Best Practices For Cooling Your Server Room

From larger computing corporations to local SMEs, one of the many demands derived from the use of servers, networking gear and storage hardware is constant need to regulate its temperature.

Speaking on the problems excess heat can cause SMEs whose servers run considerable loads for long periods, AMI-Partners Inc analyst, Anil Miglani mentioned that “it is not uncommon to find people complaining about unavailable services during late evening or weekends, [resulting in] in lost productivity.”

So, how do you prevent the loss in productivity incurred by improper cooling, let alone the myriad of other consequences it brings? Given there have been many examples of unintentional neglect (for instance, installing correct air conditioning systems within improperly sealed rooms or neglecting to cool server rooms overnight), putting your servers in risk of failure is easily done. As a result, we have outlined some best practices you can adopt to make sure you avoid a large outage, data loss or the need to replace an entire system.

Proper Arrangement: A simple, yet often overlooked best practice is the well-considered arrangement of servers. To ensure optimum air conditioning efficiency and to prevent damage to your servers, they should be arranged as such that cold air enters through the front and is expelled through the back. It is also recommended that you keep the doors to the room closed and ensure that you have a redundant system in place to kick-in in the unlikely event that your primary air conditioning system goes down.

Avoiding “Comfort Air Conditioning”: A great tip, particularly applicable to rooms of under 500 square feet, is to avoid the use of what Bob Spengler, product manager for Liebert Precision Cooling, regards as “comfort air conditioning”. This refers to the use of air conditioning designed for the comfort of people. The problem with adopting this approach, as outlined by Spengler, is that cooling equipment needs to be specifically designed for computers and offer adequate temperature and humidity controls.

In using comfort air conditioning to cool server rooms, you run the risk of water damage due to condensation or damage from static electricity. Also, in a practicality sense, the operating costs incurred by dedicated equipment cooling air conditioners are up to 50% less expensive than those designed for people.

Control The Airflow:

Naturally, with increased control over the air in your server room, comes less unwanted surprises. In order to better control airflow, it is best to seal off the space where equipment operates. This means ensuring that windows and doors are closed and that any missing tiles, for instance, are repaired to prevent air escaping. Opening windows actually negates your control over the humidity of the room, potentially causing unwanted damage. This could also affect the temperature of the room and remember; every 18 degrees Fahrenheit above 70 degrees reduces electronics’ reliability by 50 percent.

You should also address the details: space under doors and entrance points where pipes comes through walls, for instance, are likely to cause the escape of cool air.

Whilst these best practices are vital for the on-going maintenance of fully functional servers and equipment, the fact stands that without the correct tools for the job, you’ll never be able to adequately control the climate within your server rooms. Fortunately, we at Rapid Climate Control can arm you with the right equipment.

Now, we know that you might not be experts in all things climate control related; that’s our job, not yours. That is why we have created a handy calculator tool, designed to guide you toward making the right investment in the right solution for cooling your servers.