Preparing Data Centers for Extreme Cold or Extreme Heat
Is it more challenging to prepare a data center for occasional extreme cold or occasional extreme heat? How do you account for both in your climate control plans, and how do you adjust your energy efficiency plans to account for extreme weather?
Extreme cold is usually more challenging due to the transportation issues caused by snow and ice; it can affect delivery of fuel, food, or supplies. You also have to be more concerned about pipes freezing and monitoring of freeze-stats in extreme cold. However, either extreme, hot or cold, can result in a major utility power outage.
Climate control plans are really not a concern, as they operate off of the automation systems and maintain the pre-defined operating set points. But you have to monitor the equipment closer to ensure there are no mechanical or electrical issues that could result in operational risks to the climate control systems for the data center.
As a Certified Data Center Energy Professional, I am a huge proponent of energy efficiency. However during an event such as extreme weather or any other crisis event, energy efficiency is no longer a factor. Data center operators should never put energy efficiency ahead of the safety of the employees or the operation of the data center.
Answers provided by Chris Wade. Wade has been involved in the mission critical facilities industry for more than 25 years. He is currently the Technical Services Program Manager for Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF), based in Dallas, Texas.