As the mercury rose to the highest temperatures Britain has seen in years, colo companies took extra care.
To free air cool or not to free air cool? That is the question many enterprises will be asking following the extreme 36.7C recorded at Heathrow, West London.
CBR went out in the heat through colo hubs to find out what experts think of the great British weather and its impact on their facilities.
Russell Poole, MD UK
"Equinix always schedule preparatory work during spring every year to get us ready for the summer. In addition, the design standards of our buildings further ensures we maintain the highest level of performance even in extreme heatwave cases like the one experienced this week in the UK"
2. Digital Realty
Tom Kingham, Director of Sales Engineering
"All our data centres are designed to withstand the most extreme temperatures ever recorded in the region. Each data centre also has additional cooling capacity available to handle maintenance events and emergency situations."
3. IO data centre
Nigel Steven, MD UK
"While temperatures are soaring here in the UK, this isn’t having a huge impact on our data centres. In reality, these facilities are built to cope with temperatures far higher than those we are experiencing right now. We have units in the unforgiving desert of Phoenix – and we have not needed to take any special measures there or in the UK.
"In the UK we take advantage of free air cooling, and the majority of the time we simply use external air. In temperatures over 24 degrees Celsius, such as yesterday, we switch to chilled water."
4. VIRTUS Data Centres
David Watkins, Operations Director
"As the outside temperature increases, adiabatic cooling is utilised where treated water from a natural source is sprayed on to the heat exchanger to lower the ambient air temperature and increase performance.
"Finally in extreme circumstances, a small amount of direct expansion cooling is used where a refrigerant further lowers the ambient air temperature being used. This would only be for more extreme weather than we are currently experiencing.
"Whilst this weather may be seen as extreme by some, the vast majority of UK weather is a low average temperature which is ideally suited for running efficiently cooled data centres that utilise the right design technology in hyper efficient, ultra-high density and highly interconnected facilities.
"However just in case our robust infrastructure doesn’t keep our customers and staff cool in this heat, our freezer is stocked with ice creams to keep them as chilled as their data."
Jack Bedell-Pearce, MD
"In the run-up to Summer, we carry out a series of standard preventative maintenance tests to make sure all our cooling systems are working. When we know we are about to experience a particularly hot period (like this week) we re-check everything, including all the resilient systems, such as our backup water tanks as well as our monitoring systems (including re-calibration of all sensors).
"When a day like yesterday, (July 1st) touted as "the hottest day in a decade") actually arrives, our operations team closely monitor all the information coming out of our Building Management System (BMS)."
6. City Lifeline
Roger Keenan, MD
"When extreme temperatures occur, faults, failures and overloads compound and cascade. Air conditioning is an example. Most modern office buildings have air conditioning now, a significant increase from ten or twenty or thirty years ago. Air conditioning units do little work and consume little power when the outside air temperature is below the office environment temperature.
"But, as the outside temperature goes up and up, they have to do more and more work and then they consume more and more electrical power.
"When a new air conditioner is installed, there is no obligation on anyone to tell the electricity supply company about it, so no-one knows about the extra load until a really hot day, when the power company’s breakers overload and trip out.
"If there is enough demand and not enough supply, the electricity company will selectively switch off areas to match the two. Unless you happen to be on the same supply as the Olympic Park when the Olympics are running, that potentially puts everyone at risk."