We began covering the Wild Server Project a week ago. This is an initiative where standard data center volume servers are set to run outdoors, with no artificial environmental protection whatsoever. The intent is to demonstrate (and explore) the extent to which not only free cooling is viable, but also stripping most of the data center facility provisions responsible for so much energy consumption.
The Wild Server Project has been online for just a week, with its first test unit, an HP DL380 G4 (named Ashley) still running strong.
During this week, Ashley has already been exposed to some rather striking environmental conditions,… striking in that for most data center operators these would be unthinkable conditions. For example, during the first week of the mission, the server has been in a rain storm. It has experienced temperature variations of over 30 degrees F in the course of one day, as well as relative humidity variations of over 60%. In one day, the relative humidity hovered above 80% for the majority of a day.
All well you may say, but this certainly clobbers the server’s reliability X-Factor. Perhaps, say the project champions, but in certain cases the reduced life span may make good financial sense against the savings of energy and facility costs. How much of a reduced life span? We shall see as the project progresses with this as well as other servers introduced to the endurance test.