The energy used by information technology (IT) equipment and the supporting data center equipment keeps rising as data center proliferation continues unabated. In order to contain the rising computing costs, data center administrators are resorting to cost cutting measures such as not tightly controlling the temperature and humidity levels and in many cases installing air side economizers with the associated risk of introducing particulate and gaseous contaminations into their data centers. The ASHRAE TC9.9 subcommittee, on Mission Critical Facilities, Data Centers, Technology Spaces, and Electronic Equipment, has accommodated the data center administrators by allowing short period excursions outside the recommended temperature-humidity range, into allowable classes A1-A3. Under worst case conditions, the ASHRAE A3 envelope allows electronic equipment to operate at temperature and humidity as high as 24°C and 85% relative humidity for short, but undefined periods of time. This paper addresses the IT equipment reliability issues arising from operation in high humidity and high temperature conditions, with particular attention paid to the question of whether it is possible to determine the all-encompassing x-factors that can capture the effects of temperature and relative humidity on equipment reliability. The role of particulate and gaseous contamination and the aggravating effects of high temperature and high relative humidity will be presented and discussed. A method to determine the temperature and humidity x-factors, based on testing in experimental data centers located in polluted geographies, will be proposed.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.