Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Be prepared for a hot summer

The first warm days of 2009 have arrived this week, and hopefully we are in for a good summer this year. But is it good news for your computer room?

The last two summers, have been, to say the least, pretty dismal, giving your computer rooms a reprieve. Don’t be complacent this year, if we have a hot summer you’ll need to be prepared. The last very hot, and long summer was 2003. All that new kit that you have been installing since then will only make cooling your environment more difficult, especially if the amount of cooling available is barely sufficient.

So how can you prepare?

Take a good hard look at your IT environment. Do you have any windows? Windows in a computer room are the biggest problem. Do what you can to block the windows, whether it be with boarding or blackout blinds, it will help. Ideally your computer room should be well inside the centre of a building.

Check your installed devices. If they are in racks with a best practice hot aisle/cold aisle arrangement make sure that the equipment is installed correctly. You’d be amazed how often we find servers installed back to front with the hot air being blown into the cold aisle. If you have Cisco kit, it may have side to side cooling. Have you installed baffles to redirect the airflow?

Check your cabling. Is it blocking air flow? Do you have sufficient floor grills? You may have sufficient cooling on paper, but if the airflow is blocked, or the air can’t reach the front of the servers it will cause problems.

Do you have glass fronted cabinets? These are also bad news for air flow.

Finally, if the worst comes to the worst, do you know which non-critical devices can be shut down? Do you have development and testing servers that can be shut down, and do you have a plan in place to do this? Are you able to resources portable air conditioning units at short notice?

These are just a few of the things that can be done, which will not only help you to get though the summer, but will also save you money all year round. 2009 could be a very bad year for computer rooms. Getting your computer room in shape now is essential.

Migration Solutions are data centre specialists. They recently won the Information Age Data Centre Innovation Award for ERA, an environmental report and assessment. ERA investigates all the elements that affect a data centre's operation and gives advice on how to be more environmentally friendly, more efficient and save on energy consumption. As a pre-summer health-check, Migration Solutions can advise on how to prepare for an anticipated hot summer. For more information visit www.migrationsolutions.com

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