IT Operations

What the heatwave means for IT infrastructure

Amidst heat warnings across the US, IT Brew catches up with IT pros to chat about the impact on hardware, infrastructure, and IT operations.
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Francis Scialabba

3 min read

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.

Even if you’ve been cooped up in the office answering help desk requests, you’ve likely felt the effects of scorching temperatures across the US—more than 100 million people were affected by heat warnings on July 8, according to the Guardian. But what does the heatwave have to do with hardware, infrastructure, and IT operations? IT Brew caught up with IT pros to find out.

Spencer Kimball, co-founder and CEO of Cockroach Labs, “a software company that develops a cloud-native SQL database for modern cloud” apps, told IT Brew that infrastructure is “impacted by extreme weather events.”

“Sometimes that can mean that things like hurricanes, certainly heatwaves, can put a lot of stress on the grid that’s providing the power, or on the cooling systems that are critical for keeping this infrastructure up and running, because obviously, there’s a lot of heat that’s put off in these data centers,” Kimball said.

He also noted AI’s role in “increasing the energy consumption.” Vox reported in March that “AI already uses as much energy as a small country.”

“We’re definitely looking down the barrel of ever more strain on infrastructure, both the software infrastructure, the hardware infrastructure, and the energy, networking infrastructure that connects all these data centers,” he said, adding that “these risks are increasing.”

Keren Noy, an IT specialist at Atera, a software company with an AI-powered IT management platform, told IT Brew that the heat waves are troubling, as people in the industry are faced with more challenges than ever before.

“Overheating can cause hardware components to overheat and even cause system crashes over time,” she said. “And repeated exposure to high temps can reduce system lifespans,” Noy said, noting that her department has seen an increase in temp monitoring lately.

To mitigate some of the crises that could arise due to heat waves and other natural events, Kimball said IT managers may want to consider going “multi-region,” noting that it’s also important to know what types of “contingencies your cloud provider [is] prepared to weather in the region that you’re running your application.”

“I think most of the big public clouds are pretty good at this, right?” he said. “They’ve got defense in depth, they’ve got backup generators that are local. They’re not just relying on the power from the grid.”

Taking a multi-cloud approach has its advantages. A vendor can “lose a region” due to a disaster, Kimball said, “and their application can stay up without having any kind of disaster recovery.”

“It’s just resilient to those kinds of failures,” he said.

Top insights for IT pros

From cybersecurity and big data to cloud computing, IT Brew covers the latest trends shaping business tech in our 4x weekly newsletter, virtual events with industry experts, and digital guides.