Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cisco & Sun Servers Spar for Best Humidity Support

One of the clear trends in data centers is to improve data center efficiency by making greater use of HVAC economizer modes. For air-side (dry-side or outside air) economizers, one of the keys to broad adoption is to be able to use outside air across as broad a relative humidity (RH) range as possible.

Among the major blade vendors, Cisco appeared to have taken the lead by offering support for the broadest operating humidity range, but Sun appears to have matched Cisco recently:

(All humidity ranges are non-condensing. All data is from vendor web sites as of 9/3/09).

Ever-widening ranges for supported humidity make the use of dry-side economizers more feasible. If vendors were able to support 0-100% relative humidity, data center operators wouldn't need to worry about humidifcation/de-humidification controls. Eliminating such controls and systems could lower capital costs, reduce operating costs, lower the carbon footprint of facilities, and lower their water footprint as well.