Server Room Climate Control
Temperature/Climate Control in Your New Server Room
Protecting your servers involves more than housing them in a proper server room, these pieces of equipment are highly sensitive to temperature and humidity changes. They also happen to generate a significant amount of heat and noise. Ensuring the continuity and longevity of your server operations requires putting up the best environment possible for such equipment. Let's start with air conditioning. The air conditioning capacity of your server room will depend on the size of the room, number of people operating in the room, lighting, pieces of electrical equipment operating in the room and the subsequent heat given off by each piece of equipment. The amount of heat generated by these factors is called heat gain or heat load, and this is measured in either British Thermal Units (BTU) or Kilowatts (KW). 1KW is equivalent to 3412BTUs.
Calculating Your Server Room's Heat Output
To calculate the heat load for the dimensions of your server room, use the following formula: Room Area BTU = Length (m) x Width (m) x 337. To calculate the heat load for the number of people that may be working inside the server room for extended periods, use the following formula: Total Occupant BTU = Number of occupants x 400. However, if your server room is practically empty most of the time, you can do away with this calculation. The most significant amount of heat that can be generated inside your server room will come from your equipment. Add up all the wattages for routers, switches, and servers and multiply their sum by 3.5, the formula is Equipment BTU = Total wattage for all equipment x 3.5. Next add up the total wattage of all lights used in the server room and multiply by 4.25, the formula being Lighting BTU = Total wattage for all lighting x 4.25. Sum up all the BTUs to get the total heat load: Total Heat Load = Room Area BTU + Windows BTU + Total Occupant BTU + Equipment BTU + Lighting BTU.
Server Room Air Conditioning Options
If you have a larger data center, you might want to consider air conditioning options other than duct distribution. An under floor air distribution system is a good option and look for chilled water-based air conditioning. It is also vital for your room to have an independent air conditioning system that is not connected to the main cooling system. An independent air conditioning system gives your server room an independent thermostat that accurately adjusts cooling and humidity depending on the ambient temperature of the room. The recommended temperature for your server room is 72°F (±2°F) with relative humidity measured at 45% (±5%). Give a minimum clearance of at least 4 feet between the air conditioning unit and your server racks, this will minimize damage from water leaks should they occur and adequate access for maintenance. Another important consideration is redundancy. If your budget allows for it, get a backup cooling system and put up procedures for systems shutdown for any change in the environmental conditions in your server room.
Another important consideration is the air flow for your server racks. Open frame racks such as the 41U Kendall Howard Server Rack Frame offered by Global 1 Resources allows for easy installation and maximizes air flow. Global 1 Resources also offers vented server shelves that allow your equipment to breathe and stay cool while keeping them organized.
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