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Study: Servers Run Well Around Zero Degrees

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servers in a tent

Servers running outdoors in a tent on the roof terrace of the Exactum building at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

Credit: Sebastian Siikavirta / University of Helsinki

Researchers are studying the use of outdoor air to cool data centers in northern climates. Researchers at the Helsinki Institute for Information Technology and the University of Helsinki have been running servers in a tent on a roof terrace in Finland for six months, which enabled them to cover a wide range of temperatures and humidity. The servers are only protected from direct snow, water, and sunshine.

Professor Jussi Kangasharju and researcher Mikko Pervila report that when outdoor temperatures fell to -22 Celsius, the computers warmed the temperature in the tent to about -5 Celsius. "We are surprised at how well the servers have run compared to computers indoors," Kangasharju says. "This means that data centers can be cooled in northern Europe and Northern America with outside air efficiently without energy-consuming cooling and without computers functioning in a less stable manner due to changes in temperature and humidity."

Their paper, "Running Servers Around Zero Degrees," was presented at the ACM SIGCOMM Green Networking Workshop.

From Helsinki Institute for Information Technology
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