Highlighting the threat posed by noise and vibration to data centres, industry experts are calling for the need to pay greater attention to design features and to take mitigation measures with regard to fire-protection systems, the noise from which could damage sensitive components in data centres.
Speaking on the critical acoustical issues faced by data centres, Paul Schwarz, Chairman of Middle East Acoustic Society, said: “Some of the issues that data centres face are environmental noise and vibrations caused by road, rail, aircraft and industrial processes, located outside the data centre. These activities can affect the operational effectiveness and efficiency of the servers and very sensitive switch systems in data centres.”
Emphasising the need for proper design features, Schwarz added: “If the building and its individual floors and rooms are not isolated properly, then the potential for equipment damage and data loss is often so great that it is incalculable.”
Highlighting the threat posed by fire alarms and suppression systems to data centres, Miguel Coll, Director of Engineered Systems at Tyco, called for the need to install specialised equipment to mitigate noise. “The new generation of hard drives are more sensitive to noise and vibrations,” he said. “A source for noise that could affect data centres are fire-protection systems. Therefore, data centre owners need to ensure that fire alarms and suppression systems must not exceed 110 decibels, otherwise, it could affect the functionality of the hard drives.”
Speaking on available acoustic solutions, Coll added: “We have developed an acoustic calculation tool, which allows the input of the specific parameters of the room to channelise the acoustic energy that will be reaching the hard drives. The solution is designed to keep the acoustic footprint at the required levels where it is no longer harmful for the operations of hard drives. It can also decrease and predict the noise level of fire suppression system discharge in areas containing sensitive hard drives.”