ASHRAE updates data center thermal guidelines for energy efficiency

ASHRAE has released the third edition of its Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments.

Oct 4th, 2012

Four new data center classes that can enable full-time economizers for a number of facilities applications in varying climates are contained in the latest edition of the principal book in the ASHRAE Datacom Series of publications.

Since its first edition in 2004, ASHRAE’s Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments, published by the organization's Technical Committee (TC) 9.9, Mission Critical Facilities, Technology Spaces and Electronic Equipment, has become the de-facto reference material for unbiased and vendor-neutral information on the design and operational parameters for the entire datacom (i.e. data centers and telecommunications) industry.

Based on the latest information from major IT equipment manufacturers, ASHRAE says the third edition of the guide contains meaningful data to guide data center designers and operations staff to design and run their facilities in the most energy efficient manner possible, including how to operate in a completely “chilllerless” environment. Further, the latest guidance enables a more energy efficient operation without compromising the reliability or “mission” of the data center, says ASHRAE.

“This third edition creates more opportunities to reduce energy and water consumption but it is important to provide this information in a manner that empowers the ultimate decision makers with regards to their overall strategy and approach,” comments Don Beaty, chair of ASHRAE's Publications Subcommittee of TC 9.9. “The idea is to provide objective data, methodology and guidance, but at the same time, respect the right of the data center designers, owners and operators to optimize the operating environment of their data center based on the criteria most important to their business needs.”

Highlights in this third edition of the guide include new air and liquid equipment classes and expanded thermal envelopes for facilities that are willing to explore the tradeoffs associated with the additional energy saving of the cooling system through increased economizer usage and what that means in terms of the impact to IT equipment attributes such as reliability, internal energy, cost, performance, contamination, etc.

“The most valuable update to this edition is the inclusion of IT equipment failure rate estimates based on inlet air temperature,” Beaty adds. “These server failure rates are the result of the major IT original equipment manufacturers (OEM) evaluating field data, such as warranty returns, as well as component reliability data. This data will allow data center operators to weigh the potential reliability consequences of operating in various environmental conditions vs. the cost and energy consequences.”

The cost of Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments, Third Edition, is $54 ($46, ASHRAE members). To order, contact ASHRAE Customer Contact Center at 1-800-527-4723 (United States and Canada) or 404-636-8400 (worldwide), fax 404-321-5478, or visit www.ashrae.org/bookstore.

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