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High Temperature Danger Zone for Computer Room

Posted on 2015-01-26
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Last Modified: 2015-06-08
We monitor our backup data center with an APC Netbotz 200 temperature/humidity unit.  Our high temperature alert is set at 84F.  Last night we received alerts that the temperature rose to 109F over 2 hours then dropped back to 82F after 4 hours.  The data center is 1000 miles away.  We were told by the hosting company that the temperature was being reported incorrectly.

1.  What is the danger zone for high temperature for a data center?
2.  Would an APC Netbotz give incorrect readings like this?  See attached graph.

Thank you,
Stuart
Screen-Shot-2015-01-26-at-6.36.12-AM.png
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Question by:sfjcpu
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by:John Hurst
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Would an APC Netbotz give incorrect readings like this?  <-- I suggest asking APC Support about this.

More likely there was a reason (air conditioning off for a couple of hours). The hosting company should tell you what happened. I don't think their explanation is adequate.

Ask APC as the starting point, as they may give you good information to request of the hosting company.
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SunBow earned 400 total points
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I suspect there's more than a tad of telling the white lie, on both sides, so you must leave room for interpretation, based on all you know.

Would you know, for example, were there power outage or potential for one (storms, APC, backup generator...), system failure (misc. outage).

My guess is that the A/C went down at begin of spike, was restored at top, so were they to say they were not down the entire period that would not be innacurate.

74° is already too high a baseline, for the room, which should about 70°, which may be accurate. Your unit says it is rack mounted, and as cpu's generate heat, the rack and its contents will be higher than that in the room. Also, the room will have both warmer and cooler locations, depending on the ducts and fans.

The timeline shows it as non-prime, which could mean far less activity, unless you've abundance of managers with BlackBerry thumb, you're running backups, or another shift/tour of duty. With their drives non spinning, computers likely generating far less heat, and their own fans being more productive.

My guess is that you went at about the limit, and lucked out. Likely not the cheapest wares.

» 1.  What is the danger zone for high temperature for a data center?

I dunno. For example, don't know layout, how cramped it may be, air flow, position of monitor etc. In days of mini/mainframe, a level of panic would set in at about 78°-80°. Days of PC more like 88°-90° room temperature. These correlate to your record and settings. Remember again that it is warmer inside the rack, and warmer inside the computer.

We'd do contingeny operations like opening of the room's doors, bringing in some large floor fans, etc. From where we sit we do not know if they did that and are in denial.

» 2.  Would an APC Netbotz give incorrect readings like this?  

I dunno, but consider it very highly unlikely. Were it to go bonkers, why would it not continue on erratically?

My guess is that there may have been some level of unreported electrical work done, and they had to shut off A/C circuit until completed.

Alernatively, I'd had cases where my complaints (temp&humid both) were discounted, then they  brought in their own monitoring and measuring devices, validating our graphs. <um> We got promises then they'd revisit processes for more steady state.

According to grapevine later on, we heard there were some members of maintenance staff who preferred to find some obscure corner to take a nap for a couple hours. Found out first by tell-tale not restoring original condition, having left some items to improve comfort on floor, some doors open, etc. Among them was next to HVAC, where person had redirected airway to keep himself warmer near rooftop.

Where environment has main shift turn their computers off when going home, another person working later would feel cooler, readjust thermostats, and block the vents to ease comfort.

Also possible, but less likely, someone may have thrown tarp over equipment as part of fire drill where there are automatic sprinklers. Or possibly, roof leaks.

Some computers came with own temp monitor, to shutdown cpu should their fans have problems, for example. It'd ne nice to have second opinion.
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by:SunBow
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> 2.  Would an APC Netbotz give incorrect readings like this?

By now your subsequent graphs ought to be answering that, being normally at a the fairly steady state that it was before the 'event'.

http://www.avtech.com/About/Articles/AVT/NA/All/-/DD-NN-AN-TN/Recommended_Computer_Room_Temperature_Humidity.htm
It is a generally agreed upon standard in the computer industry that expensive IT equipment should not be operated in a computer room or data center where the ambient room temperature has exceeded 85°F (30°C).
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