Weather Monitoring for Data Center Management

The relatively new field of DCIM (data center infrastructure management) employs weather monitoring to help manage operations, improve efficiency, and plan for the future. GoDaddy, a leader in internet domain sales and web hosting, and Vantage Data Centers both use weather stations from Columbia Weather Systems to accomplish these objectives.

Justin Harp, Director of Operations Engineering for Vantage, reports, "In the Data Center industry, accurate monitoring of weather conditions is crucial to operate the facility within ASHRAE specifications, while maintaining low PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness.)"

Vantage has several Orion Weather Stations installed at their Santa Clara, Calif., and Quincy, Wash., data center facilities. "The weather stations are connected locally to the HVAC control systems, as well as to HMI historian applications," Harp adds. "This allows real time control based on outside weather, and also historical data review when planning for operational capacity."

Data center environments are controlled based generally on ASHRAE standards. If outside air temperature, dew point, and relative/absolute humidity are within ASHRAE specifications, the HVAC control system will allow the mechanical system to bring in fresh outside air, instead of using mechanical cooling to control the data center temperature. "Direct measurement of local weather conditions allows the data center facility to take advantage of outside air economization, reducing cooling demand loads while maintaining equipment environmental operating conditions within specification," Harp explains. "Historical data from local weather stations also allows us to plan for economization days when building new facilities."

GoDaddy installed Orion Weather Stations at their Phoenix Data Center and Scottsdale corporate campus, with another ordered for their new state-of-the-art Global Technology Center in Tempe.

Real-time meteorological data can "trigger various economizing and humidity control functions in HVAC systems," says Derek Nelson, Mechanical Operator and Controls Administrator for Critical Facilities. "Additionally, it provides data for historical efficiency analysis and severe weather alerts to local and remote operating teams."

Both GoDaddy and Vantage interface their weather station sensors to BMS controllers via the Weather MicroServer which offers various industrial protocols as well as Internet monitoring capabilities.

Harp concludes, "Working with Columbia Weather Systems has been great for Vantage. They quickly respond to technical questions, and work well with us to insure the correct systems are ordered for each facility. Really has been a wonderful partnership for us."

For more information on professional weather monitoring, contact Columbia Weather Systems.

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