Heatwave spells disaster for data servers

Published: 3-Aug-2022

Cloud-based data services powered by liquid immersion cooling technology ‘vital’ to protecting health services in the heatwave, experts say

The temperature across the UK last month broke records, but it’s likely that another record was also broken – for the highest number of nationwide data server failures due to overheating.

That is according to cloud and data specialist, PeaSoup, which reports that it was almost inevitable that the legacy technology used in many healthcare organisations wouldn’t stand up to the record temperatures.

One of those impacted was Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London which had to cancel operations as doctors were unable to access patient records after both of its data centres ceased functioning when their air conditioning units failed.

And tech giants, Google and Oracle, suffered outages as cooling systems failed at their London data centres.

The outage at Guy’s and St Thomas’ was declared a ‘critical site incident’ by the trust, and resulted in patients being asked to bring letters or other paperwork about their conditions to any appointment.

Art Malinowski, head of marketing at PeaSoup, explained that sensors on IT servers are set for a certain temperature limit and, if the threshold is exceeded, the systems simply shut down to prevent permanent damage.

And he advised switching to cloud-based data services powered by eco-friendly and high-performance liquid immersion cooling technology which significantly reduces the risk of system failures – as well as cutting carbon emissions in line with government targets.

He told BBH: “Depending on the organisation the consequences of a system failure could be catastrophic – especially in healthcare, for example.

“The failure itself can often be rectified quickly, but data migration and getting to the stage of systems readiness can take some time.

“Guy’s and St Thomas’ was still struggling two days after the failure.”

Legacy systems pose a major threat as they cannot stand up to high temperatures

Legacy systems pose a major threat as they cannot stand up to high temperatures

PeaSoup is pioneering liquid immersion cooling technology across the UK, with temperature sensors set to the same level whatever the cooling method.

Malinowski said: “With further heatwaves predicted, we advise any organisation relying on legacy technology to rethink its data storage strategy as a priority.

“Rising temperatures and increasing computer chip power both necessitate huge cooling resources and there are limits to how far the outdated technology can be adapted to meet these new demands year after year.

“Liquid immersion cooling is an innovative emerging solution that genuinely answers the corporate social responsibility dilemma for data storage, back-up, and recovery for the data-reliant business.”

He added: “We’re confident that legacy data centres will soon start to be superseded by more-robust systems as data-driven organisations, in particular, see the benefits of switching to a super-green solution that eliminates the likelihood of failure due to overheating.

“We’re living through climate change right now and I’d say to any organisation relying on datacentres to get ahead of the game.

“Don’t wait until the next freak heatwave, take action now to protect your organisation and the people it serves.”

Liquid immersion cooling provides temperature stability, improves the reliability and efficiency of IT servers, extends lifespan by up to 40%, and reduces the need for replacement of IT parts.

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