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How to Plan an IT Server Room for a Small Business

April 27, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 321

A server computer is a large unit that serves desktop computer users' needs on a network. Several servers can be housed within an IT server room. When planning a server room for a small business, these are some of the essential considerations:

  • Room location at the business premises (e.g. avoid the basement, which can flood)
  • Room size (think about equipment noise levels and people movement - as a rule, the larger the room, the better)
  • The required amount of server computers, racks, wiring and cabling (a raised floor is best to accommodate these) and other associated equipment.
  • Power supply (decide how much power will be needed and how many power outlets
  • Good lighting
  • Software
  • Phone system
  • Adequate security and surveillance
  • Fire suppression facilities and smoke alarms
  • Entryways (these need to be big enough to get equipment in and out), and entrance security (to allow for controlled access)
  • Air conditioning, filtered ventilation, environmental monitoring (heat, humidity, etc.)

Design a floor plan. Measure the racks, UPS's (uninterruptible power supplies) and any other equipment that will be taking up floor space and make sure that you have adequate room for everything. Also leave plenty of room for when engineers need to get behind servers to work - a frequent occurrence.

Controlled access is important as an unauthorised employee could compromise the room's temperature accidentally, e.g. by switching off air con units. This could cause IT equipment to overheat. Only the Operations Manager and server room engineers should have right of entry to the room. Implement electronic badge or card access, and maintain a log of who has entered or exited the room.

Although air con appears last in the above bulleted list, it is as important as all the other considerations. The temperature in server rooms can often be 10°C higher than the rest of the building. This means the room can overheat quickly in summer.

More about temperature control

Server room equipment performance can quickly be affected if the temperature inside the room is not regulated. Although it is best to aim for a comfortable temperature of around 20°C, the most appropriate temperature will be governed by the room's size and the number of servers housed there.

Servers are kept cool by internal fans and by carefully-managed external temperature control (cool air from fixed air con system). But these can fail. That is why the following two 'essentials' must be added to a server room planner's list, before the room becomes operational:

1.A controlled access policy for the room, as already mentioned, and 2.An air con system failure contingency plan

Allow for growth

Planning this type of room from scratch allows a small business to get everything right from day one. But it can be surprising how many businesses fail to place enough importance upon server room air con. Wise server room planners not only make air con a priority, they also formulate a contingency plan with an air con hire company that offers a 24/7, all-year-round emergency call-out service. In a crisis, rented air con units can be on site and up-and-running quickly, with little or no disruption to normal server room operations.

The wisest planners of all are those with the foresight to also factor future business expansion into their plans. They ensure their dedicated server room will be big enough to accommodate more servers (and personnel) later, rather than having to begin the entire server room planning process all over again, when the time comes.

Andrews Sykes is the UK's largest specialist portable air conditioning hire company, with over 25 years' experience. Andrews Sykes serves the small business market using machinery sourced from the world's top manufacturers.

For more information please visit Andrews Sykes

Source: EzineArticles
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