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The 10 Commandments of Emergency Server Room Cooling Success

Posted by Tina Behnke

10-Commandments-for-Server-Room-CoolingHands down, the Bible is the top selling book of all time.  People refer to it, study it and find inspiration in the lessons that come to life from the many pages of the Bible.  But it really all boils down to the 10 Commandments -- the golden rules for good living and a "cheat sheet" that simplifies the brilliance of the Bible.

It's easy to see where our love for short, no-nonsense lists comes from.  We can blame it on the Bible!  I'm always looking for a go-to source to turn to when I need to attack a new problem or create a new procedure, aren't you?  That one quick and easy reference source that serves as a compass for figuring out a complicated task and keeping me on task! 

So I created a 10 point check list for emergency server room cooling success!  A quick one-page check sheet to make sure you are ready when a server room cooling emergency occurs.  Don't think it will happen to you?  You know it's better to be safe than sorry.  Even the most sophisticated systems will go down every now and again so it's best to be prepared.  Still not convinced you'll have an emergency cooling situation?  At the very least, you should know how to cool your server room when you have to take the main air conditioner off-line for preventative maintenance. 

Added bonus for those of you who won't make it to the end of the post.  Here's an infographic for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy!

10-commandments-for-server-room-coolingThe 10 Commandments of Emergency Server Room Cooling Success

1.  Thou Shalt Know the Size of the Space

The best place to start is at the beginning!  You need to know how large the room is that you need to cool.  You can actually measure the space to figure out the square footage or if you don't have a tape measure on hand you can take the easy way out if you have a suspended ceiling with 2'x2' or 2'x4' ceiling tiles -- just count 'em up and multiply.  You can use a calculator if you really need to!

2.  Thou Shalt Know the Size of the Air Conditioner that Failed

The fastest way to figure out how much emergency cooling you need is to know the size of the unit that you currently have.  You might have this information on the design documents for the server room.  Or just go to the air conditioning unit and look on the equipment nameplate for the cooling capacity of the unit.  The nameplate will be located near the wiring box or close to the power source or control panel.  It might look something like this:

COOLIT nameplate

3.  Thou Shalt Know How Much Cooling is Needed for Critical Equipment

In an emergency, you may not want -- or need -- to cool the entire room.  Figure out how much cooling is needed for the essential equipment.  Can you take a high speed printer off line or consolidate  some other computing or processing?  Here is a worksheet that will help you figure out how much cooling is needed in your server room.  You can figure up an ideal scenario and a critical scenario for the BTU load.

4.  Thou Shalt Know the Available Power Supply

You'll want to figure out the electrical power that is readily available.  Do you only have standard 115 VAC outlets in the room or is there an electrical panel close by with 208/230/1 phase power available?  This will be a key factor in determining which portable air conditioners you'll be able to rent.

5.  Thou Shalt Know Where the Emergency Air Conditioners Will be Located

Do you plan to put the emergency air conditioners in the server room?  If not, you'll have to consider putting the spot coolers outside the room and ducting the cold air into the server room.

6.  Thou Shalt Know How Much Space is Available for Emergency Spot Coolers

Whether you put the emergency spot coolers inside the server room or outside in a hall way or adjacent room, you'll need to know how much space you have available for the equipment.  You may need to block off part of a hallway or an area of the server room where space is at a premium.  Figure out the best place to where the equipment can cool the room but not interfere with the traffic flow of people in the space.

7.  Thou Shalt Know How the Supply Air Will be Distributed

You'll want to figure out if you need to tie into an existing duct work system within the server room to distribute the cold air into and around the room or if you can let the air supply come directly from the air conditioner.  How you distribute the air in the room will also depend on where the air intake for the critical equipment is located.  Some server rooms and data centers have raised floors where the cold air is delivered and then drawn into the cabinet, rack or computer equipment.

8.  Thou Shalt Know Where the Condenser Air Will be Discharged

Can you duct the warm condenser air into the ceiling plenum or do you need to duct it into a hallway or adjacent space?  You need to be able to get rid of the condenser air to effectively cool the space.

9.  Thou Shalt Know How Condensate Will be Removed

All air conditioners will generate condensate from the moisture in the air.  Many portable air conditioners come with condensate tanks located within the unit.  You can manually empty the tanks when they are full.  To prevent condensate overflow, make sure the spot coolers you use have automatic shut-off safety which turns off the air conditioner off when the condensate tank is full.  If you have a drain line you can connect to, opt for a spot cooler with an internal condensate pump so you won't have to manually empty the condensate tanks.  The COOLIT portable air conditioners are equipped with both condensate tanks and a pump so you can choose the condensate removal method that works best for your application.

10.  Thou Shalt Know When and Where the Air Conditioners are Needed

If you don't own portable air conditioners, your best bet is to rent spot coolers for your server room cooling needs.  Rental rates are typically weekly and monthly and the delivery rates will depend on your location so be sure to have some idea how long you will need to rent the spot coolers.

There you go.  Now you have your go-to source for emergency server room cooling!  Let me know if you have any to add.  Guess we could always create an 11th Commandment of Emergency Server Room Cooling!

10 Point Emergency Spot Cooling Checklist

 Photo Credit

Topics: Server Room Cooling, Spot Cooler Rental, Server Room Design