CIO Jury: Keeping IT cool in the heatwave

... might be easier than stopping staff overheating

The current heatwave hitting the UK has forced some IT departments to take extra measures to keep their computers and servers cool.

With UK temperatures expected to hit 39 degrees centigrade (more than 100F) this week, half of's 12-strong CIO Jury IT user panel said they have either had to put in place extra air-conditioning equipment or take special measures to stop their IT kit overheating.

Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director at publisher Hachette Filipacchi UK, said: "It's mainly the sensible stuff of getting the air conditioning units serviced and ensuring that we have adequate back-ups in case of failure. And testing the server room overheating alarm, plus making sure that all the server overheating alerts are actually sent somewhere useful."

Unluckily for Les Boggia, IT division head at insurance firm Carole Nash, the heatwave has coincided with the office building roof being re-covered, which has meant no air-conditioning for some parts of the office.

He said: "Not only have we had to bring in additional machines for the comms rooms but with offices reaching 35 degrees we have also had to relocate staff into other parts of the office where the air conditioning is still working."

For other organisations the heat has led to a review of IT back-up plans. Ben Booth, global CTO at pollsters Ipsos, said: "We have not added anything in the way of air conditioning as we have adequate provision. However what we have done is to review our business continuity plan so that our 'cold site' at Network Disaster Recovery is ready in the event that we have a system failure caused by cooling problems."

Richard Steel, head of ICT at the London Borough of Newham, said: "Despite the fact that most of Newham Council's offices lack air conditioning, no increase in the numbers of workstation fault calls has been discernible, illustrating, I suppose, continued increase in the robustness and dependability of systems."

But keeping people - rather than computers - cool has been a bigger issue for others.

Graham Benson, IT director at's IT services unit the Web Factory, said: "The systems are cool but we have had to install extra air conditioning to stop the people overheating."

Today's CIO Jury was...

Alastair Behenna, CIO, Harvey Nash
Nicholas Bellenberg, IT director, Hachette Filipacchi UK
Graham Benson, IT director, the Web Factory (
Ben Booth, global CTO, Ipsos
Paul Broome, IT director,
Chris Ford, director of IS, Severn Trent Water
Steve Fountain, IT director, Markel International
Matthew McGrory, head of IT, Fulham Football Club
Richard Steel, head of ICT, London Borough of Newham
Spencer Steel, IT manager, Informatiq
Graham Yellowley, director of technology, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International

If you are a CIO, IT director or equivalent at a large or small company in the private or public sector and you want to be part of's CIO Jury pool, or you know an IT chief who should be, then drop us a line at