Ensuring Data Center Water Supply During a Drought
More and more parts of the country are facing drought conditions. How does a data center manager ensure the water supply for his data center? What are the sorts of emergency response/business continuity planning concerns around water that data center managers should have in mind?
First, a data center manager can do the following things to minimize the use of water for a data center:
• Reduce IT energy use, thereby reducing cooling demand, thereby reducing water consumption
• Ensure the humidity control system is optimized and the data center is running at the low end of the ASHRAE recommended guidelines for humidity (5.5 C dew point)
• Optimize cooling tower operations to increase cycles of concentration
• Implement all appropriate best practice airflow management strategies to improve cooling efficiency
• Operate the data center at or near the ASHRAE recommended upper limit for temperature, as this will (depending on the cooling plant) allow warmer chilled water and require less evaporation of water to produce it
For new data centers located in drought stricken regions or where drought could be an issue, the design of the cooling system must take into account where water usage can be minimized. For example, the use of dry coolers instead of a wet cooling tower might be the proper design in a drought stricken area even though energy efficiency might be reduced.
For existing data centers that are located in drought stricken regions and are lacking enough water from local municipalities, it may require drastic action where water might need to be trucked into the data center until the drought lessens.
Answers provided by Brad Brech, IBM representative and Board Member of The Green Grid