High temperatures in server rooms can lead to major problems for small to medium-sized enterprises and even for large businesses. They can cause temporary or permanent problems with servers, resulting in downtime or the loss of important data.
Why are High Temperatures Bad for Servers?
Servers are complex pieces of equipment with many sensitive electronic parts involved. They often do not operate well at high temperatures, and this can lead to failures. Hot temperatures can lead components to warp and even solder to melt, creating serious problems with your server. These problems will be worse in small server rooms, where less ventilation and space makes it easier for high temperatures to build up.
If such a failure does occur, it might result in a temporary or easily repairable problem which will simply result in downtime. However, even temporary downtime can be costly. It can result in significant amounts of lost revenue on top of the cost of repairs, and some of that custom may instead flow to your competitors. Alternatively, it might cause more permanent damage that leads to permanent loss of data that is vital to the running of your business. This can cause much more long-lasting damage to your company. In the UK, 70% of businesses that suffer from a major loss of data cease trading as a result of the harm it does to their activities.
Types of Server Room Cooling System
There are many ways that a server room can be called. Many server rooms, but not all, will require some form of cooling besides that offered by the room. Often, this will take the form of a dedicated cooling system such as air conditioning.
If no adjacent space is air conditioned or if there is a particularly warm space adjacent to, above or below your server room, you will definitely need to install dedicated cooling. Regardless of what type of space surrounds your server room, you should install a dedicated air conditioning system if the total power consumption of equipment in your server room is in excess of 2,000 watts.
If your server is adjacent to an air conditioned space and not to a particularly warm room, you will still likely need at least some form of cooling system. Only if the total power consumption of equipment in the room is below four hundred watts will the server be effectively cooled by natural conduction through the air and walls. Otherwise, depending on power consumption, you may want to install either regular or fan-assisted vents to cool the room.
Given the importance of a well-functioning server to your business and the potential impact of data loss, it is better to err on the side of caution if you are unsure. Installing a dedicated cooling system for highly-effective cooling of your server equipment may seem costly, but it could save your business.
Other Server Room Cooling Steps
There are a number of other steps you can take to ensure that your server equipment remains cool and is not in excessive danger of overheating. Installing server racks will allow you to properly and carefully arrange equipment, and to ensure that there is sufficient space between different pieces of equipment and components to allow heat to escape and cooling to take place effectively.
You can also install sensors that track the temperature of air being supplied to and surrounding the equipment. This can help to ensure that air circulating around the vital components is always cool enough to provide effective temperature control. If temperatures do start to get to high, the use of sensors can allow the problem to be promptly identified so that steps can be taken before any equipment failure takes place.
Dust is a major factor in keeping a server room cool. Its importance is frequently underestimated, but in fact it can make a surprising difference. If dust is allowed to build up too much in a server room, it will eventually start to cover components and to clog up vents in equipment casing. This can lead to poor cooling and ventilation of internal components, and result in heat-related failures in an otherwise fairly well-cooled server room.