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  • January 12, 2019 02:07:09 PM
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The Server Room Environments blog provides information on the design, installation and maintenance of solutions within server rooms and datacentre IT environments including cooling, power, energy efficiency, monitoring, security and fire suppression systems as well as air conditioners, server racks and cabinets, UPS systems, PDUs and standby power generators.

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  • Annual Regular Membership: 1 Year Term 2020-01-12 14:07:09 (353 days left)
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    Cool Lessons From The Summer Heatwave

    There is a very good chance that we will always remember the UK summer of 2018. Week-long heatwaves and an average temperature of 15.8˚C saw this summer narrowly beat the previous record temperature levels of 1976. The summer months of June and July were also notably dry, although August seemed to return to more average [...] The post Cool Lessons From The Summer Heatwave appeared first on Server Room...

    There is a very good chance that we will always remember the UK summer of 2018. Week-long heatwaves and an average temperature of 15.8˚C saw this summer narrowly beat the previous record temperature levels of 1976. The summer months of June and July were also notably dry, although August seemed to return to more average conditions.

    Cooling Industry Implications

    So, what did this mean for the cooling industry and those reliant on their air conditioners? The first thing we noticed was a rapid call in rate from potential UK clients whose air conditioners were alarming due to their loading and the ambient temperatures they were working within. Across the industry this led to more rental units being rushed to sites along with HVAC installation teams and maintenance personnel.

    The second thing to note was that the HVAC industry was taken by surprise, at a time when most air conditioner factories were heading into their summer shutdown period. Supply chain stocks started to quickly dry up and lead times for new air conditions extended quite dramatically.

    When you also factor in that the heatwave was Europe-wide, you can start to see the scale of problem. Those server room and datacentre operations with little spare capacity or resilience faced desperate times and may well do so again in the future. The summer of 2018 was not a one off event.

    Temperature Rise Warnings

    The summer heatwave lead to many more discussions about the causes for global warming and the need to reduce one of the principle causes: emissions.

    The UK is already leading the world in terms of tackling climate change. Since 1990, UK emissions are down more than 40%. However, worldwide emissions are still too high and are not falling quickly enough with many predicting that summers like that of 2018 could become the norm in countries like the UK.

    In terms of forecasts, the UK Met Office issued the UK Climate Projections in November 2018 to illustrate a range of future climate scenarios up to 2100. The predictions include:

    • The chance of a summer as hot as 2018 is around 50 % by 2050
    • Summer temperatures could be up to 5.4°C hotter by 2070
    • Winters could be up to 4.2°C warmer by 2070
    • Sea levels in London could rise by up to 1.15 metres by 2100
    • Average summer rainfall could decrease by up to 47 % by 2070 and there could be up to 35 % more precipitation in winter

    For more information on emmissions and UK climate projections see: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/news/releases/2018/ukcp18-launch-pr

    Climate Control Reviews

    Winter in the UK can seem almost bearable given last summer’s heatwave and it is all too easy for some to forget just how hot it was. However, the winter period provides an ideal opportunity for UK based server room and datacentre operators (from small to hyperscale) to review their current climate control operations. Who knows, the summer of 2019 will be even hotter and set a new record!

    Cooler outside ambient temperatures provide the ideal breathing space to review climate control operations in a less hectic and more pragmatic manner than when fans and filters are overloaded and systems are in alarm conditions.

    Climate Controls Checklist

    At Server Room Environments we would recommend the following summary checklist of areas to cover:

    • Cooling system arrangements: wall, ceiling, in-row or complete room
    • System safety margins i.e. running at less than 80% of capacity
    • Redundancy in terms of N+X resilience
    • Thermal profiles, hot spots and airflows at the rack and room levels
    • Energy efficiency and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) projections
    • Maintenance contracts and emergency response plans
    • Onsite storage of temporary air conditioners
    • Disaster planning, Cloud storage and mirror sites
    • Building Management System integration and reporting
    • Temperature and humidity alarm monitoring

    There is no doubt that some IT and Facilities Managers will take the time this winter to review their climate control systems. They will take steps to ensure that summer heatwaves like the one of 2018, present a managed or no risk to their server room and datacentre operations. 

