AmiMoJo writes: A study by Rutgers University and Microsoft has found that hard drives are more prone to failure due to high levels of humidity [PDF] than high temperature. With a view to 'free cooling' data centres (using low external air temperature for cooling to save power), the paper notes that humidity related malfunctions of the driver controller / adapter are the dominant cause of drive failure. The good news is that while the researchers found that high relative humidity was a significant factor in drive failures, "[S]oftware availability techniques can mask them and enable freecooled operation, resulting in significantly lower infrastructure and energy costs that far outweigh the cost of the extra component failures."
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