Maintaining data center availability requires absolutely reliable infrastructure. A significant amount of this is devoted solely to maintaining stable environmental parameters. And only constant, thorough regulation and testing of these parameters ensures the integrity of the data center “envelope.”
A critical systems mechanical diagnostic review conducted earlier this year revealed insufficient humidity control in all five floors of the data center: “holes” in the envelope. Results showed that humidifiers operating at capacity would not be able to maintain required humidity levels (35% rh) on cold winter days. Humidity control in data processing areas is especially critical because hydroscopic (moisture retaining) circuit boards expand and contract with fluctuating humidity levels. Expansion and contraction breaks microelectronic circuits and edge connectors; low humidity causes destructive static electricity discharges. In an attempt to curtail mounting costs (over $500,000 in subsequent projects and $30,000 per year in wasted energy), project managers recently hired Jack Dale Associates (JDA, Baltimore), a research and development engineering firm. JDA’s task was to quantify the amount of air transference between the data centers and their adjacent administration spaces.