    Others may be inclined to continue to run too close to the edge and risk operational reliability. For those who want to take the risk it is important to remember that heat kills electronics and is a sign of inefficiency. When you continuously run an electrical or electronic system at near to or above full capacity this can lead to a rapidly reducing working life. Put simply, heat ages components, assembles and complete systems and can lead to sudden and dramatic failures. Unexpected labour and replacement component costs can occur which may not be covered by an air conditioning maintenance contract. Other costs can be associated with cooling system failures including non-productive downtime.

    So if you want a ‘takeaway’ from the summer of 2018, consider reviewing your climate controls with the checklist we have described. Our team of HVAC qualified project managers are always available to give advice and carry out a complete site survey. 

    Server Room Environments are specialists in all aspects of building HVAC systems. We work with several air conditioning and HVAC controls manufacturers and are completely independent. This allows us to propose the right solution for our clients and ensure that their buildings are ready to face the future with confidence in their cooling systems.

    The post Cool Lessons From The Summer Heatwave appeared first on Server Room Environments.


    How to Manage Sudden Server Room Temperature Rises

    With weather patterns in the UK forecast to become more erratic we are seeing a greater focus being placed on how to design a server room to ensure it is adequately cooled. This summer saw a large rise in demand for emergency air conditioning and cooling units as some server rooms struggled to maintain a [...] The post How to Manage Sudden Server Room Temperature Rises appeared first on Server Room...

    With weather patterns in the UK forecast to become more erratic we are seeing a greater focus being placed on how to design a server room to ensure it is adequately cooled. This summer saw a large rise in demand for emergency air conditioning and cooling units as some server rooms struggled to maintain a comfortable and safe working ambient.

    Summertime temperatures in the UK are forecast to both rise and become more erratic. This presents server room designers with an even greater need to design the right cooling system for any server environment, whether it is an on-site server room, edge computing facility or cloud service co-location datacentre. Server rooms need cooling solutions that are flexible and adaptable and not just to weather conditions. Whilst server manufacturers strive to make their hardware as energy efficient as possible, the actual power they draw is rising in line with their processing power. Typical populated racks are drawing higher amounts of power (up to 30kW or more) and this means a higher internal ambient and warm air to cool down at the rear of the racks.

    What is for sure is that a sudden spike in ambient temperature or prolonged period of higher temperatures can lead to IT hardware failure. Put simply, heat kills electronics. A warm ambient also makes for an uncomfortable working environment for anyone having to work the facility. Smaller server rooms, network closets and comms rooms possibly have the worst of all worlds. As more equipment is piled in there is simply less space within which to plan for an optimum ambient environment.

    Server room environmental monitoring can assist the situation. What you don’t monitor, you cannot control. Monitoring room temperatures allows for corrective actions to be taken when an alarm threshold is reached, and potential disasters can be avoided. Best practice for a server room environment is a temperature of 20-25˚C and with a humidity of 45-50%.

    Whilst most servers can work above 30˚C, other hardware items within the IT space can be slowly damaged. Consider the lead acid batteries in a typical UPS system. This type of battery has a recommended working life of 3-5 years at 20-25˚C for a 5-year design life battery. For every 1degree rise above 30degrees, the design life halves.

    With adequate computer room monitoring (for temperature and humidity) most overheat situations can be avoided. If you do find yourself needing to take emergency actions here is a typical checklist you can follow:

