Server rooms are at the heart of IT operations, and in order to prevent hardware malfunction and system failure, proper operation and setup is critical.
Unfortunately, in an enclosed space of a server room, the generated heat from equipment can quickly increase the ambient temperature beyond equipment specifications. The life and reliability of machines are compromised, and other disastrous results can follow, including:
- System crashes
- Random reboots
- Overall poor performance
Environmental Conditions of Server Rooms
Computer equipment ages quicker when hot, and for individual machines such as home or office desktops, the internal fans and cooling mechanisms are often sufficient at keeping temperatures within safe operating limits. However, in data centers and server rooms, this may not be the case. Modern server equipment generates enormous amounts of heat, and today's machines run faster and hotter. Moreover, server rooms may even be prone to "hot spots" which can build up behind equipment racks or near larger machines, and if not addressed, this can cause premature failures.
Increased humidity levels can also affect your server room because high humidity levels can damage equipment by causing corrosion and rust. Therefore, preventing humidity changes and variations is imperative in order to avoid environmental conditions where there may be excess condensation, so the optimal humidity levels for a server room or data center should range from 40 to 55 percent.
Lastly, another problem that can plague server rooms is insufficient airflow often due to the server room's design. As such, all of these environmental temperature problems and fluctuations usually call for the installation of separate cooling systems.
Portable Air Conditioner Buying Tip
Never use a swamp cooler in a server room - only a portable AC. The moisture expelled by a swamp or an evaporative cooler can damage equipment.
Why Buy a Server Room Air Conditioner?
When it comes to computer server rooms, keeping temperatures and the overall environment controlled must occur twenty four hours a day due to constant heat generation. Relying on central air conditioning systems is not possible due to the fact that most systems are prone to shutoffs during weekends. Moreover, central air conditioners are complex appliances that have been known to suddenly fail. Window air conditioners aren't an option either, as most server rooms are usually not near windows. Instead, they are often located in interior rooms, which presents a cooling dilemma for many customers.
Thankfully, portable air conditioners are ideal for keeping server rooms at the right temperatures because they have the ability to cool office spaces and computer rooms that house heat-generating electronics. This prevents computer networks, communications, and office equipment from shutting down when temperatures rise.
As self-contained units, one of the biggest benefits of a portable AC is the fact that permanent installation is not necessary. In fact, almost all models include rolling casters that allow you to move the unit from one area to the next, making cooling server room hot spots especially easy.
Nonetheless, server rooms can't be cooled by just any type of model. An ideal server room air cooler must have the following features:
- Automatic restart function - an automatic restart function is imperative in a server room air conditioner because it will help keep the unit running continuously, even in the case of power failure. In other words, you can still keep your equipment cool even at night or on the weekends when central cooling is not available, and in the event of a power outage, the air conditioner will resume operation once the power is restored without you having to reset the controls manually.
- Ventilation system to displace hot air - server rooms must have a means to expel heat from the server room. As mentioned above, many server rooms are located within the interior of a building, and furthermore, window air conditioners can't be used because of the security risk presented by an open window. The ideal type of air conditioner for server rooms uses a vent hose to push air out through a drop ceiling or wall.
- Condensation tank - a server room's atmosphere requires low humidity levels because too much moisture will cause damage to machinery. However, because air conditioner units act as dehumidifiers and whisk moisture away from the air, this condensate is collected into a condensation tank or bucket.