By Pushkala Iyer, Daniel Chappelear, Balamurugan Gnanasam


Dell 12th Generation PowerEdge Servers now empower you with more choices regarding cooling infrastructure that allow you to achieve significant operational savings per megawatt (MW) per year. Dell servers, storage units or network switches with Fresh Air capability give you greater flexibility in regulating the operating temperature in data centers, a best practice that can help increase energy efficiency and decrease operational costs by eliminating the need for chillers.

What is Fresh Air Cooling? “Fresh Air” Cooling is an industry initiative to cool the data center by bringing outside air directly inside.

To take advantage of this initiative, the latest 12G Dell Power Edge Servers have been developed for operation at temperature ranges from -23⁰F (5⁰C) to 113⁰F (45⁰C) and humidity from 5% to 90%. Dell Servers with Fresh Air technology can tolerate up to 900 hours of 104°F (40°C) operation per year and up to 90 hours at 113°F (45°C).

When a system is in “Fresh Air” environment, it is expected that there will be times at which the system may be operating above the normal ambient operating range.  Systems and configurations that support this mode of operation are known as “Fresh Air Compliant”.

On 12th Generation servers, Dell makes it easy to do the following:

  • Check if the server is “Fresh Air Compliant”: This can be done via the iDRAC7 UI, RACADM or WSMAN interfaces.
  • Monitor the server’s operating time in an environment above normal thresholds: There are two separate temperature ranges as can be seen in the screen shot below :

a)      warning range (area above the yellow line)

b)      critical range (area above by the red line)

  • Receive Events / Notification when Warning / Critical Thresholds are crossed: iDRAC sends SNMP and/or email events when a server is approaching or has exceeded the acceptable amount of time operating in the warning or critical bands.  For example, if the server spent more than 10% of the time above the warning level or more than 1% of the time above the critical level during a year , appropriate events are sent out.
  • View the Thermal History of 1 year on iDRAC GUI/CLI:  The iDRAC user interface can display historical thermal data by the year, month or day and it can indicate how much time was spent above the 10% and 1% operating levels during these periods. The GUI also shows the average and peak temperature data as well.  The duration of time spent above warning or critical thresholds can also be retrieved using RACADM. Below is a screenshot of the iDRAC GUI of thermal history for the last day:


  • Export the Thermal History for up to 7 years: The entire thermal history for a period of 7 years can be exported to XML and CSV formats from the iDRAC UI, RACADM and WSMAN.


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