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Power The Internet

The Risks and Rewards of Warmer Data Centers 170

1sockchuck writes "The risks and rewards of raising the temperature in the data center were debated last week in several new studies based on real-world testing in Silicon Valley facilities. The verdict: companies can indeed save big money on power costs by running warmer. Cisco Systems expects to save $2 million a year by raising the temperature in its San Jose research labs. But nudge the thermostat too high, and the energy savings can evaporate in a flurry of server fan activity. The new studies added some practical guidance on a trend that has become a hot topic as companies focus on rising power bills in the data center."
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The Risks and Rewards of Warmer Data Centers

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  • by orsty3001 ( 1377575 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:34AM (#29834473)
    If rubbing frozen dirt in my crotch is wrong, I don't want to be right.
  • by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @09:57AM (#29834655) Homepage Journal

    Careful with that, there are numerous patents to that effect. You wouldn't want to be suggesting IP theft, now, would you?

  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:18AM (#29834827) Journal

    Sadly, in an effort to save money, we hired some developers with little to no experience, and zero credentials. Turns out the program they wrote to control the thermostat eats up so many compute cycles that it visibly raises temperature of whatever machine its running on. So we ran it in the server room, because thats where temperature is most important. However by the time it would adjust the temperature the room would raise 1 Degree. Then it would have to redo its analysis and adjustments.

    Long story short, the building burned down and I'm now unemployed.

  • Re:UNITS? (Score:3, Funny)

    by friedo ( 112163 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @10:35AM (#29835013) Homepage

    Fahrenheit backwards? That shit was metric before the Metric System even existed.

    To wit:

    0F is about as cold as it gets, and 100F is about as hot as it gets.

    See? Metric.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:01AM (#29835329)

    True, but try to run a swine of the law and see what happens.

  • by WhatAmIDoingHere ( 742870 ) <> on Thursday October 22, 2009 @11:45AM (#29835993) Homepage
    "You loose your energy savings.."

    So all you have to do is tighten those savings and you'll be fine.
  • by speculatrix ( 678524 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:18PM (#29836391)
    when Iceland was going bankrupt: Google should buy the whole place....Icelandic women are really hot

    Ah, that's why you never see Icelandic women working in data centres, they overload the air-con!!!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:25PM (#29836493)

    Don't you have a power down temp and procedure?

    Funny story about a time I was in a similar situation.

    With shutdown at 90F, our procedure, made up on the fly when we hit 85F and started getting nervous, was to open the doors the machine room, and carry large cardboard sheets in and out of the room in a circle, walking through it and circulating the air like bees do at the front of a hive on a hot day.

    It got the room down to 80F in the hour it took for the big-ass blower fans to get there, and the fans kept it stable in the high 70s for the rest of the day. Zero downtime.

    The HVAC was fine; the root cause was that building maintenance shut off the water to the AC units without notice to us, the tenant. Yeah, we chewed them out royally the next day, but the first priority was to keep the machines running.

    So in a roundabout way, we had a procedure. It was just pretty absurd. On the other hand, we didn't care how dorky we looked; it worked!

  • by JustinRLynn ( 831164 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:43PM (#29836755)
    Wow, I never thought I'd observe a thermal cascade reaction outside of a chemistry lab or a nuclear power plant. Thanks slashdot!
  • by infinite9 ( 319274 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @12:46PM (#29836811)

    About a year ago, I worked on a project in a backwards location that was unfortunately within driving distance of the major city where I live. The rate was good though so I took the job. These people were dumb for a lot of reasons. (it takes a lot for me to call my customers dumb) But the one that really made me laugh was the server rack strategically placed in the server room so that the server room door would smack into it whenever someone came in the room.

  • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @01:06PM (#29837107)
    "Wouldn't it be fun to be a head engineer at one of the bigger companies and be able to test it out :)"
    Oh really?

    Let's see your proposal, your test criteria, your plan.
    Let's see your budget... cut it in half
    Now for risk analysis, what if you're right and the servers all fail sooner than expected (i.e. sooner than budgeted)?
    Spend 3 weeks filling out red tape
    Spend 2 weeks waiting.

    OK, you can run your study. Set up two racks in a closet and take measurements every day for a year.

    Now write up the review.

    Alright, thanks for your study, but our lawyers have advised us that it wasn't peer reviewed and published in a respected compsci journal and therefore we can't do anything with it, or the insurance wouldn't cover us and we'd be liable for deaths resulting from servers or something.

    File in circular file or far back of filing cabinet never to be seen again until you're clearing out your office because they had to let you go because server replacement costs were too high to keep you on the payroll.
  • by lgw ( 121541 ) on Thursday October 22, 2009 @02:34PM (#29838401) Journal

    I always figured the best approach was a combined server room/aquarium. But that assumes you can train some fish to do your server maintenance. I hear the octopus is quite smart, and could easily move around inside of cases. I wonder though, will this provoke cries of "fight octopus outsourcing now!" from the Slashdot crowd?

The absent ones are always at fault.