    Overheating Server Room Design Checklist

    1. Check server air flow: if your server room temperature has been constant for a period, a sudden spike in temperature can mean several things. The first thing to do is check the actual air conditioner system to ensure they are operating i.e. green light on and emitting cool air at the temperature you have set. Check air intakes and return vents for blockages and that any doors are closed into the room. Check the temperatures within the room at various points and with a thermal monitor if possible, to build a room profile. Check for thermostat failures.
    2. Check the server racks: equipment can overheat within a server rack leading to a build-up of heat. Server rack air flow can also be less efficient if there are large spaces where servers and equipment have been removed or that part of the rack has not been populated. Install blanking panels to improve the air flow where this is the case and ensure that warm air is not blocked from leaving the rear of a cabinet.
    3. Check the floor tiles: if you have a raised access floor and this forms part of your air flow channelling, ensure that no floor tiles are missing or fitting poorly. As with any window that doesn’t close and seal properly, this can lead to air (whether cool or warm) leaking into an area where it is not planned for.
    4. Check the room layout: has any part of the server room design been changed in terms of additional racks or even the introduction of a large centralised UPS system? If there are multiple rack cabinets, are they arranged into a hot-aisle and cold-aisle configuration? The worst set-up would be the warm air from the rear of one rack being drawn into the front of another cabinet. In smaller rooms and network closets air flow is just as important even if you are not using multiple server racks. The path for warm air from a server must be routed away from other servers and IT hardware to avoid over temperatures.
    5. Check the weather: this may seem obvious, but it may be that the overall ambient temperature is hot outside the building and over a prolonged period. This is important for remotely operated server facilities. As in the UK this summer (2018) a prolonged heatwave lead to increased day and night time temperatures. The warmer air outside buildings lead to an overall increase internally.
    6. Consider emergency and portable air conditioning: if you can isolate the reason for the temperature spike you may need more time to consider a preventative action for the future. In the meantime you may need to consider using portable air conditioners to boost that of your onsite HVAC systems. Whilst heating and ventilation air conditioning systems are generally maintained annually, the system could be as old as the building and the premise used for HVAC design calculations could have changed.
    7. Seal off the server room: check to see that the server room is isolated from the rest of the building and ensure adequate access control. Building temperature needs change over a year with respect to weather and occupation. Autumn and winter can see HVAC systems focused on raising temperatures and the provision of heating. This will often be to a higher temperature than that required within the server room. Access control is also important to both secure the room and ensure no-one can add additional equipment or run non-IT systems in the room.
    8. Check the lighting: whether the room is large or small, the lighting could be automatically set to switch off if no one is in the room or to operate in a less intensive eco-mode. Modern LED lighting is very responsive and aside from being more energy efficient will emit less heat into the room than traditional fluorescent tubes and light fittings.

    The right cooling solution is often specified and chosen during the server room design phase of many projects. It is subsequent events that lead to operational issues. Even in a well-designed server room or datacentre facility, there will always be the need for adequate environmental temperature and humidity monitoring. There are several manufacturers who specialise in this type of system and at Server Room Environments we provide a complete server room design and installation service for the manufacturers we work with.

    These types of environmental monitoring systems can be connected via the IT network to a DCIM (datacentre infrastructure management) package and/or a BEMS (building energy management system). Alerts and alarms need to be configured for pre-set thresholds and response plans formulated to ensure that any changes in ambient temperatures are formally investigated by on-site staff and your local air conditioning and HVAC maintenance company.

    The post How to Manage Sudden Server Room Temperature Rises appeared first on Server Room Environments.


    How Edge Computing Will Drive Power Innovations

    Whilst many everyday people are still trying to come to terms with and understand what ‘Cloud’ computing means along comes ‘Edge’ computing. The two are in fact inherently related. Few realise that Amazon through its AWS (Amazon Web Services) is one of the largest cloud-based datacentre service providers. Microsoft and Google are others. What these [...] The post How Edge Computing Will Drive Power Innovations appeared first on Server Room...

    Whilst many everyday people are still trying to come to terms with and understand what ‘Cloud’ computing means along comes ‘Edge’ computing. The two are in fact inherently related.

    Few realise that Amazon through its AWS (Amazon Web Services) is one of the largest cloud-based datacentre service providers. Microsoft and Google are others. What these companies offer is a network of datacentres housing thousands of servers providing a cloud-based service. You can open an account, store, process, back-up and archive your data, whether a business, organisation or individual. You purchase from the provider a service and it is up to the organisation how they organise their server capacity to provide this, building in redundancy and resilient as part of the service terms.

