The downside to free cooling? It's problematic in a major dust storm. Data centers in Sydney and Brisbane have shut off external ventilation systems after a major dust storm swept across both cities, reports Australia's IT News. The red dust obscured visibility and coated the cities with dust.
Macquarie Telecom said it has shut off its ventilation systems to prevent dust from entering the data center, and also made some changes in the management of its fire alarm systems to prevent dust in the air from triggering a deployment of fire suppression gas. Colocation provider ac3 said it had also limited access to its loading dock to prevent dust from blowing into the facility. Several providers said they expected to be thoroughly cleaning air conditioning equipment to address any dust accumulation. See IT News for the full story.