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Cooling fails 66% of data centres

UK: With 39% of data centre outages said to be caused by thermal issues, a new survey claims that 66% of installed cooling equipment is not actually delivering active cooling benefits.

Nottingham-based thermal risk experts EkkoSense claims that its survey of 128 UK data centre halls and over 16,500 racks is the largest and most accurate survey ever conducted into data centre cooling.

Based on the survey results, EkkoSense maintains that UK data centres collectively achieve poor levels of cooling utilisation with an average 66% of installed cooling equipment not actually delivering any active cooling benefits.

Given that UK data centre operators continue to invest significantly in expensive cooling equipment, EkkoSense suggests that the root cause of poor thermal compliance across data centres is not actually the lack of cooling capacity but the continued poor management of airflow and a failure to actively monitor and report rack temperatures.

“The fact that thermal issues still account for almost a third of unplanned data centre outages would suggest that the 35% of energy consumption that operators are currently spending on cooling simply isn’t doing the job it needs to,” commented EkkoSense’s head of operations James Kirkwood. “Our ongoing survey into UK data centre cooling clearly shows that, despite their continued reliance on new and more expensive cooling equipment, data centres aren’t doing enough to reduce the risk to the business that unplanned outages inevitably bring.”

The survey also reveals that less than 5% of UK data centre M&E teams currently actively monitor and report temperature on an individual rack-by-rack basis – and even fewer conduct any formal cooling resilience tests.

“It’s clear that organisations have a long way to go if they’re to successfully achieve their thermal compliance goals,” said James Kirkwood.

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