Service interruptions in Europe and no outages in Spain

Meteorologists warn: August begins with another heat wave – the third so far this year – which will last all week and the month will be warmer than usualJuly has already arrived and June too, when the first abnormal rise in the thermometer was recorded, just before the start of summer.

In recent months, average temperatures have soared Prices that break records in the Peninsula and the Balearic Islands since the records were kept, For September and October, the most likely scenario (60%) is that the trend continues. According to the National Meteorological Agency (Emet), there is only a 10% chance that it will be colder than normal.

Warmer nights, warmer ocean waters, increased fire risk… are some of the most obvious consequences of this increase in degrees in thermometers, and those that affect infrastructures where this factor is particularly important, such as centers of data.

Google and Oracle shut down their services

These facilities should be operational 24 hours a day without any interruption. A screen that generates a lot of heat and for which high temperatures are particularly harmful.

as a technician A few weeks ago, Google and Oracle faced disruptions to their services due to a cooling system failure of its data centers in London. Reason: The heat wave hitting the UK in mid-July, with values ​​above 40°C, is somewhat unusual in this country.

[Radiografía de los centros de datos en España: quién, dónde y por qué todos hablan de ellos]

“After recording unusually high temperatures in the southern region of the UK (London), the data center experienced two cooling units failures when said to operate above their design limitsAs a result, temperatures in the data center began to rise, causing a subset of the IT infrastructure to shut down as a protective measure.

For its part, Google Cloud cited the same reasons for the temporary unavailability of its services: “the simultaneous failure of several redundant cooling systems in one of the data centers hosting the region”. Western Europe 2The company also acknowledges that “this is not the level of quality and reliability that we strive to provide our customers, and We are taking immediate action to improve resilience domain of”.

[Se busca suelo en entornos urbanos para construir centros de datos en España]

What happened in the UK does not mean that Data Processing Centers (DPCs) cannot operate temperature 40. to more°C without reducing its performance.

Indeed, in Spain, where this value has been largely exceeded in most regions in recent weeks, there have been no service interruptions from technology companies and companies operating this type of infrastructure.

40°. refrigerate above

At the time of their design, refrigeration systems are one of the most delicate aspects of this type of installation, with their efficiency and energy consumption.

Social Security data center moves from Soria to Madrid Because, among other reasons, the province has an annual average of 11°C. An ideal climate for cooling the DPC using outside air (free cooling), mainly in summer.

Besides location, engineering studies should consider various cooling systems before building a data center. “Data centers need Ensure temperature and humidity in technical roomsand to carry out detailed studies taking into account the cooling demand in the technical rooms according to the electrical consumption of the machines”, describes the director of engineering and technology air groupZigor Gaubeka, A d+i,

The company has DPCs in Alicante, Valencia, Malaga and Talavera de la Reina, and is under construction in Madrid and Zaragoza, where it operates “system” free coolingDirect or indirect, depending on the conditions »Gaubeka confirms to the media that to date he has not recorded any breakdown for the reason: “It is very important to have a good dimension and a redundant system so that this type of incident does not occur.”

One of the Nabiax data centers in Alcalá de Henares (Madrid).

In nabiax, with centers in Madrid and Barcelona, ​​confirm that they have not suffered any incidents either. Cesar Merino, head of the company’s data centers in Spain, explains d+i that its data centers are “designed to take into account the temperature of each region in which we operate. For example, The Barcelona region has a milder climate and higher relative outdoor air humidity than Madrid, especially in summer.,

He explains that in each of their infrastructures, they install equipment that allows operation above the full load limit. “These important tools are not only chillers and systems free coolingBut also transformers and generators“, this description. “In addition, each time we install equipment, we perform load tests simulating the most extreme temperature, 45 degrees.”

[Ubicación privilegiada y reclamos fiscales convierten a Madrid en la región deseada para los centros de datos]

A system that they monitor every year when summer comes to check that there are no incidents in a machine. “We have prepared contingency plans to be able to Troubleshoot critical cases when cold lead is found to reach 85% of IT capacity“, describes Merino.

equinox, with facilities in Barcelona, ​​Madrid and more important places in terms of high temperatures such as Seville, its services have not registered any breakdowns either. Its director of operations in Spain, Juan Romero, admits to the media that “loss data centers operate at a higher temperature than beforeThis reduces the use of cooling equipment in general, which also reduces the risk of breakage during heat waves.

In his case, he explains, these strange episodes have “brought a level of warmth to Spain that we are used to dealing with. Today, It is common for refrigeration units to be able to operate in ranges above 40°C without degrading their performance.,

Romero describes the design of its data centers as “the”. are suitable for Environmental requirements and extreme temperature changes of each locationIn addition to considering maintenance programs, its features include “solutions such as redundancy, flexible capacity distribution or physical constraints to control temperature”.

Energy saving

Another factor comes into play when designing a suitable cooling system for location and performance efficiency: energy cost. In the case of the data center that Social Security will be operational in a few months, its transfer to Soria would bring Economic and thermal savings that can reach between 50% and 60%According to a study by the Center for the Development of Renewable Energies CEDER-Ciemat.

Until now, it was located at the headquarters of the Social Security Information Technology Department (GISS) in Madrid, and its The cost of cooling was around 150,000 euros per month70% of maintenance cost.

[El consumo energético: el elefante en la habitación del auge de los centros de d(atos]

Asked about this question to the spokespersons of the companies of collocation (those who host others’ servers) who participated in this Grupo Array report confirm that the amount of the electricity bill depends somewhat on location: “In locations with low average annual temperatures, The cooling cost is about 30% of the total [de esa factura]Whereas in the hot regions of Spain, 50%”, contributes its director of engineering and technology.

From Nubiax they point out that most of the energy consumption comes from the servers installed in the technical rooms. ,To cool this load requires 45-50% more power consumption.“, Contributes the head of data centers, but without presenting figures on their cost.

Meanwhile, at Equinix, they’re exploring New high-efficiency refrigeration technologies“Those with high potential for thermal transfer of liquids are already in our work and development plans to maximize the energy consumption of our infrastructures”, adds its director of operations in Spain.

Ramon J. Espinoza