One of the hidden challenges facing the global data centre industry is rising humidity levels, according to a recent report launched by temporary moisture and temperature control specialists Aggreko.
In January, extreme weather was witnessed across the globe, creating a number of challenges for data centres. From flooding in Asia to heavy snowfall in Europe, these patterns have highlighted a new risk for facilities across the world. According to Aggreko, in addition to the more immediate power disruption impact brought on by such severe weather conditions, rising humidity and long-lasting damage caused by moisture should be a key concern.
Outlined in a report – The Hidden Cost of Humidity on Site – the challenge facing data centres is how the drying process takes place, following a period of flooding or heavy snowfall. According to the report, poorly managed moisture control can result in persistent damp and warping of materials, which can lead to long-term damage within a data centre.
levels are also a concern in the summer months, and figures outlined in the
report indicates that many data centre ‘hot spots’ are particularly prone to
high levels of humidity. Among the areas to have a higher average humidity
level than the recommended relative levels include Dublin, Frankfurt am Main,
Amsterdam, Paris and Helsinki, all of which are popular among data centre
addition to issues encountered on construction sites, moisture, in the form of
water vapor, can find its way into the smallest areas and spaces of any
components. This in turn can leave corrosive deposits behind that continue to
cause damage after drying. Now, Aggreko is advising all data centre facilities
– both in situ and those being contracted – to have an effective system in
place to remove the moisture from the air.
Stanley, moisture control specialist at Aggreko, explains: “Moisture build-up
is an inevitable outcome of extreme weather patterns and its correct removal is
a serious challenge for data centres. Unfortunately, not all teams are making
the necessary considerations to remove moisture from sites entirely, with
common mistakes prevalent.
many, the immediate reaction to rising humidity is to use dryers to remove the
problem. However, while the issue may appear to be resolved, drying doesn’t
always remove moisture from the atmosphere and can actually cause long-term
damage, impacting the lifespan of a data centre.”
report sets out a three-step approach to managing humidity effectively, which
includes a combination of heating a site, circulating the air and removing with
Ryan adds: “The process of removing moisture effectively is extremely sensitive and time must be taken to ensure it is managed properly. We would advise data centre operators – and those working on construction sites – to ensure the right approach is taken to avoid future problems.”