Cloud datacentre Engineer

It’s too darn hot… not really

I’m sat in the pleasant luxury of my air conditioned office looking down at the melting tarmac in the car park. In the tenements of Newark the residents have all the windows open trying desperately to catch a breath of air. Most people don’t move though occasionally we see groups of street kids running in and out of a fire hydrant that is spraying water into the street. Heatwave!!!

You know the scene. You’ve seen the movie. It applies to Newark Nottinghamshire just as much as Newark New Joisey. Except as I say, I’m all right Jack. My aircon is working perfectly and I take an occasional sip of a cool drink filled with ice to add that perfect foil to the temperature outside.

Letting the imagination flow a bit here. The weather got me thinking about the cooling system in our Newark datacentre. It’s based on free air cooling which means that it uses the ambient outside temperature to cool the inside of the DC when it is lower than the spec for inside. At this time of the year the air conditioning units are kicking in on a regular basis whereas for a big chunk of the year they lie dormant. They kick in when it’s 22 Degrees Centigrade outside.

I was hoping to show you a graph of the power consumption of an ac unit relative to outside temperature but I haven’t got one handily logged. What I do have are graphs showing the liquid temperature in the outside cooling units compared with the controlled inside temperature.

We expect to see wide swings in outside temperature as we go through 24 a hour period but the inside temperature needs to stay nicely within a narrow band. Interesting to see that you can probably identify the cloudy and therefore slightly cooler days in the Newark area from the lower peaks in outside temperature.

Outside temperature:


Inside temperature (different, narrower scale):

I can’t go out with my baby tonight cos it’s too darn hot… except I can 🙂

Business UC voip



It is important to be in control of your lives. Technology can help. For example with my Unified Communications service I can dictate who can reach me and when they can reach me.


I can specify for example that during family mealtimes the phone always goes to voicemail. Moreover this voicemail message can be caller dependant. ie the message you leave for your wife can be different to the one heard by work colleagues.


The greeting could even inform the caller that you are having a meal and give them the option of leaving a message or pressing a button to continue with the call. Clearly, armed with the information that you are eating, the caller can in this case decide whether his call is important enough to disturb you.


I’m sure that there will also be times when you absolutely would not want to be disturbed and this too is an option on the same system. You are in control.


Sometimes though it is better to exercise the ultimate control and that is done by pressing the “off” button.


This is what I did yesterday when I took the kids to the Lincolnshire Show. This is the annual agricultural festival that is the highpoint of the social calendar in Lincolnshire. If you have never been you should try it.


The Lincolnshire Showground is blessed with a natural off button. In other words there is no mobile phone coverage worth shaking a stick (or a handset) at.


No calls. No emails. All this happened on the day following the night of a major network capacity upgrade. It might have been a nervous time. Engineers don’t like change because it introduces risk. The Network Operations team were in control. The upgrade was perfectly planned and perfectly executed.


Not that the Lincolnshire Show was devoid of technology. The picture below shows one of the earlier innovations to hit the county.

 tref with traction

This second picture is nothing to do with technology.

It’s about good beer. As long as you stay in control …