    Some of these clouded services have become everyday apps including Dropbox, Gmail, Office 365 and Slack. Content we access for streaming including Amazon, Google, Apple, Netflix, the BBC and ITV iPlayers are all users of the cloud whether they own them or subscribe to the service.

    Edge computing is the latest development in the datacentre world. So what exactly is the Edge and what does it mean for organisations running their own server rooms. The Edge or Edge Computing pushes centralised cloud-based services closer to the user. Edge computing represents a distribution of data services closer to the source and area of generation and usage.

    Why? One of reasons is to reduce latency or the time it takes to access information. Speed is a strategic differentiator in most business environments and website click-throughs are often determined by loading speed and the time it takes to access information or buy a product or service online. However, one must think wider than this and how technology will evolve in the years to come.

    We are on the verge of over 20billion devices being connected worldwide to the Internet of Things (IoT) within the next 5 years. Here we are not just talking computing, mobile phones, tablets and laptops but assistants like the Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple HomePod, intelligent home systems (lighting, thermostats, fridges, TVs, cookers and kettles), industry 4.0 applications, self-driving cars and lorries and delivery drones.

    Edge computing provides a way to solve latency issues and provide the scale of processing needed for the IoT applications and the new types of services that will evolve from greater connectivity.

    So if that’s summarised what the ‘Edge’ is, how can it be delivered from a hardware perspective? We forecast that continued development of on-site server rooms and controlled IT environments. These may be developed as individual rooms or deployed as self-contained micro-datacentres. The latter may be more practical and economic to deploy where there is a need for large amounts of computing power, in a tightly controlled environment and possibly where space is limited or at a premium.

    Edge facilities and micro-datacentres will still need the type of critical systems we see within a server room or datacentre environment. These include uninterruptible power supplies, power distribution, cooing, access control, fire suppression and environmental monitoring. The point with a micro-datacentre is that this is more than a containerised building. It is a self-contained room or system that can be built-up on-site and deployed rapidly to meet growth and demand.

    One aspect that aids quick deployment is standardisation and Edge computing will lead to new developments and standards. One area to consider is the role of uninterruptible power supplies and their battery packs. A UPS system has traditionally used lead acid batteries which are suitable for standby power role. When mains power is present, the UPS batteries are charged up and the charge maintained. The batteries are only used when the mains power supply fluctuates or fails completely. The batteries discharge their power to the UPS inverter which powers the load until either a local standby power generator starts up or the mains power supply returns. Worse case there is no back-up power generating set and/or the batteries fail before mains power is restored.

    Some UPS systems can now be installed with lithium-ion battery packs. There are several types of Li-ion battery (visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium-ion_battery), but the operational characteristics of the type used with UPS systems is very similar to that of mobile phones and tablets. These batteries are designed for continuous cyclic usage in terms of charge/recharge cycles and can recharge more rapidly than lead acid batteries. Whilst they are more expensive the battery technology working life can be double that of a lead acid battery and achieve a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

    The amount of energy storage in lithium-ion batteries will continue to evolve quickly as more applications adopt this type of battery, including electric vehicles as well as UPS systems. This gives rise to other potential applications including demand side response programs that pay for UPS and EV users to allow their stored energy to be used to supplement grid power levels and availability.

    A wide spread usage of Edge computing and micro-datacentres also provides greater opportunities for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) within IT networks. Examples include automating demand side response programs at the speed required to maintain uptime and allow synchronisation of multiple storage resources between buildings and even substations. Whilst power demand will continue to increase rapidly, Edge technologies and the Internet of Things provide opportunities to maintain uptime and improve response speeds. These environments and applications require the same level of design and build consultancy required for server room or datacentre environments if they are to be resilient, energy efficient and achieve the best possible TCO for their owners and operators.

    The post How Edge Computing Will Drive Power Innovations appeared first on Server Room Environments.


