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New Guidelines Aim to Chill Servers

Will a new set of guidelines help data centers stay cool -- and safe?

The priorities of IT staff and facilities engineers are notorious for not being aligned -- leading to downed servers and wasted energy -- but a new set of guidelines and a rating system hope to solve that.

Called "thermal reports," the guidelines from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) will be applied to products like servers, storage, and switches, and will rate components' heat output, nominal and maximum air flow, weight and dimensions, air flow pattern type, components configuration, and environmental class, all divided into five product classes.

The data center management business is famous for conflicts and problems associated with heat and power management. The question is whether these standards will take the lead in improving the situation.

Here's a typical scenario according to Don Beaty, chairman of Atlanta-based ASHRAEs technical committee on mission-critical facilities:

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