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Heat doesn't kill hard drives. Here's what does

  1. #1

    Posts : 21,859
    64-bit Windows 10

    Heat doesn't kill hard drives. Here's what does

    "Free-cooled" datacenters use ambient outside air instead of air conditioning. That lets us see how environment affects system components. Biggest surprise: temperature is not the disk drive killing monster we thought. Here's what is.

    At last months Usenix FAST 16 conference, in the Best Paper award winner Environmental Conditions and Disk Reliability in Free-cooled Datacenters, researchers Ioannis Manousakis and Thu D. Nguyen, of Rutgers, Sriram Sankar of GoDaddy, and Gregg McKnight and Ricardo Bianchini of Microsoft, studied how the higher and more variable temperatures and humidity of free-cooling affect hardware components. They reached three key conclusions:

    • Relative humidity, not higher or more variable temperatures, has a dominant impact on disk failures.
    • High relative humidity causes disk failures largely due to controller/adapter malfunction.
    • Despite the higher failure rates, software to mask failures and enable free-cooling is a huge money-saver.


    Datacenters are energy hogs. A web-scale datacenter can use more than 30 megawatts and collectively they are estimated to use 2 percent of US electricity production.

    Moreover, the chillers for water cooling and the backup power required to keep them running in a blackout are costly too. As the use of cloud services has grown, the cost of hyperscale datacenters has led to more experimentation such as free-cooling and higher operating temperatures.

    But to fully optimize these techniques, operators also need to understand their impact on the equipment. If lower energy costs are offset by higher hardware costs and downtime, it isn't a win.

    The study

    The researchers looked at 9 Microsoft datacenters around the world for periods ranging from 1.5 to 4 years, covering over 1 million drives. They gathered environmental data including temperature and relative humidity and the variation of each.

    Being good scientists, they took the data and built a model to analyze the results. They quantified the trade-offs between energy, environment, reliability, and cost. Finally, they have some suggestions for datacenter design...

    Read more: Heat doesn't kill hard drives. Here's what does | ZDNet

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    But! (there's always a BUT, right?)

    There are some PC hard drives that don't handle HEAT very well at all.

    Some years ago now, I had a WD hard drive fail on me one day, and when I reached in to unplug it, it burned my fingers!

    So I developed a little saying that seemed to apply...."A cool hard drive is a happy hard drive".
    And with that thought in mind, I started installing two-fan HD coolers on all my drives. I've never lost a drive since then.

    Then I discovered that when the cooler was screwed directly ON to the bottom of the HD, there was not enough space for the hot air to escape, so I raised the cooler UP with the 1/4" brass standoffs, used to mount motherboards, and cooling was greatly enhanced.

    Here's the coolest drive I've ever owned, with the Two-Fan drive cooler mounted under the drive with the little brass standoffs.

    I live in Florida and I have no central AC, so on a HOT summer day, it can get up to 100 degrees F, here at the PC, and yet that drive stays nice and cool, at least within normal operating temps.

    Here is a friend's COOL Drive, mounted in the bottom of his PC Case, with drive cooler attached.

    Stay cool, stay safe!
    Cheers Mates!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Heat doesn't kill hard drives. Here's what does

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