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Server room optimization.

By dooma4life ·

I am a IS Manager for a small operation, I am currently trying to make some server room improvements, and wanted to get some advice from you gurus.

We currently have 6 servers installed in 2 identical IBM racks. 1 UPS each is installed on each rack. 1 Patch panel on wall. A/C with temp control/lock in Room that is about 12 x 10 feet, with nothin gmuch else in room.

Here are some concerns

Water sprinkler
There is a water sprinkler that is in the server room. I 'd like to remove it for obvious reasons. Is this some type of regulation to have this in each room? I feel kinda dumb asking this, but does anyone else have this?

Old Particle Board Ceiling
Old tile flooring

Is there a preferred ceiling type? To avoid dust, falling particles, or stuff bad for the servers. Also, is carpet preferred to tile?

Hepa Air purifier.
I dont have one, but am considering.
Worth it?

Should I get a UPS for each server?

In addition to the above, is there anything else recommended? I am a ERP guy forced to do this now, and am doing things on hey I "think" they should be, and would appreciate any tips.



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Depends on your budget

by stress junkie In reply to Server room optimization.

I've seen a lot of installations in my career. Most small
businesses that I've seen do the best that they can and
hope for the best.

The one thing that you didn't mention is storage of
backups. You should make backups every day. You
should have at least two sets of backups. Each set
should cover a week. There are legal requirements to
keep certain backups, such as quarterly financials, for
a long time. Typically 7 to 10 years is considered
standard. These long term backups should be kept off
site. If that is not possible then they should be kept in
a fire proof safe. Although most places still use
magnetic tape to store backups the wave of the future,
at approximately the same cost, is DVD-RW. Data
stored on magnetic tape tends to self destruct due to
magnetic print through. The data on DVD does not
share that vulnerability. Also, DVDs cannot be erased
by magnetic fields. I've seen some people keep
magnetic tape between two large CRT monitors, then
they wonder why they can't read the tape when they
want to do a restore from the tape. DVDs are immune
to magnetic fields.

The requirement for fire extinguishing systems in the
computer room is dictated by local building codes.
Small installations use water and hope that it never
goes off. Large installations use Halon.

UPS power backup is completely optional. The idea is
that in a power failure the UPS will provide power long
enough for the computer to shut down normally, thus
protecting the file systems on disk and the data in open
files. UPSs can connect to the computers that they
serve by a serial cable. All modern operating systems
have software that can monitor the data on that serial
cable. When the UPS sends a signal to the computer
that the main power is off the computer should
automatically shut down. I've never seen any
installation take advantage of this. However the ideal
would be one small UPS per server or one very large
UPS for the entire room. The small UPS per server is
probably better since the large UPSs don't have the
serial cable to communicate with the servers to tell
them to shut down.

Many computer rooms have acoustic tile suspended
ceilings. This is terrible but it is one of those things
that few people think of. I'm delighted to see that you
have thought about this. The best computer rooms
have no suspended ceilings. They just have the
concrete underside of the floor above the computer
room. The less flammable stuff in the computer room
the better. Most places care more about looks than

Along those same lines are the flooring. Large
installations have raised floors with steel tiles on a
steel frame. Most places have regular floor tiles. Some
smooth nonporous surface that will not trap dust is the
main consideration. Since fire goes to the ceiling then
the flammability of the floor is less of a concern.
Carpeting is out of the question. Not only does it trap
dust but it creates static electricity when you walk
across it. NO CARPETS. PERIOD. :-)

The HEPA air filter will reduce the accumulation of
dust. Since computer rooms are always off limits to the
facilities cleaning crew it never gets cleaned. However
I've never seen air filtering anywhere. The HEPA air
filter would be more appropriate for a manufacturing
clean room. Don't bother.

Good luck and enjoy the challenge. The fact that you
asked these questions and the issues that you already
figured out tell me that you probably have the right
type personality to do a good job. Let us know if you
would like more information.

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And lock the server room

by stress junkie In reply to Depends on your budget

The server room should have limited access when
possible. This is something that is generally only
implemented in large installations. Most small
installations have IT offices in the server room. All the
same, security is as important as backups. The server
room should be locked.

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Sprinklers - Check local fire codes

by SkipperUSN In reply to Server room optimization.

For the sprinklers check your local fire codes - you may have to have some kind of fire supression system in that room.

Wet sprinklers are risky - dry is a little safer - but a Halon or CO2 system is best - but very expensive.

Normal tile ceilings are OK - never had a problem with dust or dirt from them. Just keep your A/C filters cleaned every 2 or 3 months.

UPS - recommend you UPS the room - not the individual servers or racks.

Hepa - Waste of budget dollars - spend those on UPS or Backup system.

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Thanks guys!

by dooma4life In reply to Server room optimization.

Hi, Stress Junkie, SkipperUSN

Your followup comments were extremely helpful-Thank you very much.Its reassuring to get the opinions of pros when you're not too sure.

thanks again!


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