    How Will Edge Computing Change Computer Room Design?

    The world has an insatiable appetite for data, with over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being generated each day. At the same time speed is paramount. We want access to that data, to be able to store and share it at an ever-faster rate. The days of ‘waiting’ are long gone as we expect IT [...] The post How Will Edge Computing Change Computer Room Design? appeared first on Server Room...

    The world has an insatiable appetite for data, with over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data being generated each day. At the same time speed is paramount. We want access to that data, to be able to store and share it at an ever-faster rate. The days of ‘waiting’ are long gone as we expect IT systems to provide instantaneous service and no one will accept latency in any form.

    This trend will continue as more devices become connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence becomes more widely adopted within the everyday machines and services we come to rely on. Self-driving cars for example will require multiple connection points along a journey to be able to ‘intelligently’ deliver passengers to their destination. The data required will cover a range of environmental information including local traffic, road and whether conditions.

    At the heart of this revolution society at large will become more reliant on hyperscale datacentres. The complexity and scale of these types of data processing factories will continue to grow at an unprecedented rate. However, with this rise in scale and sophistication will come a dependency on Edge computing.

    Edge computing (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edge_computing) is a way to optimise applications and cloud stored systems by moving part of the application, its data and services nearer to the node of local usage. The advantages of this are improved speed of service delivery and of the type required to meet the demands of the age of the Internet of Things. This will give rise to the need for more local micro-datacentres and on-site server rooms.

    Micro-datacentres are growing in their popularity. Referred to as an MDC, a micro data centre or micro data center is a self-contained and possibly modular arrangement of datacentre architecture designed to be installed wherever data centre type services are required. The MDC will house all the servers, racks, power distribution and UPS systems, cooling air conditioners, fire protection, security and network integration systems. They can be installed outdoors or within a building. The point is that a micro-datacentre is self-contained and can be transported and delivered rapidly to its point of us.

    The alternative for an organisation is to continue to develop its on-site IT network and facilities and run their own server room. Our forecast is that this will continue in tandem with the development of micro-datacentres. Organisations whether public sector, commercial, industrial or other, will continue to require an on-site IT network and connectivity to the outside world and Cloud storage. The local network can connect via servers, bridges and routers within a central server room or via single micro-datacentre.

    Will the size of on-site facility shrink or grow due to increased demand? This is harder to forecast but the consensus is that on-site services will continue up to a demand of around 300kW of power. Most small organisations run server rooms with a 10-30kW power demand either single phase or three phase and this size will be the norm for smaller installations. Medium on-site installations could be considered in the 30-100kW and larger ones at 100-300kW.

    What this means for most organisations is a transitionary period. Legacy server rooms will continue to adapt and grow within the confined physical space they operate within. The growth of their IT network will very much depend on the growth of the company and whether systems and employees are on-site or remote. In and industrial environment, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) growth in data collection and connectivity could see an organisation replacing its server room with a complete micro-datacentre. The organisation here makes a step-change in its critical infrastructure and invests in an MDC for the future.

    This then gives rise to the choices facing organisations. Within a server room environment over the last 10-20 years development in hardware and software have allowed rooms to be reconfigured to make use of new technologies such as server virtualisation. This has effectively shrunk the need for physical space but pushed up potentially demand for power and cooling from larger and faster servers and storage devices. If an organisation does go down the microdatacentre route they could be limited in future capacity deployment. Scale and growth plans need to be designed into the day-one installation if the datacentre is to cater for future expansion.

    At Server Room Environments we will continue to develop the ranges of products we supply and work with manufacturers who we truly believe are engaging with hyperscale and microdatacentres, Internet of Things technologies and Edge Computing. In this way we can ensure that we can continue to provide our clients with the latest technologies whether its intelligent air conditioners, racks and cabinets, intelligent PDUs or modular UPS systems.

    The next 10-15 years will see another fundamental shift in technologies with energy storage being used to hold-up grid electrical supplies and electric vehicles taking over from fossil burning ones and even hybrid vehicles. In much the same way we expect to see a growing reliance on server rooms and micro-datacentres as the backbone of the systems we will rely on to store and access the data that will become vital to society, work and general services.

