28 April 2017

Survey reveals poor levels of cooling insulation in UK data centres

According to the industry’s largest and most accurate survey into data centre cooling, UK data centres collectively achieve poor levels of cooling utilisation with an average 66% of installed cooling equipment not actually delivering any active cooling benefits.

According to the industry’s largest and most accurate survey into data centre cooling, UK data centres achieve poor levels of cooling utilisation with an average 66% of installed cooling equipment not delivering any cooling benefits.

The survey was conducted by Thermal Risk Expert EkkoSense, and it analysed 128 UK data centre halls and over 16,500 racks to reveal that the current average data centre cooling utilisation level is just 34%. UK data centre operators continue to invest significantly in expensive cooling equipment, EkkoSense suggests that the cause of poor thermal compliance across data centres is not actually the lack of cooling capacity, but the continued poor management of airflow and a failure to actively monitor and report rack temperatures.

“The fact that thermal issues still account for almost a third of unplanned data centre outages would suggest that the 35% of energy consumption that operators are currently spending on cooling simply isn’t doing the job it needs to. Our ongoing survey into UK data centre cooling clearly shows that, despite their continued reliance on new and more expensive cooling equipment, data centres aren’t doing enough to reduce the risk to the business that unplanned outages inevitably bring,” said James Kirkwood, EkkoSense’s Head of Operations.

“Clearly its unacceptable from both a risk management and green perspective to maintain such low levels of cooling utilisation, however it’s difficult for data centres to adopt a more pro-active thermal management strategy if they have no way of knowing that all their data centre equipment is actually thermally compliant,” continued James. “With our survey also revealing that less than 5% of UK data centre M&E teams currently actively monitor and report temperature on an individual rack-by-rack basis – and even fewer conduct any formal cooling resilience tests – it’s clear that organisations have a long way to go if they’re to successfully achieve their thermal compliance goals.”

EkkoSense’s Data Centre Optimisation (DCOP) service helps organisations to address these issues by deploying a specialist team of thermal and cooling experts who bring over 20 years’ proven operational experience to the challenge of managing a data centre’s thermal performance.

EkkoSense applies a 3-stage approach to Data Centre Optimisation, the team first benchmarks each data centre room using specialist measurement techniques, 3D room mapping tools and data analytics, before monitoring and analysing airflow performance across the data centre from the AHUs through to the grille. However, rather than just making recommendations, the EkkoSense DCOP team then actively re-balances the floor to help maximise performance and reduce hot and cold spots. This results in racks that are all thermally-compliant, effectively de-risking the optimisation process for customers.

EkkoSense DCOP takes advantage of the company’s unique EkkoAir thermal monitoring technology – the world’s first monitoring solution to track data centre cooling loads in real-time. EkkoAir tracks live cooling and airflow monitoring for critical CRAC cooling duty performance, enabling the 3D visualisation of actual cooling performance across the data centre room as well as entire estates. Using EkkoAir, the DCOP team can track thermal instabilities right across the data centre, enabling organisations to successfully balance their thermal profiles so that only those cooling units that need to be working are active.

By applying EkkoSense’s Data Centre Optimisation approach, data centres can achieve large improvements in their overall energy performance, with EkkoSense on average delivering an average 24% energy saving across all its surveyed halls with ROI achieved in under 10 months.

Organisations also find that they can also release budget by removing the need to purchase additional cooling equipment. EkkoSense also helps organisations to achieve additional benefits including delivering 100% thermal compliance, identifying and removing thermal and cooling risks, and testing cooling resilience to guarantee performance in a crisis.

Resource: Ekkosense

Luke Tanner
Marketing Co-Ordinator