IT stress test aims to prove systems are tough

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A Trinity Health IT engineer keeps systems that reside in a generator shed running, despite fluctuating temperatures and dusty conditions

Since January, David Filas, a data center engineer at Trinity Health, has been running decommissioned servers, networking gear and storage systems in a simple generator shed on the grounds of the healthcare provider's headquarters in Novi, Mich.

Filas hopes that by January 2012, this project will have convinced his colleagues that IT equipment isn't as fragile as they think it is.

So far, the equipment has stayed up and running, enduring Michigan's wide seasonal variations in temperature and humidity levels, Filas said at the Afcom data center conference in Orlando last month.

Like their counterparts at other organizations, IT administrators at Trinity Health, which runs 47 hospitals and other facilities in 10 states, are reluctant to raise temperatures in data centers. But Filas said he wants his staff to be more comfortable with higher temperatures. "They get nervous when I dial up the temperature, even to the mid-70s," he said. "I'm trying to dispel the myth among my own staff that it has to be [65 degrees], because it doesn't."

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