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Hardware IT

Managing Servers In the Frigid Cold 122

1sockchuck writes "Some data centers are kept as chilly as meat lockers. But IT operations in colder regions face challenges in managing conditions — hence Facebook's to use environmentally controlled trucks to make deliveries to its new data center in Sweden, which is located on the edge of the Arctic Circle. The problem is the temperature change in transporting gear. 'A rapid rate of change (in temperature) can create condensation on the electronics, and that's no good,' said Facebook's Frank Frankovsky."
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Managing Servers In the Frigid Cold

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  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @03:55PM (#40898421)

    Living slightly to the east, yet just as cold in winter, the strategy is to leave the gear sealed in the box while you prep the racks and wiring and gather tools. Its really not that complicated.
    You don't have to wait until the gear reaches room temperature, merely gets above the interior air dew point, which I assure you is very low in the winter.

  • by gl4ss ( 559668 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @04:09PM (#40898575) Homepage Journal

    well, it's not particularly interesting article I'm afraid, the interesting part is that they mix incoming fresh air with already circulated heated air instead of having isolated heat exchanger arrangement, other than that it seems like a fairly traditional datacenter - no ssd devices dipped in epoxy sitting outside in ice or crazy stuff like that.

    "woot heated trucks".. well duh, not everything likes to be frozen. ever had partially frozen milk on school lunch? it sucks and we walked to school. both ways. or bicycled(on ice). or used kicksleds(if there wasn't sand on the route).

  • by mooingyak ( 720677 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @05:15PM (#40899263)

    The odd thing was that it was -40C

    Random tidbit: at -40, you can just say -40. Kelvin doesn't go negative, and -40F == -40C. Unless you're using some other scale, but that should cover most of the cases.

  • by Pf0tzenpfritz ( 1402005 ) on Monday August 06, 2012 @06:57PM (#40900093) Journal
    That's not the point. Every time you move something from a cold place in to a warmer one (higher humidity in the air implicit, since higher temperature means higher point of saturation) condensation occurs, as the air near the cold item cools down and "drops" dew on the cold surface. If the latter is intransparent, like server rails, backplanes or transformator cores/coils the condensed water will collect there. Basically, condensation always occurs where temperature difference exist and it always happens at the coldest surface in the room. (Hence all the trouble with moisture and poorly insulated walls in colder regions.) Now a truckload of servers is basically one large thermal buffer. Move it from arctic cold -supposed the machinery had time to adapt to outside temperatures- to room temperature and you will find a lot of water condensing. We're talking about tons of material -with a lot of surface- that will take hours to warm up.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"