Intel: server component life shortens due to environmental pollution
Very interesting results of their research regarding the life of the servers were presented by Intel. The study itself was conducted in the Asia-Pacific region, where the level of environmental pollution is very high. And since more and more data centers are using a system for cooling equipment with outside air, where the level of atmospheric pollution is quite high, such “dirty” air leads to a reduction in the service life of individual server components and entire servers.
There is a banal corrosion of parts. The company decided to conduct the study itself after comparing the level of equipment returns from the Asia-Pacific region with that of other regions. In the first case, there were much more returns, and Intel experts drew attention to such a discrepancy. After conducting additional analytical work, it turned out that the server components from the Asia-Pacific region were severely corroded. A similar level of equipment corrosion was observed only in industrial enterprises with a high level of air pollution. All this was noticed about two years ago, and in the end it was decided to conduct an investigation that would clarify the situation.
Usually, the equipment that is installed in the data centers lasts much longer than the one that works in industrial complexes, and where an external air cooling system is used. There was only one conclusion - in the problem region, the level of air pollution is so great that such a cooling system leads to corrosion of equipment even outside enterprises, in relatively clean regions. It is worth noting that in China and India, the situation is getting worse because the atmosphere is humid and the temperature is high. Thus, the level of corrosion of electronic components is already high, and if atmospheric pollution is added, the level of corrosion increases significantly.
Since previous testing methods did not take into account the levels of atmospheric pollution that are observed in India and China, the level of corrosion of the components was much higher than expected.
It is worth noting that existing tests and industry standards are based on lower levels of air pollution than those found in the Asia-Pacific region. “We found that the standards of the 80s are simply not applicable to the situation that is observed in India and China. And we found out that we simply do not have methods for checking equipment that would be relevant for these countries. Usually we do millions of checks for our equipment, but we had to come up with additional tests that are unique, ”Anil continues.
In order to prove the proposed point of view, it was decided to conduct an experiment (by the way, about 300 thousand dollars were spent on it). In the company's dedicated laboratories in the USA, Oregon, and Hillsborough, the company's specialists built a chamber through which mixed gas flows passed and where server components were tested for strength.
“We needed to check our components for work in aggressive environments, and make sure that Intel products are resistant to negative factors such as environmental pollution. The goal of our study is to find out how high temperature, humidity and various levels of air pollution affect the performance of the equipment, ”says Anil Kurella, engineer for the analysis of malfunctioning situations.
The camera allowed specialists to experience various types of atmospheric pollution typical of industrial regions. At the same time, the corporation decided to test both its own equipment and equipment of other manufacturers.
As it turned out, the main problem is sulfur - or rather, not it itself, but sulfur compounds emitted into the atmosphere by industrial enterprises. These are mainly hydrogen sulfide and sulfur oxides.
Now, based on the results, a team of specialists from Intel is trying to develop new standards for industrial equipment, as well as equipment that is supplied to the Asia-Pacific region. Work in this direction is still ongoing, and the first results are expected within a year. “We are trying to create new standards. We also try to attract other companies to our work. We can publish the results of the study, which, we hope, will lead to the manifestation of changes in the field of creating server components, ”said Anil Kurella.
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