Heatwaves putting IT at risk, analyst says

With temperatures reaching record highs pretty much everywhere in the northern hemisphere and following recent user-impacting outages of a Google Cloud data center in London and of Oracle’s British operations, reportedly due to cooling issues, effective cooling systems are needed, says GlobalData.

According to GlobalData analyst Sarah Coop, “Rising temperatures, such as those experienced in Europe [last] week, aren’t good news for our IT systems. Data centers, which provide the ‘brain’ of many company IT systems, can only operate efficiently between certain temperatures (typically between 15°C and 32°C). Any higher, and there is a severe risk of overheating—meaning, at best, increased latency and minor outages, and at worst prolonged outages and downtime for customers. As Europe reached highs of 40°C, that is well into the danger zone.

“Given that climate change will mean more frequent extreme weather events, data center outages like the one experienced by Google Cloud will also become more and more common”, she added.

With COVID-19 forcing many organizations to move to cloud-based architectures, they more than ever rely on off-premises data centers. GlobalData forecasts that the data center market will more than double, growing from US$466 billion in 2020 to US$948 billion in 2030. These data centers are already the backbone of organizations’ IT infrastructure and will be even more important in the future.

“Many companies are now facing extra costs to cool equipment in heatwaves, which will be driven up further by rising energy prices amid the Ukraine conflict. While costs can be absorbed for one-off heatwaves, a longer-term solution is needed, as data centers continue to grow in importance. It is imperative that effective cooling systems are bought as part and parcel of a data centre, or companies are risking disruption to customers’ services. Further, these should preferably be powered by renewable energy, and deploy energy efficiency techniques,” declared Coop.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Renaud Larue Langlois
Renaud Larue Langlois
Half journalist, half IT Manager, full technology nerd. After a 25+ year career in IT, becoming a writer was a natural choice for Renaud. It literally runs in his family. His areas of interest are... anything, as long as it's technology-related. He can be reached at rlaruelanglois@itwc.ca

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