Vertiv Offers Tips for Data Centers to Withstand Heat Waves

Record-breaking heat waves make headlines and strain economies globally. Beyond the impact on human lives, extreme heat takes a major toll on data center operations and infrastructure, from outages and disruptions at data centers in the United Kingdom to reduced production at power plants in France to concerns over water usage in drought-affected areas in the United States.

Vertiv, a provider of critical digital infrastructure and continuity solutions, has issued recommendations to data center operators and associated businesses to help them navigate these challenges.

To keep systems cool and ensure data center availability, Vertiv experts recommend these actions:

  • Depending on the data hall load, run as many units as possible to reduce the load on each cooling unit. Typically, an organization would run all redundant units, but if the IT load is not 100 percent, one should run enough units to get the per-cooling unit as close as possible. This keeps the refrigerant pressures lower so there is not a risk of trips on high pressure with the high ambient temperature. It also provides a more efficient operating point.
  • Schedule a regular maintenance plan. Vertiv recommends customers schedule preventive maintenance quarterly. For compressor-based (DX) units, Vertiv recommends quarterly or more frequent cleaning of the condenser coils. The lack of proper and regular cleaning of the condenser coil can cause more of a reduction in the overall thermal unit capacity than the ambient temperature.

“The unprecedented temperatures we’re seeing across the globe are putting increased pressure on data center operators and infrastructure providers, challenging them to maintain reliability and connectivity,” said Steve Madara, vice president for thermal sales at Vertiv. “Extreme weather events underscore the importance of a robust preventive maintenance and cleaning plan, tailored to the specific conditions of an operator’s region. Data center operators may need to be prepared for operating expense trade-offs to compensate for oversizing capacity. Partnering with a qualified data center services provider is important in order to create a maintenance and services plan that will meet the demands of today’s heat waves and tomorrow’s uncertain climate.”

As the planet warms and the climate crisis intensifies, extreme heat events will become more commonplace. Short-term actions will need to be accompanied by more long-term, systemic changes in the industry.

“As an industry, we should look to and learn from regions like the Middle East, Africa and Australia, which have already adapted to high temperatures for much of the year,” Madara said. “When we do, it’s clear the status quo won’t carry us into the future. We need to reassess rooftop space planning and design our data center infrastructures to withstand higher heat loads, rethinking the placement of infrastructure systems in addition to capacity.”

Other long-term action best practices and advice from Vertiv experts include:

  • Consider different types of cooling systems, including immersion cooling, water-free cooling and evaporative free cooling systems designed to deliver reliability and efficiency in high-temperature environments.
  • If relying on solar cells as an energy source, account for the reduction of the efficacy of solar cells as ambient temperatures increase.
  • Rather than solely relying on historical data to determine data center capacity – data that fails to account for today’s extreme temperatures – use predictive modeling.

Organizations seeking an audit of their data center cooling system or with questions about business continuity and data center preventive maintenance during extreme heat events can reach out to Vertiv experts by visiting