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Essential Tech Check List: Building And Retrofitting Your Server Room

Jan 16, 2013

Whether you're building a server room, adding on or moving equipment, there are many considerations to mull over. From the basics to alarm systems, it is important to ensure your server room is efficient and to protect your mission critical equipment. Previously in our blog, we have addressed the issues surrounding the microclimate present in your server room; however, it is critical to have an understanding of how a server room should be laid-out and managed. Use our check list as a guide for promoting security, efficiency and productivity:

Our Essential Tech Check List

(1) Your Basics Of Space

  • -Examine the layout of the space and how many units of space you have to work with.

  • -The walls, including ceiling, and doors should isolate the sounds that your equipment is creating.

  • -Check to see which way the door opens. There should also be no windows or other entry points other than the doors in the room.

  • -Consider the floor and whether your equipment will need raised flooring. Aim for anti-static floor finishing to prevent an unwanted static charge.

  • -Make sure there is enough clearance for racks and that they are stable enough to hold your equipment.

  • -Check for aisle clearance too. Make sure your have enough room for exhaust to escape and not over-heat nearby equipment.

  • -Think about whether you need ladder racks, cabinets, shelves, patch panels or rack mounts.

  • -Take into weight and size of each piece of equipment into consideration when designing the layout.

(2) Keeping Your Cool

  • -Check and see what type if centralized cooling is available, whether an under the floor air distribution or an air duct system.

  • -If there is no centralized system available, get an air conditioner or cooling unit that is able to keep your equipment working productively while minimizing energy consumption and costs.

  • -If at all possible, fresh air vents are great and save on energy costs and consumption!

  • -Remove any and all radiators or other heating equipment currently present in the room. You don't need to add heat at all!

  • -Monitor your cooling system(s) to make sure it is working properly, especially when no one is there.

  • -Make sure your cooling units are not too close in proximity to your electrical equipment, think condensation and flooding. Do not place air conditioning units over your servers.

  • -Monitor the humidity to prevent static charge and electrical shorts.

  • -See if a chilled water system is in the budget or find something within the budget constraints to ensure that the hot air has somewhere to go.


(3) Using Your Power

  • -Check to make sure that you have enough outlets to support power to all your equipment and not to overload them.

  • -Get backup power, preferably UPS to prevent data loss from power blinking or outages.

  • -Don't surpass the maximum electrical intensity per unit of space.

  • -Consider shut down capabilities of equipment (SNMP traps for example).

  • -Make sure your equipment is grounded.

  • -Monitor for power outages if you are not using back-up power systems.

  • -Monitor your back up power systems to make sure your mission critical equipment is not failing due to power loss.


(4) Keeping Secure & Safe

  • -Have at least one phone present in the room in case of emergencies.

  • -Either check for a preexisting fire alarm system and install one if there isn't.

  • -Get a fire suppression system if there is not one there. Take into consideration of whether you will have a wet or dry suppression system and the effects that will have on your equipment. (Halon is a great choice!)

  • -Have reliable contacts to help resolve issues immediately, or form a system of escalation.

  • -Monitor for flooding, especially if this has happened historically in the past.

  • -Secure entrances/exits, this is expensive equipment with critical data, you don't want just anyone in there messing around!


(5) Other Considerations

  • -Get the best cabling/wiring available within budget constraints. 

  • -Keep extra cabling/wiring around, because you never know when you may need it.

  • -Consider color coding wires/cables, a little more work now but definitely a time-saver in the future!

  • -Think about lighting: location and heat produced.

  • -If there is someone sharing the space, get them some earplugs! It's going to be loud in there with the equipment being used.

  • -Consider networking/phone lines being run in there and how much space you have left after that.

  • -Plan for future expansion or retrofitting (again).

  • -Leave the service loops in the ceilings.

  • -Label outlets.

  • -Get rid of dust, your equipment hates it!

  • -Check if you have a rodent/pest problem.

  • -Cover emergency shutoff switches so that it can't be accidentally triggered.

  • -Try to centralize the room in the building so that you can eliminate having to use more cabling/wiring than you need to.

  • -Meet OSHA and ASHRAE guidelines as well local codes.

Is your server room or do you know of someone's server room that is not being monitored for temperature? Are you concerned with energy consumption, ability to monitor off-hours, and/or preventing mission critical equipment from failure? If you or know someone who is experiencing such issues, we want to hear form YOU!

We will be giving away ONE FREE USB DEVICE per month to the server room with the most need! Valued at $129.99,Temperature@lert USB Edition is a low-cost, high-performance device that monitors the ambient temperature in your server room and alerts you via email when the temperature rises or falls outside your acceptable range.

Please send a brief description, pictures, and/or videos to for consideration! Our team will select one winner each month based on description and need, because we firmly believe that companies in every industry 

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