ASHRAE is getting ready to finalize its third edition of TC 9.9. In advance of the release expected later this year, it has just published a 45-page white paper titled, “2011 Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments– Expanded Data Center Classes and Usage Guidance,” which is now publicly available from ASHRAE.
In an unusual turn of events, the ASHRAE TC 9.9 committee announced that it has
decided to disclose some of the key elements of the upcoming third edition now,
rather than when it is finalized (see further coverage on p. 14 and p.
“This white paper is truly ground-breaking in that it achieves alignment
between representatives of the major IT equipment manufacturers on wider
environmental tolerances for IT equipment while providing guidance and a
methodology for owners and operators to optimize the operating environment of
their data center based on the criteria most important to their business
needs,” said Don Beaty, chair of the Publications Subcommittee for TC 9.9. “In
order to most quickly meet the current demands of the industry, we are using a
two-step approach to introduce this important information sooner rather than
later. The information in this white paper will be incorporated into the third
edition of the thermal guidelines publication.”
According to an ASHRAE press release, it would seem that the recent and growing
trend to increase energy efficiency by utilizing airside economizers by some
high-profile internet search and social media is being recognized and will be
adopted in the new guidelines.
A roadmap has been outlined to facilitate a significant increase in the
operational hours during which economizer systems are able to be used, and to
increase the opportunity for datacenters to become “chiller-less,” eliminating
mechanical cooling systems entirely, in order to realize improved power usage
effectiveness (PUE). The Green Grid created the popular PUE metric that is
widely used to compare the total power to the IT power.
The major change that is introduced in the white paper is the addition of two
new data center classes. The classes have been added primarily for facilities
that are willing to explore the tradeoffs associated with the additional energy
saving of the cooling system through increased economizer usage and what that
means in terms of the impact to IT equipment attributes such as reliability,
internal energy, cost, performance, contamination, etc.
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