
More recently, Facebook announced a new data center in North Carolina would be kept at 85 degrees.
If your company’s considering raising the temperature in the data center to boost the bottom line, here are some tips experts say IT should keep in mind:
- Check hardware – It’s important to make sure hardware vendors certify that their components will operate at the higher temperatures. In some cases, keeping things too hot may void warranties.
- Think about the humans, too – Even if hardware can work at temperatures above 90 degrees, that doesn’t mean IT staff will be comfortable doing so. Take that into account when deciding where to set the thermostat.