Keeping your IT Systems Cool
Temperatures are still hitting the 90s here in Colorado, so while you are fighting the heat with lemonade and portable fans that spritz you in the face, what are you doing to keep your IT systems cool?
Extreme heat can affect the performance or even damage the equipment in your server room, which means downtime for your business and perhaps loss of important data. Some businesses ignore the importance of keeping computers, server rooms, and network closets cool, but the IT experts here at Frontier IT in Colorado Springs assure that it is absolutely imperative, and should not be overlooked or underestimated.
Here are 5 tips for battling the heat:
Let your equipment breathe! IT Equipment, whether it be servers, desktops, or laptops, needs space. There should be at least 2-3 inches of open space between equipment. You will also want to make sure all vents are clear of obstruction, which in some cases may call for a vented stand. External fans for laptops are also a great idea on those extra hot days.
It is important that server rooms are extremely well ventilated with AC and centralized air systems. To check, you will want to perform an independent test of the AC, to ensure that the room measures to what the AC is set to. Internal temperature should be kept below 77 degrees F.
- SMART DESIGN
Ideally, a server room will be setup in such a way that the hot air generated by the equipment is faced in the opposite direction of the cold air entering. What this ends up looking like, in terms of server room design, is that are hot and cold aisles. “As previously mentioned, space between equipment is great for server rooms that don’t have hot/cold aisles,” says Kelly Karnetsky, our Director of Marketing here at Frontier IT. “However, if you are utilizing hot/cold isles, you actually want to eliminate any gaps so there’s no leakage of hot/cold air.”
To illustrate with three aisles, aisle 1 and 3 on either end would be cold–meaning that the front (cool end) of the equipment is facing these aisles. Aisle 2, in the middle, would be the aisle where the back (hot end) of the equipment from aisles 1 and 3 is facing. This heat would be pushed out of the vents by the cold air in the surrounding aisles. This is a smarter and more efficient design.
Other factors are to only have IT equipment in a server room (no clutter whatsoever!), remove any heat-emitting lights, and ensure your server room is closed off and well-sealed from the rest of your facility.
- COOLING EQUIPMENT
An AC may be enough for you on a hot day, but it may not be enough for your IT equipment. Your servers and devices work hard all day to perform numerous tasks, which takes a lot of power and electricity, thereby generating a lot of heat.
It is worth it, in addition to a solid central air system, to look into portable ACs to provide an extra burst of coolness to small and mid-size rooms. It is a good idea as well for these portable ACs to double has a dehumidifier, as low humidity can cause electrostatic discharge and high humidity can cause rust and corrosion. Ideal humidity levels are between 45-55 percent. Finally, you can also ask your IT professionals about precision cooling in areas that generate an excess of heat.
If there is dust and dirt and crumbs accumulating around your IT equipment, not only is it unsightly, it can be sucked into the fans and block the vents. This can diminish productivity of your fans, forcing them to overwork–plus the blocked vents can prevent heat from releasing.
Some tips for cleaning a server room include untangling cords, removing dust with a vacuum with HEPA filter and antistatic cleaning solution, and cleaning weekly with a dry mop. For computers and laptops, you can use products like Dust-Off to clean the internal fans.
- MONITORING SYSTEMS
So, all of your cooling equipment is in place, everything is tidy and clean, and the humidity levels are perfect. But what happens if the AC fails? Or the dehumidifier turns off? Will your IT professionals be alerted? Or will mayhem break loose until the systems power down?
It is very important that your server room has 24/7 environmental monitoring systems. This can alert your IT professional when temperatures spike, or when a cooling or dehumidifying unit stops working. This allows you to catch issues before they occur, rather than reaching for help after disaster strikes.
It is important all year round to keep your computers and server rooms cool and functioning at their best. To learn more, contact the IT experts here at Frontier IT at 719-888-HELP.