Singapore Tests Data Centres At 30 Degrees In 90 Percent Humidity

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‘Tropical Data Centre’ trial will test how data centres can run at higher temperatures, saving costs through reduced cooling demands

Singapore is preparing to test a data centre that can operate in tropical climates without the need for intensive cooling usually synonymous with any data centre operation.

The Tropical Data Centre (TDC), currently planned for a Q3 trial, could help reduce energy consumptions in data centres by almost 40 percent, its designers claim, and is part of Singapore’s ‘smart nation’ green initiative.

Being built by the Infocomm Development Authority (IDA) of Singapore in partnership with data centre industry experts, the TDC proof-of-concept hopes to show that data centres can run at optimal levels at temperatures of up to 30 degrees Celsius, in humidity levels of around 90 percent. Dell, Fujitsu, HPE, Huawei and Intel are also involved in the trial.

Khoong Hock Yun, assistant chief executive of the IDA, said: “With Singapore’s continued growth as a premium hub for data centres, we want to develop new technologies and standards that allow us to operate advanced data centres in the most energy efficient way in a tropical climate.”

No controls

The test would look at how data servers react under various ‘live’ situations, such as peak surges or transferring of data, and in diverse conditions, such as with no temperature or humidity controls. The trial servers will run with simulated data.

data centre server speed storage fast © Spectral-Design ShutterstockLarge data centres have traditionally been built in more temperate climes, with some big operators choosing to build in northern, colder regions like Sweden, to keep cooling costs at a minimum.

But as the need for data centres located close to emerging technology markets in the middle east and Asia grows, research into how they can run at higher temperatures could save operators billions of pounds each year.

If successful, the TDC could reduce global energy consumption by data centres by allowing for higher operating temperatures and humidity levels, said the IDA.

Data centres are currently cooled to between 20 to 25 degrees Celsius and kept to within 50 to 60 percent relative ambient humidity for safety.

“New ideas and approaches, such as raising either the ambient temperature or humidity, will be tested to see if these can greatly increase our energy efficiency, with insignificant impact on the critical data centre operations,” Yun added.

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