Measuring Humidity and Temperature in Data Centers

Increasing demand for data processing and storage capacity has led to major companies investing in new facilities that provide web-based services to an ever-higher number of users. Cooling and air-conditioning in data centers are important for data reliability and safety.

The ASHRAE 2011 guidelines for environmental conditions in data center recommend inlet air temperature and humidity envelope of 18 … 27 °C and 25 … 80 %RH (dew point temperature 5 … 15 °C). In traditional set-up the equipment room is air-conditioned by dividing the equipment into rows (hot aisles) and feeding cool air between the rows (cold aisles), usually through the floor.

Humidity is even a greater threat to hard drive reliability than high temperatures, according to a study from Rutgers University in partnership with GoDaddy and Microsoft. In their paper titled “Environmental Conditions and Disk Reliability in Free-cooled Datacenters” (PDF), the team says that the effects on controllers and adapters were felt most as humidity levels rose. Especially in cool climates where air-side economizers are used, the absolute water content of the air is naturally low. Heating decreases relative humidity of air and it may fall below the desired level. There are risks like static electricity when the air is too dry.

Vaisala offers an extensive portfolio of instruments, data loggers and monitoring systems for use in data center facility management to measure temperature, relative humidity, wet bulb temperature, dew point temperature, enthalpy and weather. Vaisala has the widest selection of in-house developed and manufactured sensors and systems. Building upon nearly 80 years of experience, Vaisala Sensor Technology is unique – in fact it is measuring humidity and barometric pressure on Mars, with Mars Rover Curiosity. You can read more in the article about measuring temperature and humidity in data centers or

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