Schneider cool on raising data centre temperatures

Schneider Electric's Kevin Brown: says raising data centre temperatures can cause problems
Brown: Raising data centre temperatures can cause problems

Raising temperatures in data centres may be a hot topic but it is not necessarily a good idea, according to Schneider Electric’s global data centre lead Kevin Brown. He also believes industry may be putting too much faith in metrics such as PUE.

Speaking at DCD Europe, Brown outlined a new white paper that attempts to debunk the “industry rhetoric that you are a cretin if you don’t raise the temperature of your data centre”.

That view emerged following Ashrae guidelines published in 2011.

Cool head

Schneider’s white paper models the impact of reducing chiller energy upon dry cooler energy, server energy and computer room air handling unit requirements.

Blending in whether data for different regions, the paper finds that total energy in many cases will increase at higher fixed temperatures, although in some cases will improve at floating temperatures. While in most scenarios cooling PUE improves, total costs also increase, demonstrating that PUE is a “metric with limitations,” according to Brown.

“Are we saying don’t raise temperatures? No. But we are saying think about IT. Understand IT kit as a function of temperature,” said Brown.

PUE obsession?

In general, Brown said there would “continue to be an energy challenge for data centres” In light of that, he is “not convinced that what we have been focused on are the right things to take us into the future.”

“We have been focused on things like PUE. It is a very useful metric but… it has limitations in the context of overall energy consumption of a data centre. We have to be very careful about how we use it. It is a good metric, we need it, but we have to be careful about how we use it.”

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