What’s a little dust among friends?

I’ve been reading a lot lately on “free” cooling of data centers using external air to reduce power requirements (I’m a great proponent of this by the way). I’ve been reading some strange reasons put forth by people on why NOT to do this.

Today, the reason is that “airborne particulates may cause premature hard drive failure”. In the 25 years that I’ve been involved with the IT industry, I’ve never seen a hard drive failure attributable to external dust, even hard drives that were completely coated with a thick layer. I believe hard drives are far more likely to fail due to heat than dust.

So what components ARE vulnerable to failure from dust? Floppy drives (to a greater extent), CD drives (to a much lesser extent), and the largest culprit of all, cooling fans with unsealed sleeve bearings.

So what is a simple answer to the “dust issue”? Skip the floppy drives, skip the CD drive if possible, and invest in good quality sealed ball bearing fans.

Simple and a heck of a lot cheaper than going back to traditional CRAC cooling!

Vern, SwiftWater Telecom


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