Every piece of data centre equipment and every human on earth is engulfed by an ocean of air. This fact is taken for granted to be good for humans, but under certain circumstances the air surrounding IT equipment can be harmful to internal electronic components and lead to failure and downtime. That’s why humidity is one of the main issues on the mind of data centre operators across the UK, and today we’re going to show you why it should be on yours too.
What Is A Data Centre?
Before we get into the details of humidity and atmospheric control, it helps to understand what exactly a data centre is, and what they do. On the face of it, a data centre is simply a large building full of computer equipment, which by itself would need a fair amount of monitoring. But inside, a data centre is a network of computing and storage resources, enabling the delivery of shared software application and data across the world. Many businesses use data centres to store their back up data, run complex applications or access cloud computing space. In short, data centres support businesses in staying operational.
When you step inside the average data centre, you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve accidentally walked into a spaceship from Star Trek. The doors will be sealed with a number of security measures, from card readers and passwords to biometric scanners. Once you get inside, the atmosphere is cool and dry, and the walls are lined with blinking, coloured lights and racks of computer equipment. If you get into the bowels of the building, you will likely discover multiple backups for everything from power to basic utilities like water and gas. Data centres are used to run some of the biggest businesses and processes on the planet, so they need to be secure, redundant and resilient at all times.
Why Does Humidity Matter?
Because data centres have such a critical role, a lot of care is taken to ensure everything within them is maintained in top condition. For data centres, the main case for humidification lies in preserving that computer equipment. Humidification control can be used to combat electrostatic discharge in the environment, which can damage sensitive electronics. Not only that, but air in the IT environment containing the proper amount of water plays an important role in maximising the availability of computing equipment. Too much or too little water vapour has been proven to directly contribute to reduces productivity and equipment downtime – both of which need to be avoided.
The Recommended Humidity
So, since humidity is so important for data centres, what level of relative humidity should you be keeping yours at? Generally, maintaining ambient relative humidity of between 45% and 55% is ideal, and is optimal for performance and reliability.
When the relative humidity levels are too high you can get water condensation, which causes issues like hardware corrosion and early system and component failure. If it’s too low, then computer equipment becomes vulnerable to electrostatic discharge, which as we know causes a lot of damage to some very sensitive components within almost any electronic device.
This is also the reason we recommend that data centre humidity is closely monitored, with alarm systems in place to detect when the humidity is rising above 60% or dropping below 40% – the two early danger points. Critical alerts should then be set up for 30% and 70% rH, so that the issue can be dealt with before any damage happens. Monitoring is critical for such important businesses because relative humidity is exactly that – relative. It’s directly related to the current temperature, and so will change regularly. And as the value of the IT equipment rises, so does the risk and costs associated with getting the humidity wrong!
At Humidity Solutions, we understand exactly how important it is for data centres to have the best in humidification technology (if nothing else so that it matches your high-tech centre). That’s why we provide the most innovative and reliable RH control solutions for data centres across the country, keeping your data safe and secure. Your solutions will be tailored to your needs, so you can be sure your RH is being managed and controlled effectively. For more information on our solutions, or to ask us about humidity in your data centre, just get in touch with the team at Humidity Solutions today.