    To learn more about our thoughts on Edge Computing and how we can help you prepare your on-site server room for the future, please contact us. We provide free server room and datacentre surveys across the UK.

    The post How Will Edge Computing Change Computer Room Design? appeared first on Server Room Environments.


    How to Calculate Server Room Air Conditioner Sizes

    With the UK experiencing one of the hottest summers since 1976 many server room air conditioners and datacentre cooling systems are facing extreme workloads. The issue is not the ambient temperature itself but the length of time that the higher than average temperatures have been around. For future upgrades and new system installations it may [...] The post How to Calculate Server Room Air Conditioner Sizes appeared first on Server Room...

    With the UK experiencing one of the hottest summers since 1976 many server room air conditioners and datacentre cooling systems are facing extreme workloads. The issue is not the ambient temperature itself but the length of time that the higher than average temperatures have been around. For future upgrades and new system installations it may well become the norm to have to build in a ‘heatwave’ factor to prevent disruption and potential system failures. So how do you size an air conditioner for a server room or datacentre?

    Cooling System Sizing Factors

    The simplest view is that you list all the heat sources and install an air conditioner that will remove the heat and prevent the server room ambient temperature from going critical. The actual calculation is more complex and must take into account a number of other factors.

    Heat and Energy

    In any electrical installation, ‘heat’ is wasted energy and results from a work-related process. The higher the energy efficiency, the more of the power input into a system results in output. The lower the energy efficiency the higher the heat wasted. Within a server room or datacentre environment the power consumption of the server loads can be as high as 15kW per rack. At 95% efficient this can lead to up to 0.75kW of heat per server rack that will add to the ambient temperature. Typical heat load measurement units include:
    • BTU/hour where BTU = British Thermal Unit
    • Watts or Kilowatts (1kW is equal to 3412 BTUs or 1W = 3.14 BTU per hour)
    • Tons per day (1 ton of cooling is equivalent to 12 thousand BTUs)
    Traditionally BTU/hour has been the measurement unit of choice by Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) professionals. BTU is approximately the energy needed to heat one pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. 1 BTU is equal to 1,055 Joules or  252 calories or 0.293 watt-hour or the energy released from burning one match. In the IT world and especially server rooms and datacentres the trend is more towards use of Watts and kilowatts or kW as a unit of measure.

