Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Why monitor humidity in computer rooms?

Temperature sensors are our number one selling sensors. No doubt about that.

Last week we tried to explain the difference between ambient temperature monitoring and monitoring the temperature inside a rack, where your systems operate.

The fact that one is doing temperature monitoring is a big leap forward. Temperature is the threat we are most familiar with: entering a boiling server room when the airco unit went down - a familiar sight for many people.

A less visible threat to your equipment is humidity. Less visible also means more neglected; people omit to consider the danger of humidity related to their equipment.

There are 2 threats posed by humidity:
- ESD or Electrostatic buildup and discharge
- Corrosion

Everyone is familiar with corrosion: let metal stay in the rain and you will see it appears. With high humidity levels slowly your components could start showing signs of corrosion resulting in permanent loss of systems and potentially data too.

A low humidity level is a big contributor to the risks of ESD in a computer room, server room or data centre. Industry experts have determined that the risk of ESD increases the lower humidity is and the cooler the room is. Finding the right balance is tricky.

What are the recommended humidity ranges? Most strict ranges advocate humidity between 40% and 60%

Higher than 60% and corrosion may appear. Lower than 40%, ESD is your main ennemy.

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