Air conditioning when used within the server room environment requires an even temperature, which lies between certain maximum and minimum levels. It is crucial to the performance of the machinery that the temperature does not rise or fall too much, as this is certain to cause problems. A rise in heat can damage computer components such as motherboards, memory chips and power supplies, weakening them and making them more subject to failure from then on. Even a few minutes of overheating can render equipment faulty and unreliable, so careful temperature monitoring must be on the agenda. In general computer equipment ages faster when it gets hot and typically benefits from a longer life in cooler conditions with stable air conditioning.
Take a minute to imagine the effects of your servers going down, Scary? Not only would you have to consider the cost of replacement, but what about the loss of data like customer details, e-commerce business, time wasted and many other associated costs and inconvenience.
It takes expert knowledge and judgement to ascertain the correct temperature requirement for each particular server room. This is due to the fact that too high a temperature is likely to damage your equipment while too low runs the costly risk of wasted electricity.
Finding the right temperature
It is inadvisable to allow the temperature to fall below 10°C (50°F) or to climb above 28°C (82°F). A constant 20-21°C (68-71°F) is the usual recommendation. This can be a little tricky for a number of reasons. For one thing the temperature may vary across the room, so one corner could be 20°C, while another will be 15°C. Unplanned air circulation in a room running at 30°C could result in 35-40°C ambient air, and that could cause failure in just days or weeks rather than years. Air conditioning systems also create their own heat to complicate matters. Ambient air in a workstation environments should not exceed 25°C, and that figure drops to 22°C in a server/cluster situation, as hotspots can often occur.
Air conditioning is essential especially in purpose built server rooms which have been well insulated as a fire precaution. A significant number of companies in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Sunderland, Leeds or anywhere in the UK, deal with the maintenance of their air conditioning separately to the running of the servers. In which case failure of the air conditioning may go undetected.
When old or inefficient equipment is replaced a new set of issues is presented, like the fact that new faster running machines are prone to run hotter, putting more pressure on the air conditioning system. Where new replacement servers are in place, air conditioning units should be examined to ensure they can perform satisfactorily.
Human error is a factor here also, so even where everything is working up to standard, somebody could turn off the air conditioning and forget to turn it back on. Doors can be left open allowing temperatures to fluctuate. Servers are known to run hotter at certain times within a day, or run at lower power in the night. Imagine a scenario where during the night, while your air conditioning is running on low power, your webserver begins to kick into action as people start to rise. You are faced with a rapidly heating up machine and an air conditioning system which cant cope. This is not an uncommon event, and overheating has over the years been at the centre of many slow downs and faults.
An alternative sequence of events includes the air conditioning being turned up during the day to counteract daily activity within the server room, and ensure the correct temperature. However it is then left on that setting at night and at weekends, which is how unnecessary bills are accumulated. Contractors Turn Key Air Conditioning Ltd, can advise on the best course of action to stay one step ahead with your server room equipment, for a lasting and fully functioning system.