    Measuring and Calculating Heat Loads

    The first thing to do when calculating an air conditioning system is to audit the equipment within the room itself. The equipment list should include all electrical items within the room that will generate heat. Typical prime examples include:
    • IT equipment (servers, storage units, switches and routers)
    • critical power equipment including UPS systems
    • existing air conditioners and cooling systems
    • lighting systems
    The systems and equipment should be listed by make, model and preferably serial number on an audit spreadsheet and values placed against each item where possible for BTU/hour, kW heat output, energy efficiency, electrical supply phase (single or three phase) and electrical frequency. Most often this information can be taken from operating manuals, datasheets and manufacturers websites. For smaller server rooms this approach will help to identify the amount of heat that must be tackled by the air conditioner, referred to as the thermal load, heat load or thermal gain. The most common type of air conditioner for a server room is a wall mounted version. Ceiling suspended air conditioners are also popular where feasible. Whether the air conditioner is installed as a single unit or part of a set to share the load, environmental monitoring is a must have. This will not only provide regular reporting on the overall ambient within the server room but also alarm when temperatures start to rise because of a failure or intermittent fault within the air conditioning system. It is also important to monitor room ambient as server rooms tend not to have automatic fire suppression equipment systems and their insulation (to comply with insurance company policies) may be higher than a typical office, leading to a greater potential for heat rise and containment. For larger facilities a more complex cooling system will be required that could include computer room air conditioners (CRACs), computer room air handlers (CRAHs) and in-row air conditioners. Other factors to consider include:
    • Building orientation in terms of shade or direct sunlight, northern or southern facing
    • Room construction in terms vents, door, wall, roof top construction, ceiling height and insulation
    • The number of people working within the room (typically up to 500 BTU per person)
    • The floor space and use of raised access floors for air flows and ducting
    • Server rack cabinet arrangements into hot/cold aisle containment
    • Server utilisation
    • Humidity level requirements
    • Room ambient level required (See ASHRAE TC9.9 – https://tc0909.ashraetcs.org/documents/ASHRAE_TC0909_Power_White_Paper_22_June_2016_REVISED.pdf)
    • External ambient temperatures
    • Tier-rating and redundancy levels required (N, N+X, 2N etc)
    • Energy efficiency target in terms of Power Usage Effectiveness (PUE)
    • Preferred cooling technology (adiabatic/free cooling or evaporative)
    • Growth factor for future expansion
    Whilst there are general rules of thumb to work to when sizing a cooing system for a datacentre (CRAC unit size = 1.3 x IT load), it is more common for large installations like this to be thermodynamically modelled. This is a critical point of concern as in a server room it may be relatively easy to upgrade a poorly sized air conditioner. In a large datacentre space, it is important to optimise both the cooling and energy efficiency so that there are no hot-spot areas and the least amount of energy is used to achieve the required ambient. Most server rooms and datacentres will look to achieve an ambient temperature around 20-25˚C with the ASHRAE standard TC9.9 used as a guideline. Potentially higher ambients can be allowed as most IT equipment will work up to 30˚C or higher but this higher temperature is detrimental to UPS batteries (if stored within the room) and uncomfortable as a working environment.

    Useful BTU Cooling Formulae

    • Equipment BTU = Total wattage for all equipment x 3.5
    • Lighting BTU = Total wattage for all lighting x 4.25
    • Total Occupant BTU = Number of occupants x 400
    • Room Area BTU = Length (m) x Width (m) x 337
    • Total Heat Load = Room Area BTU + Total Occupant BTU + Equipment BTU + Lighting BTU
    Note: the sample formulae are for the UK and Northern Europe in general and exclude any allowances for windows which can sometimes be found within very small server rooms. At Server Room Environments are HVAC consultants and cooling experts manage an array of cooling projects from small air conditioners for server rooms to the large datacentre applications. One of the latest trends is to make use of adiabatic free cooling and especially in Northern Europe prior to this summer’s heatwave. The current heatwave will subside eventually but the World in general is not getting any cooler. Weather patterns are changing and challenging traditional approaches to air conditioner and cooling system calculations. What we have provided here is a general guide and information to give you some idea of what to expect when sizing an air conditioner or cooling system. Please contact us for a specific site survey or discussion about your project with one of our HVAC engineers and project managers.

    The post How to Calculate Server Room Air Conditioner Sizes appeared first on Server Room Environments.


    Future Proofing Server Rooms For The Internet of Things

    At Server Room Environments we see a growing importance for on-site server rooms, even with more businesses turning to Cloud based services. What’s driving the demand for on-site IT facilities is the need to prepare for the Internet of Things, Edge Computing and the level of critical infrastructure that organisations will need soon. It’s important [...] The post Future Proofing Server Rooms For The Internet of Things appeared first on Server Room...

    At Server Room Environments we see a growing importance for on-site server rooms, even with more businesses turning to Cloud based services. What’s driving the demand for on-site IT facilities is the need to prepare for the Internet of Things, Edge Computing and the level of critical infrastructure that organisations will need soon.

    It’s important to remember that a datacentre is a managed building dedicated to the provision of sever-based services whether it is an Enterprise datacentre or a Colo (Co-location) one. We believe that the shift in the datacentre market globally will be towards mega-sized datacentres which will provide many of the cloud-based services we will rely on day-to-day. These can already be provided by Amazon AWS, Google and Microsoft Azure with new players like Huawei posing a real threat to the established players. Competition amongst mega-sized datacentres and their scale provision will lead to ever falling prices for cloud services. At the same time more and more devices will become internet enabled.

