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The 100 Degree Data Center 472

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the so-take-off-all-your-clothes dept.
miller60 writes "Are you ready for the 100-degree data center? Rackable Systems has introduced a new enclosure that it says can run high-density racks safely in environments as hot as 104 degrees (40 degrees C), offering customers the option of saving energy in their data center. Most data centers operate in a range between 68 and 74 degrees. Raising the thermostat can lower the power bill, allowing data centers to use less power for cooling. But higher temperatures can be less forgiving in the event of a cooling failure, and not likely to be welcomed by employees working in the data center."
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The 100 Degree Data Center

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 19, 2009 @09:19AM (#27255339)

    Its better

  • by Em Emalb (452530) <ememalb AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 19, 2009 @09:25AM (#27255411) Homepage Journal

    I realize it's the trendy thing these days to target the data center as an area of concern monetarily, but this is a little ridiculous.

    All it will take is one poor geek spending a 12 hour day in the data center for this to be deemed a horrible idea. (Like that never happens)

    Seriously, this is retarded. If you do your cooling and power CORRECTLY, you won't have a ridiculous bill and your data center will be at a more reasonable temperature.

    I hate really hot can always put on more clothes, but you reach a limit on what you can take off.

  • by turgid (580780) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @09:30AM (#27255475) Journal

    Buildings provide hot water for washing hands etc. Cold water comes in from outside and is heated using electricity or gas to make hot water which costs money and energy.

    Pipe the cold water (which is usually somewhere between 0 and 20 degrees C) through heat exchangers in the hot data centre before heating it up to working temperature with gas or electricity.

    That way, you reduce the data centre's temperature to more like 20-25C, and you heat the water up by 10C (say) saving on gas or electricity bills since there is less of a temperature difference to get it up to the required temperature.

    I eagerly await my Nobel Prize for Common Sense.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @09:32AM (#27255509)

    The proper question is "Are our coworkers ready to deal with how we'll smell like after spending time in that server room?" It'll smell like a monkey house, but probably with less feces. Unless we're working with that superstar bastard programmer a few articles back who poo'd in the lobby.

  • by psergiu (67614) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @09:39AM (#27255629)
    Fahrenheit is stupid.
    Celsius on the other hand is much easier to remember:
    0 - Water freezes
    10 - Cool
    20 - Nice
    30 - Hot
    40 - Scorching hot
    50 - Burn sensation
    100 - Water boils

    And is not an american-only site as it's domain name ends in .org and not in .us
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @09:41AM (#27255667)

    Fahrenheit just makes more sense to most of us. 30s = cold, 40s = chilly, 50s = cool, 60s = decent/might need a windbreaker, 70s = nice, 80s = warm, 90s = hot, etc, etc. Celsius is no where near that intuitive and was as arbitrarily defined as Fahrenheit was.

    Its not intuitive, its just what you're used to

  • by Blkdeath (530393) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @09:45AM (#27255763) Homepage

    Fahrenheit just makes more sense to most of us. 30s = cold, 40s = chilly, 50s = cool, 60s = decent/might need a windbreaker, 70s = nice, 80s = warm, 90s = hot, etc, etc. Celsius is no where near that intuitive and was as arbitrarily defined as Fahrenheit was.

    Celsius, however, does not rely solely on memorization to "make sense". It's based on certain scientific principals that remain as yet unwavering. 0C is the freezing point of water, 100C is the boiling point of water. It's quite simple to deduce the relative levels of comfort in between; when you know that it's 0C outside the precipitation that's falling isn't going to be rain but instead the frozen variety. When it's 40C outside you know it's pretty damn warm, and when it pushes the 50s and 60s you start to get to holding temperature of food. Anybody who's ever made skin-on contact with a warming oven knows that this is neither pleasant nor comfortable for humans.

    Had America been using a system of letters for the past two and a half centuries that would also "make sense" to you because you would have memorized the notion that C = cold, D = chilly, E = cool, F = decent/might need a windbreaker, G = nice, H = warm, I = hot, etc, etc.

  • by Mr2cents (323101) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @09:53AM (#27255887)

    When is this Fahrenheit unit going to die? Last time I checked, only a couple of developing countries were using it (Birma, USA).

  • by LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @09:58AM (#27255947) Homepage

    The zero of Fahrenheit -- the freezing point of saturated brine -- is no less sensible than the Celcius zero of the freezing point of water. Fahrenheit is also more precise with fewer digits in the ranges most people deal with day to day.

    Yeah, because I'm always having to deal with saturated brine. I can't tell you how many times I've gone out driving in sub-zero temperatures and nearly skidded on all that saturated brine ice.

