HVAC systems and their importance in data centers

The internet works in mysterious ways.

How does it always stay "on"? How is it possible to upload thousands of photos to Facebook or play a game online? Luckily for the average consumer, these questions are ones they don't have to worry about, and that's one of the benefits of the internet these days. It has evolved and improved to the point where, for a great majority of the time, everything just works.

But behind the scenes, there are plenty of moving parts and those involve data centers, which house numerous servers where information and websites are stored. Without these structures, the internet wouldn't function as it currently does.

And it is within these structures that the need for HVAC and air ventilation systems are more important than ever because air quality is one of the most important variables that must be accounted for.

What is a data center?

Data centers come in all shapes and sizes. Essentially, these buildings are where critical network systems are housed and often the central location of a company's IT operations. The larger the company, the more data centers needed to handle all of the information to ensure users don't suffer outages.

Take Facebook for example. The social network has exploded in growth since its inception on the Harvard campus back in 2004. With over 1.13 billion daily users around the globe, the site needs the power to ensure everyone is able to seamlessly comment on statuses, share internet memes or upload photographs from exciting weekend adventures. The service rarely suffers a massive outage, and that's because the servers are working as expected.

To do this, the company has thousands of those servers operating in data centers across the country in areas such as Prineville, Oregon; Forest City, North Carolina and the newest addition, Fort Worth, Texas.

These massive structures cost billions to construct because they need to be as efficient as possible. Facebook isn't the only company that spends large amounts of money on these structures. Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and other prominent internet companies have their own data centers scattered across the globe.

Additionally, smaller companies also have their own server and data center needs, although a shift has been occurring these last few years.

The rise of cloud computing has led to Amazon, Microsoft and smaller companies to heavily invest in servers to allow businesses get the infrastructure they need without actually building a data center.

But however companies are utilizing servers, these machines need to be in environments where air quality and temperature are monitored around the clock. The slightest dip or increase in temperature and humidity levels can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of servers. 

Air quality also needs to be monitored because if even the smallest particles aren't filtered out, they can gradually build up inside servers and cause the equipment to malfunction.

server roomTemperature must be monitored at all times in server rooms.

Why air temperature is important

HVAC systems are needed in every data center. With hundreds or thousands of servers constantly running at the same time, these machines generate enormous amounts of heat. If conditions are too hot, the servers may not work properly, and the same applies if the temperature is too low.

As such, guidelines developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers are important to follow. As companies increasingly look to provide sustainable energy solutions, they have to balance those needs without compromising their services and affecting customers. Humidity is another variable that must be monitored.

With the help of robust HVAC systems, companies can ensure server rooms are kept at the appropriate temperature and humidity levels.

Importance of clean air

Data centers often have strict requirements as to who can enter server rooms and what employees can bring inside. Harmful air particles, such as dust, can wreck havoc on servers if it's not properly filtered out.

"Harmful air particles can wreck havoc on servers."

In a LinkedIn post from Belvedere Maintenance, Mark Obidniak  emphasized the importance of accounting for dust. Over time, the small particles will build  up inside servers. Too much dust may even lead to fires, particularly if the air is too dry, as IT Watchdogs pointed out.

These problems can be avoided with the help of air ventilation systems and filters that will help catch even the smallest amount of dust and other harmful particles. HEPA filters are also an option because of how effective they can be.

Air can't be ignored

Temperature, humidity levels and the air quality are all variables that companies can't ignore while operating a data center. Inside server rooms, these factors can have a profound impact on the effectiveness of a company's online operations.

Servers may experience operating failures if the temperature is too high, and this can translate to outages for online products that millions of consumers may rely on. In this day and age, high-profile outages can draw negative exposure and cost thousands of dollars to fix.

To ensure all companies have their HVAC and ventilation system needs covered, they should contact Air Impurities Removal Systems today.