    Worldwide, by 2030 there could be over 30 billion connected Internet of Things (IoT) including Industry 4.0 or Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices (https://www.statista.com/statistics/471264/iot-number-of-connected-devices-worldwide). Whilst these will connect via the Cloud to mega-sized datacentres, the local environment must be able to provide secure data processing and network communications. More sophisticated network closets, computer rooms and server rooms will continue to evolve to meet this demand as will micro-datacentres serving Edge computing applications. One only has think about self-driving electric vehicles to consider the number and frequency of internet connections that will be required for auto-pilots to function safely.

    So, should an organisation prepare its on-site server facilities? Here we provide our checklist which is general in its approach.

    Computer and Server Room Design Checklist

    1. Physical Space: most organisations have seen a shrinkage in the amount of IT hardware on-site thanks to developments including virtualisation and the use of Solid State Drives (SSDs). Most IT equipment is also housed in rack cabinets for ease of physical storage and security. Rack cabinets allow organisations to scale vertically (if there is room in the rack) and thought should be given as to how many rack cabinets they will require in the future. Designed to fit on a standard computer room floor tile makes planning somewhat easier as it allows the room to be sized and prepared to a grid-type format. It’s the same graphic we use in our logo. Cabinet weight is another important consideration and if the server room is going to grow, a raised access floor can provide many benefits including under floor wiring, cooling and an easier route to rack reorganisation within the facility.
    2. Connectivity and Bandwidth: as we move more towards 5G mobile, fibre and Wi-Fi connections it is important to consider ‘data’ entry into and out of the server room and cabinets. Patch panels and routers will be housed within the racks, but thought must be given to network security, both physical and cyber attacks as well as resilience in the form of redundant comms.
    3. Power Protection and Electrical Circuits: with an organisation ever more reliant on its IT network, it becomes increasingly important to prepare a power protection plan. Knowing the amount of kit to go into a server rack helps to identify power requirements in terms of kVA and kW but what about the future and what are the implications for electrical circuits within the room? Most server rooms have a sub-distribution panel (more than likely three phase) at the room entrance which supply circuits and systems within the room. These circuit breakers in the panel need to be rated according to the application and suitable for the loads. Knowing the load sizes allows decisions to be taken as to whether to provide a larger uninterruptible power supply to protect the distribution board or whether to install UPS and power distribution units (PDUs) at the rack level. Resilience in the form of N+1 and maintenance should also be considered.
    4. Cooling: once all the equipment is sized thought can be given to how to cool the environment. Choosing the right computer room air conditioner (CRAC) system and cooling methodology is an important aspect based on room size, layout and loads. N+1 and resilience may be important aspects to consider as well as potentially the use of hot-aisle/cold-aisle containment.
    5. Total Cost of Ownership and Energy Efficiency: it common for many types of server room hardware to be leased rather than purchased outright. Finance is important and when comparing project bids, it can be as important to factor in maintenance and running costs to provide Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) figures. Energy efficiency also plays a role here as the more energy efficient the servers, UPS and air conditioning technologies the lower the energy consumption and running costs.
    6. Backup and Disaster Recovery: even when following manufacturer’s recommendations for regular maintenance and consumables replacement failures can occur. We have stressed the need for resilience within critical infrastructure elements of the server room environment but how do you prepare for a site wide failure related to a prolonged power outage or loss of fibre connectivity. Here some of the techniques used by datacentre environments can be incorporated into the server room design including N+1 provision of comms and power sources. Where this is not possible the organisation needs to prepare and test its disaster recovery plan.

    Whilst not comprehensive by any means our server room design checklist provides areas for consideration when it comes to future-proofing. If you would prefer a site-specific review and consultation, please ask us for a site survey. We provide surveys free of charge in the UK if we can schedule the visit request date easily into the diaries of our project managers. Alternatively, we are always available for consultative call or webinar type meeting.

    The post Future Proofing Server Rooms For The Internet of Things appeared first on Server Room Environments.


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