Tonight I’ve been reading Sydney Data Center Weather Dust Storm. In this post I’m going to consider how to minimize the impact of this sort of event on what I consider the be the best green data center cooling technique, free air cooling.
Free air cooling takes advantage of naturally cool outside air to cool the data center servers while using an absolute minimum of power. The challenge is to isolate this type of cooling from severe outside weather such as a major dust storm.
The simplest way to prevent the issue of large amounts of dust infiltration is not to build the data center in locations vulnerable to that kind of event. Also, surrounding the data center with greenspace will greatly cut down airborne dust, as well as cooling the outside environment and making free air cooling more efficient.
Intake filters are the next thought for preventing dust penetration. Simple to implement, filters may also be prone to clogging in a sand storm such as the one in Sidney. Another option is to use electrostatic precipitators. These work by electrically charging particles in the air, which allows them to be captured and removed. I classify precipitators as a green option because they are extremely efficient in their use of power.
The final option I see that could be used is for the data center to maintain a low enough internal temperature to allow minimizing intake air and recirculating some internal air. If this is balanced appropriately, this will allow the data center to wait out a storm of this sort without overheating.
With these options, there’s no need to give up green to keep the dirt on the outside where it belongs!
Vern, SwiftWater Telecom