    Fahrenheit is also more precise with fewer digits in the ranges most people deal with day to day

    What? Nobody needs to be more accurate than 1C for day-to-day casual usage. For anything else there's this neat thing called a fraction that people can use.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:00AM (#27256011)

    Agreed, using brine to define the scale is just as sensible as using water. Why, just the other day I walked past a brine lake and it was frozen. "Wow," I thought, "exactly 0F!" And then when I was at home boiling some brine, which I do every day, I was like "Wow! My brine is boiling! That must means it has reached exactly 100F!" (*)

    The Fahrenheit scale is awesome.

    (*) What do you mean it doesn't work that way?

  • by Klaus_1250 (987230) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:03AM (#27256049)

    Celsius is no where near that intuitive and was as arbitrarily defined as Fahrenheit was.

    ~0 degrees Celcius = Melting point of ice; 100 degrees Celcius = Boiling point of water (all at standard atmospheric pressure)

    0 degrees Fahrenheit = Stabilized temperature of a mixture of ice, water, and ammonium chloride; 32 degrees Fahrenheit = Melting point of ice; ~ 96 degrees Fahrenheit = Body temperature.

    Celcius seems pretty intuitive to me, though originally it was reversed (100 degrees was the freezing point and 0 was the boiling point). Fahrenheit doesn't make sense at all.

  • Really bad idea (Score:4, Insightful)

    by John Sokol (109591) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:08AM (#27256147) Homepage Journal

    Yes there saving money on cooling cost, or at least they seem to believe that and I am sure when they fail to take everything into account this is true.

    The reality it the server room still has to pull that heat out. Increased Delta T is just lost energy.

    Here is really why it's a terrible idea.

    1.) Component failures. Of all parts from bearing in the drives, and fans to the silicon itself has a much higher failure rate.

    2.) The components use more power at higher temperatures! This is from increased leakage currents in the silicon.

    Below is a graph from Research My Startup company did! []

    They really need to used ducted air or any other technology to reduce the Delta T! By this I mean bring the cooling as close to the components as possible.
    Right now server rooms need to run internally at 10C to 15C to keep the CPU chips below 60C.
    If they just brought the cooling directly to the cpu's and let that cool spread from there they could use out door passive radiators! 0 air conditioning cost and the most power savings.

    This is what my start was doing till someone tried to steal the who damb thing and sunk the company.

  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:14AM (#27256247) Homepage
    I like Farenheit. It maps very well to the range of habitable temperatures that a human is likely to experience. I realize Freezing Water isn't in the best place, sure, and will willingly concede it would be better if it were tweaked down to something rounder (30 or so, perhaps) but aside from that: 100 is (about) as hot as it gets normally, 0 is about as cold as it gets normally, and anything outside that range is sure to be obnoxious and waxing uninhabitable.

    I don't care about how hot it needs to be to boil water, or how many gram-degrees-Celcius are in your calorie, or anything like that. And furthermore, if you're going to be Mr. Science, why not just break out the Kelvin and be done with it?

  • by Fross (83754) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:21AM (#27256341) Homepage

    I completely fail to see how a range of 40-80 (after all, you did say "habitable temperatures" for humans), is better than a range of 5-30.

    Farenheight has no basis in anything practical at *any* range. At least Celsius is based around water, which is useful for a number of reasons.

  • by Ioldanach (88584) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:22AM (#27256351)

    Is 20 Celsius twice as hot as 10 Celsius? No. Twenty Kelvin, though, is twice as hot as ten.

    This is just flat out false. The scale was purposefully defined so that a 1 degree change in Kelvin is the same magnitude as 1 degree change in Celcius. That is why there is still a 100 degree difference between the freezing point of water (273K) and it's boiling point (373K). All in all, this is some mega fail.

    A mass at 20K has twice as much thermal energy as 10K. A mass at 20C has about 3.5% more thermal energy as 10C. Therefore, 20K is twice as hot as 10K, 20C is not twice as hot as 10C, if you define 'hot' as the thermal energy embodied in the mass.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:26AM (#27256431)

    Others have pointed out that the Celsius scale hinges on the aggregate states of water, and while this may seem as arbitrary as any other scale, it is not: Water is the single most important fluid for life as we know it. It surrounds us all the time and many important aspects of our lives change when water freezes. I understand that the choice of temperature scale is mostly habitual, but Celsius does make slightly more sense. (Another arbitrary but nevertheless existing advantage of the Celsius scale is that 1 degree Celsius equals 1 Kelvin.)

    There are "stranger" habits in America than the Fahrenheit scale though, for example the ambiguous AM/PM time notation and the mixed order date notation (01/02/2009 meaning the second day of January). I always lose a little hope for the world when even young people forgo improved communication and choose arbitrary habits as a kind of national identity. The rest of the world is coming a big part of the way by writing in English. I think that using the metric system, unambiguous time and date notations and the Celsius scale, all of which are used the world over, is not too much to ask of Americans.

