Moisture on Your Servers?

It’s something we’ve all been taught from a young age: water and electricity don’t mix. So you would be forgiven for thinking that an arid data centre would be the best environment for your servers, when actually a certain level of moisture must be maintained in order to keep your data centre running smoothly. 

Moisture levels 

If the air in your data centre is too dry, it can create static discharges, which can fry your circuitry, wiping your servers and causing huge damage and significant downtime. This happens because in a dry environment static energy cannot dissipate harmlessly into the air like it can in a humid environment. Instead it builds up at its site of origin, IE the server components. Eventually it builds up so much that it discharges across the circuitry, the power spikes strong enough to damage key components. 

With an overly moist environment in your data centre, the problems are simpler. The water vapour will reach the dew point, and will condense into droplets all over your data centre, covering everything with water, again causing huge damage.

What Is Dew Point?

With warm air and high humidity in your data centre, you need to be aware of the dew point, basically the temperature that the water vapour will turn into a liquid. If you go below this point then water droplets will begin to form on your data centre’s circuitry. If you’re worried about potential moisture contamination or just want peace of mind, there are a large amount of sensors available to monitor your moisture levels and any potential water leaks.

Humidity in data centres
It can be estimated using this simple calculation: Dew Point Temperature = Temperature – ((100 – humidity)/5)

(Where temperature is in °C and humidity is in %)

So for example, if your data centre cooling and environmental systems are set at 21°C with 50% humidity, we can see that the dew point will be around 11°C.

Therefore, you will need to ensure that your data centre is also kept sufficiently humid, a relative humidity of between 30% - 70% is advised, and a dew point range of 5–15°C.

Both your data centre cooling systems and your humidifier will be hooked up to an EMS, that is, an Environmental Monitoring System, which will oversee your data centre, and control these systems, ensuring that both the air temperature and moisture are kept within your specified limits, and will warn you should things go wrong.

If you’d like more information on data centre environments,
contact us on 01993 774444 or email and see how we can help.