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3 Ways to Protect Server and Computer Rooms From Heat

How cost-effective is proper cooling in your server rooms and closets? Consider that an IT outage at your data center can cost upward of $7,900 per minute while your response team works to get you back online. If you fail to protect your server room or computer rooms from overheating, the costs to your business add up fast.

There are key ways to lower risks of overheating in your server and computer rooms. Here are three strategies to protect your company’s IT infrastructure.

1. Understand the Risks of Overheated Computer Rooms and Closets

Some central processing units (CPU) can handle maximum temperatures up to the 70 degree Fahrenheit range. Tougher processors can handle higher temps, but most units will begin having problems when the CPU is running higher than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

When servers and computers overheat, they have safeguards in place to shut their internal systems down. In theory, this process saves the servers and computers from damage. However, if you continually run servers and computers in overheated conditions, the cumulative damage can destroy hard drives and lower the lifespan of the processors.

In other words, improper cooling will kill your infrastructure. How expensive were your servers, computers, and other heat-sensitive IT components? Add up the cost to replace your data center set-up, and it makes economic sense to invest a fraction of that sum to provide proper air conditioning AC.

If you do nothing about an overheated computer or server room, expect:

  • Increased network downtime
  • Slow operating speeds
  • Random freezes and shut-downs
  • Loss of data

Eventually, the high heat will cause more than blue screens. Your system will crash and fail. The damage to a business reputation may be an unpleasant side effect of such a failure. The costs to repair and replace system components are a risk business owners must be prepared to take when they neglect to upgrade server- and computer-room cooling.

2. Practice Dedicated Thermal Management

No matter how jumbo-sized the HVAC unit in your office development may be, you can’t rely on your building’s main cooling system to protect your computer and server areas from overheating. If the temperatures in your server and computer rooms are not individually controlled, the thermostat settings chosen for the entire facility may not be low enough to protect your valuable IT equipment.

Staff may unwittingly turn off the main AC system after hours or on weekends and fry your network. If maintenance work must be done on the building’s main HVAC system, it could be shut down for hours or days. Without dedicated thermal management, your computers and servers are left unprotected.

To have dedicated thermal management in your server and computer rooms, view these areas like their own micro-climates. Install heat monitors throughout the spaces to track temperature 24/7 and alert key staff when temperatures are out of safe range. Choose and adjust computer and server cooling systems to meet the specific cooling needs of the rooms.

Develop redundant cooling systems to provide AC for your IT equipment. Some experts recommend installing two different AC units on separate breakers. With this system, use of the two units is alternated to give facility staff downtime for maintenance on the units to keep them in top shape.

3. Make the Best Use of the Space for Maximum Chill

In large rooms, you have more options for cooling equipment, and you have more airflow. Adequate air circulation is one of the keys to protecting your IT infrastructure from excessive heat and humidity.

If your server and computer rooms are at a loss for space, you may have to think outside the box for your cooling needs. With high-power-density cabinets consuming more than 10kW of power per rack, serious heat must be managed. Choose an equally serious AC unit for temperature protection in tighter spaces.

Some solutions to cool your small server and computer rooms include:

  • Ductless wall, window, and ceiling units
  • Rear-door cabinet coolers
  • Roof-mounted units

Remember to keep any AC unit at least four feet from servers, computers, and cables to avoid condensation damage. Because of the possibility of condensation damage via airborne humidity in small spaces, install sensors and dehumidifiers to keep the relative humidity of server and computer rooms in the midrange.

Aisle-containment systems are another approach to temperature management. These systems help save money in large rooms and help efficiently cool small rooms.

The hot-air containment systems direct hot air away from processors and toward room outflow vents. Cold-air containment involves directing chilled air toward working computers and servers so it isn’t dissipated throughout the room or mixed with the hot air produced by the equipment.

Contact the HVAC experts at Magnolia Plumbing, Heating & Cooling today to schedule an AC inspection or set up a maintenance agreement for your computer and server rooms. We install, repair, and service rooftop, ductless, and computer-room cooling systems throughout the Greater Washington D.C. region.

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