How old is your building? What is built for today’s heavy IT needs?
Just a few years ago, a commercial location’s biggest problem was keeping the building occupants cool. Yet very quickly that’s emerged into a two pronged strategy. If the tenants and employees don’t have proper ventilation, the complaints will flow in. But there is another inhabitant whose demands are even higher. yet silent in their needs: your technology room.
As servers and IT equipment spread across buildings – often into spaces never designed for the demands of such equipment – managers are faced with the challenge of keeping the equipment in proper working condition. We’re seeing IT equipment being kept in janitorial closets, under stairwells, or in small closets with little air flow. We’ll find a server next to cleaning supplies, all enclosed in a space just waiting for problems to occur.
And a problem is usually what has to occur before a strategy for cooling is considered.
IT needs occur rapidly. A company will decide to take on a large portion of their own computing needs, buying up many different pieces of equipment. Then without a place to put it, they’ll start looking for out of the way areas. Very quickly it can grow to where you have $1 million or more tucked away into a closet, and without the proper cooling, something overheats, something shuts down, and the problems begin.
One of the first steps a manager should take is to understand the proper cooling needs of that much equipment. Problems arise when management underestimates their needs. Will your IT be increasing in the near future? Will you be adding even more equipment, and upgrading quickly as your business grows? A proper cooling system will have to be installed for the wattage being generated by the equipment. And if that’s expected to grow quickly, thinking bigger rather than smaller with your cooling equipment is in your best interest.
It’s also important for management to consider the issue of heat rejection. If you will be using an air cooled unit, where will the heat be rejected to? In many cases, heat is sent back up into a drop ceiling. If there is an air plenum back into the HVAC system in that space, everything will work well. If the drop ceiling is simply dead space, your problem will continue to grow as the heat builds up.
Another area for consideration is with condensation removal. When IT systems are built in unexpected places, there is rarely a drainage system available exactly where you need it. Will you pump the water out? Are you going to install a gravity drain? Will you choose an evaporator method of removal? Air coolers produce water. And if water builds up where it isn’t supposed to, additional problems can quickly surface, like mold and mildew.
A lot of considerations go into deciding the best methods for keeping your building cool. But if you haven’t taken into consideration the needs of your IT equipment, your building could be at risk. Start today by having a heating and cooling audit performed. Then we can show you where your vulnerabilities lie, and how to quickly increase your efficiencies throughout your facility.