  • by Trepidity (597) <.delirium-slashdot. .at.> on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:37AM (#27256583)

    A single degree Celsius is qualitatively a bit too big, to the point where most European climate-control systems with digital displays have to resort to using half-degrees as the base control unit.

  • by Tikkun (992269) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:49AM (#27256749) Homepage
    Clicking the Start Button to shutdown is what you're used to. Clicking the Shutdown button is intuitive.
  • I completely fail to see how a range of 40-80 (after all, you did say "habitable temperatures" for humans), is better than a range of 5-30.

    Simple. Fahrenheit is useful using two digits. A unit of Celsius is too coarse, and to be practical you have to resort to decimal figures.

    I'm mostly with people who like metric, but there's no doubt that F is superior to C for human use.

  • by frieko (855745) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @10:59AM (#27256939)
  • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:22AM (#27257297)

    When is this Fahrenheit unit going to die?

    Not until people develop the intuition to evaluate temperature relative to a volume of water, rather than to their own bodies.

    Which is a more logical numeric range for representing a perceived continuum from "cold" to "hot": 0 to 100 , or -18 to 38?

  • by sacremon (244448) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:25AM (#27257345)

    ...but the servers aren't the only thing in a data center. If the switches and routers can't take the higher heat, then you aren't going to get much use out of those servers.

  • by FooAtWFU (699187) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:25AM (#27257347) Homepage
    We almost had a metric time: "Internet Time", from Swatch. If they had bothered to place it on the GMT meridian like the rest of the world's time, people would have taken it seriously, instead of just as a marketing gimmick.

    "look, the meridian goes right through our headquarters!". Yeah-huh.

  • by Spazmania (174582) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:38AM (#27257567) Homepage

    So, us fahrenheit-feet thinking people find it inconvenient to think in terms of decimal points. Measuring 7.9 cm is no easier than measuring 3 1/8th inches. I care about the difference between 72 and 73 degrees Fahrenheit. It's more of a pain to deal with the difference between 22.0 and 22.5 degrees Celsius.

  • by frieko (855745) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @11:51AM (#27257755)
    I'm an American, and I disagree completely.

    On my metric wrench set, the 8 is one next to the 7. On my American wrench set, the 5/32 is next to the.. I have no idea, I would have to go look. It's even worse if I have to add 3/32" to 5 7/8".

    If you really need fractions, then 7.9 cm is 7 9/10 cm and 22.5 C is 22 1/2 C.
  • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@[ ] ['cor' in gap]> on Thursday March 19, 2009 @12:09PM (#27258055) Homepage

    That's because for wrench/socket sets, the situation is just the opposite. Metric's unit (mm) is "just right" and doesn't need fractions or decimals, imperial's unit (inch) is way too big and nearly everything is less than one unit.

    It goes the other way for Celsius vs Fahrenheit. Celsius units are "too big" and require dealing with fractional units, while most Fahrenheit-based systems can use single-full-unit increments.

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Thursday March 19, 2009 @12:42PM (#27258567)

    Exactly right. Mod this guy up.

    When you're working on your car, you don't have situations where you need an 8.5mm socket wrench. All the fasteners on a metric car are in integer mm numbers: 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19 are the most popular. If you try 14 and it's a little too big, then you know that 12mm is the correct size. It's easier than inches because the inch is simply too large, and every bolt size is a fraction of an inch.

    Celcius is too large. To a typical human, there's a noticeable difference between 72 and 73 degrees when setting your thermostat, or being outside. Dealing with 1/2 degrees on the Celcius scale is clumsy.

    Fahrenheit is a good scale when talking about the weather or setting your thermostat. For scientific work, Kelvin is certain best since it's an absolute scale, starting at absolute zero, and is part of many other SI units. Celcius really isn't very useful in real life.

  • You're like the 5th person I've seen make this point.

    If you stuck a thermometer in your mouth and it said 100 degrees, the technical term for that is "fever". If it was a mere 5 degrees higher, it would be a very serious fever.

    Given clothing and such, most offices are kept below 80 degrees all the time, to maintain a comfortable working environment. This temperature gradient allows for an effective transition of heat, and keeps most people from breaking a sweat.

    To keep your body at a nice 37C it needs to be able to dissipate heat, something it will not be able to do efficiently in a 100 degree room. You will sweat like a pig. God forbid you've got a server open when you're sweating: your whole body becomes a conductor, every drop of sweat would have the potential to cause damage to sensitive equipment. You will tire much faster, with predictable effects on concentration and coordination.

    In short, I can't imagine a less hospitable atmosphere for working on computer equipment than a room with a temperature of 100F degrees or higher.

If it's not in the computer, it doesn't exist.