Julius Neudorfer just wrote a great article on ASHRAE Technical Committee 9.9 expanding the recommended environmental envelope for server hardware equipment.
From the article at CTO Edge:
The details of the expanded temperature and humidity ranges are going to be released in the soon-to-be-published third edition of the ASHRAE datacom book, “Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments.”
According to Don Beaty, chair of the Publications Subcommittee of ASHRAE’s Technical Committee (TC) 9.9, Mission Critical Facilities, Technology Spaces and Electronic Equipment: The approach used by TC 9.9 for the first edition through to the present was to assemble a team of thermal engineers from the major commercial IT manufacturers to develop requirements. The first edition created a recommended temperature upper limit of 77 F (25 C), promoting the use of higher temperatures and endorsed by all of the IT manufacturers.
The second edition (2008) took considerable deliberation amongst the manufacturers and raised the recommended upper limit to 81 F (27 C). Both the first and second editions were groundbreaking (the first edition in unifying the industry and the second edition in enabling the potential to use economizers in many locations and applications).
Beaty will unveil the new expanded temperature ranges at the Data Center Dynamics conference in New York, March 10 2011.
Terry Altom, P.E., an Uptime Institute Professional Services consultant said data center managers who want to take advantage of the energy efficiencies gained by raising server inlet air temperatures will have their work cut out for them.
“You need to have a solid knowledge of all of the server equipment requirements in your data center. Talk to your vendor representatives, know the allowable and recommended ranges and how temperature impacts the server warranty.
“If you have an equipment failure while under warranty, and the manufacturers say the temperatures are out of line, they won’t honor the warranty,” Altom said. “Temperature recording would be a must — put data loggers all over the data center to know exactly what your temperatures are. If you have the manpower to do it manually. Or you can use a tool like Emerson Liebert’s Aperture that allows you to put thermometers inside the racks and record temperatures throughout the data center.”