The Green Grid, the global authority on resource efficient information technology and data centers published a new report entitled Data Center Efficiency and IT Equipment Reliability. The report details the latest research on the robustness of modern IT equipment, along with new practices that enable data center operators to reduce and eliminate the need for mechanical air conditioning.

Currently, the perception of the data center’s equipment tolerance to heat and humidity is based on practices dating back to the 1950s, resulting in an unnecessary waste of resources and carbon. In its latest report, The Green Grid shows how data centers can run at significantly higher temperatures and humidity levels without affecting overall equipment failure rates.

“The common perception of the IT network, server and storage equipment is that it operates within very tight environmental tolerances, but this is a belief based on data center practices from the 1950s,” said Harkeeret Singh, Global Head of Energy & Sustainability Technology for The Green Grid. “These practices are archaic, predicated as they are on maintaining constant and narrowly-defined temperature and humidity levels. In practice, modern equipment can tolerate periods of much greater heat and humidity, with no significant effect on failure rates.”

In today’s data centers, if periods of high humidity are balanced with periods of more favorable environmental conditions, where water- and air-side economizers can be used for cooling, data centers can reduce reliance on mechanical chillers without any detriment to overall failure rates. This builds directly on The Green Grid’s recently-updated cooling maps, a resource which helps data center operators and owners take advantage of free cooling from ambient air temperature.

The new report, which is free to members of The Green Grid, gives users a comprehensive and detailed understanding of suitable IT operating ranges. The report also provides techniques for better temperature and airflow management in facilities as well as implications for data center design and operations.

While data centers may not be ready to completely do away with mechanical cooling, The Green Grid believes that the industry is making constant progress in minimizing the need for air conditioning thanks to economizers, better data center design and more efficient operating practices. The Green Grid’s Data Centre Efficiency and IT Equipment Reliability report is an important step towards the goal of eventually eliminating the need for mechanical cooling, while enabling data center operators to make immediate savings in costs and carbon from their operations today.