"Free-cooled" datacenters use ambient outside air instead of air conditioning. That lets us see how environment affects system components. Biggest surprise: temperature is not the disk drive killing monster we thought. Here's what is.
At last months Usenix FAST 16 conference, in the Best Paper award winner Environmental Conditions and Disk Reliability in Free-cooled Datacenters, researchers Ioannis Manousakis and Thu D. Nguyen, of Rutgers, Sriram Sankar of GoDaddy, and Gregg McKnight and Ricardo Bianchini of Microsoft, studied how the higher and more variable temperatures and humidity of free-cooling affect hardware components. They reached three key conclusions:
- Relative humidity, not higher or more variable temperatures, has a dominant impact on disk failures.
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