There's advice everywhere, whether on ServerFault or TechRepublic or any other web source you may have googled for, there is someone always giving you a 1001 tips on how to do your job best. Often these "How-To" tips are formulated for those with big budgets to spend from equipment to monthly recurring costs. However, not everyone can adhere to these perfect guidelines when there are budgetary constraints. The dilemma on how best to serve your server room with such constraints comes down to 3 simple commandments:
(1) Thou Shalt Not Build Before Assessment of Space
The best place to start is to assess the overall space. There's no better way than that to decide how to fit cables, wires, racks, cabinets, patch panels, cooling units, and any other mission critical equipment. By observing the overall layout, you will want to look for where walls, windows, and doors are located as well as air ducts. Then decide how to best use the space, you can get better energy efficiency as well as less hot aisles! Also don't forget to keep your wires neat and color coded for the future!
(2) Thou Shalt Not Stack Upon Stack
Your equipment is expensive, not flapjacks, let's not stack them. Sure this faux-pas has been done often using server rails. Yes, they are often necessary when your space is the size of a child's closet; however, the answer is not to stack them directly on top of each other. Your equipment is holding precious data or running mission critical events, the last thing you want to do is to overheat your equipment and cause failure.
This offense is not only seen using server rails but all over the place in a server room. It's definitely a no-no to leave small pieces of equipment on top of a hot rack or cabinet. There's a reason we give them aisle spacing, it's important not to stack upon your rack, especially when there is not enough air circulation going on. Beware of dust collecting as well, the last thing you want is a dust bunny getting caught in the exahust of your server.
(3) Thou Shalt Not Skimp on the Cooling
As cool as raised flooring maybe, not everyone can afford it and not just any builder can do it. However, there is a variety of air conditioners available on the market that are cost-effective and energy efficent as well! Since ASHRAE raised the limits on running server equipment from 68°F to 85°F before things really start to go bad in your server room, it is possible to run your equipment at higher temperatures. By doing so and not skimping on cooling, one can run at high prpoductivity without fear of losing data as long as their air conditioning is running.
But what happens when the air conditioner goes out? That's when things start to go bad especially when your equipment is running at higher productivity thus producting more heat. Without cooling, mission critical equipment failure could occur, or even worse, server room fire. Although they are rare, make sure you have a fire supression system; But I would not not immediately opt for the water sprinkler system since your server room equipment was not made for such aqueous activities.
The most cost effective and best protection you can provide for your server room on a budget is to monitor for temperature. That way you can be alerted to changes in raising temperature before it's too late. After all it's better to be safe than sorry.
Is your server room or do you know of someone's server room that is not being monitored for temperature? Are you concerned with energy consumption, ability to monitor off-hours, and/or preventing mission critical equipment from failure? If you or know someone who is experiencing such issues, we want to hear form YOU!
We will be giving away ONE FREE USB DEVICE per month to the server room with the most need! Valued at $129.99,Temperature@lert USB Edition is a low-cost, high-performance device that monitors the ambient temperature in your server room and alerts you via email when the temperature rises or falls outside your acceptable range.
Enter here or please send a brief description, pictures, and/or videos to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration! Our team will select one winner each month based on description and need, because we firmly believe that companies in every industry should take a proactive stance in monitoring temperatures to avert disasters.