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What’s the worst power and cooling data center environment ever? It may have been the one that Mark Melvin, CTO of Washington, D.C., IT solution provider ePlus and power and cooling specialist, saw.

“It was in a boiler room, and it was raining outside. When the fan kicked on, it blew rain onto the racks,” he said.

But even though he’s seen no one else abuse and neglect their data center servers like this – so much so that you wish there were some kind of Server Protective Services Agency out there to report that server guardian to — Melvin says that most power and cooling environments in data centers can be improved upon unless they have been updated in the last few years.

Sometimes a quick and easy change can even make a difference — for instance, changing the air flow in particular aisles just by changing the ducting.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense to blow cold air into hot aisles,” Melvin says. “And it’s a real simple thing to fix.”

In other cases, simple equipment upgrades can make a huge difference and even pay for themselves. Melvin points to an instance recently when he told a customer running older servers that they could realize ROI in four months in power and cooling alone just by upgrading the servers.

“The CIO at first was a little skeptical,” says Melvin. “But they are now realizing about $20,000 a month in power and cooling savings.”

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