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Portable Air Conditioning and Heating -- an Educational Blog

Server Room / Data Center Cooling Design Best Practices

Posted by Tina Behnke

Planning can be paralyzing.  Especially when you plan a new server room or data center.  There is no shortage of experts but the time and money needed can be daunting. 

Let's face it.  Not all businesses need a state-or-the-art data center or server room facility.  Cool VW BugI like to use the analogy, "Why take a Cadillac to the corner store when you can get there in a VW Bug".  No offense intended for the brands mentioned, please!  I'm speaking figuratively.  When you separate the NEED to have from the NICE to have it's not so overwhelming.

There are lots of guides and numerous experts who will walk you through the process of designing your server room or data center -- everything from the air conditioning to the power.  You can get a copy of ASHRAE's newly updated Thermal Guidelines for Data Processing Environments, 3rd Edition to make sure you designing based on the latest recommendations from industry experts. 

I came across an article that offers a high-level overview that you can actually apply right away.  As a matter of fact, many of Rick Freeman's recommendations in Best Practices for Data Center Design are improvements you can implement immediately in your own server room or data center.  Freeman mentions having a single, secured entrance and gives tips on keeping your cable runs separate from electrical wires.

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The first topic mentioned when Freeman addresses the Server Room Environment is the air conditioning system.  He recommends having an independent server room air conditioner and also suggests having redundant server room cooling.  Liebert sets the standard for reliable, precision cooling computer-grade air conditioning systems.  But you'll pay a pretty penny and may not need many of the features. 

Here's where my analogy comes in!  Liebert makes great equipment but it may be overkill for your server room.  Portable spot coolers may be an option for you.  Adding the make-up air plenum ensures you have a complete server room air conditioning system by bringing condenser air in from outside the space you are cooling. 

So if Liebert is the Cadillac, guess you could say portable air conditioners are the VW Bug of server room air conditioners!  You have to admit, VW Bugs just have that coolness factor!  Plus, in today's economic climate, saving money and going with the NEED to have rather than the NICE is pretty cool, too.

Bottom line -- portable spot coolers can be a "cool" solution for your server room or data center air conditioning design....in more ways than one.  You can't tell me that VW Bug isn't cool!

Do you have simple, practical solutions you've implemented in your server room or data center?  Comment here, please and share your thoughts.

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Topics: Server Room Cooling, Data Center, Portable Air Conditioners, Server Room Design