Data Center Efficiency: Shedding a 10-Ton Air Conditioner

By David F. Carr  |  Posted 2007-08-10 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Cimarex Energy found a new, more efficient way to keep its I.T. hardware cool and running safely. Learn how the oil and gas exploration company dumped its old gargantuan climate-control unit.

Last summer, Cimarex Energy encountered a crisis in its Tulsa, Okla., data center. Its data systems, as well as the seismic and geologic data critical to its oil and gas exploration and production business, were at risk due to overheating equipment.

The server room was at capacity: There was simply no space available for equipment. And the company learned the hard way that it had packed in too much equipment for its power and cooling systems. The densely packed micro-circuitry was overheating servers and other I.T. devices.

It's no wonder the data center ran into problems.

Exhaust from one device was sucked into the air intake of others nearby. Equipment—including Network Applicance enterprise storage devices and Hewlett-Packard servers—was failing despite running the air conditioning at full throttle.

"NetApp tech support was replacing two or three drives a week in the array due to failure, and were telling us just as often that if we didn't do something with the heat issues we were having, that they were going to discontinue support for these devices," explains Cimarex network engineer Rodney McPhearson, who was charged with finding a solution to the problem. "We were seeing temperature logs running from 74 to 76 degrees on the front side of the rack row, and above 100 degrees behind the racks. This was causing drive failures in our HP servers also."

The weekly equipment failures were getting costly, and McPhearson knew it was time for a new approach to keeping equipment cool as the data center expanded into a new server room.



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David F. Carr David F. Carr is the Technology Editor for Baseline Magazine, a Ziff Davis publication focused on information technology and its management, with an emphasis on measurable, bottom-line results. He wrote two of Baseline's cover stories focused on the role of technology in disaster recovery, one focused on the response to the tsunami in Indonesia and another on the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.David has been the author or co-author of many Baseline Case Dissections on corporate technology successes and failures (such as the role of Kmart's inept supply chain implementation in its decline versus Wal-Mart or the successful use of technology to create new market opportunities for office furniture maker Herman Miller). He has also written about the FAA's halting attempts to modernize air traffic control, and in 2003 he traveled to Sierra Leone and Liberia to report on the role of technology in United Nations peacekeeping.David joined Baseline prior to the launch of the magazine in 2001 and helped define popular elements of the magazine such as Gotcha!, which offers cautionary tales about technology pitfalls and how to avoid them.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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