IT's Getting Hot In Here

Alex Rabbetts, MigSolv

Is your computer room over heating?

The wrong kind of leaves falling on a railway track. Snow arriving ‘unexpectedly’ in January. It doesn’t take much to send the UK’s critical infrastructure ‘off the rails’, so brace yourself for the 2013 Summertime meltdown!

Temperatures in Central London and within the M25 hit 31.4C over the weekend and the heat wave is expected to continue for at least another week, with some reports suggesting another month. Motorists on Sunday faced disruption when a section of the M25 was closed after the road melted and commuters were getting very hot and bothered when there were severe delays at London Waterloo because the heat has caused a rail to buckle. At least in this internet-connected age commuters can work remotely and access their email and applications from home – that is unless the company server or computer rooms melts down too!

Hot Summer
The last very hot summer was back in 2003. Since then, computer rooms and data centres have been filling up with more and more equipment adding to the heat produced. Many companies have also started the move towards virtualisation, buying ever more powerful servers that produce more heat. Moving to blade servers is also becoming commonplace in many computer rooms and data centres and for good reason. They are more efficient, saving money and improve a company’s ‘green’ credentials. However, they do produce a lot of heat in a small area which will be a problem if there is insufficient cooling to cope with a hot summer.

Careful consideration must be given to siting any new equipment, especially in an older facility which doesn’t fully follow computer room and data centre design best practice.

Try NOT to keep it together!
When choosing a suitable place to install, look for the best location with regard to cooling. Don’t try to keep all finance servers together, or all HR servers together! Spread the load.

Start planning now! Look at your facility.

In the meantime do you have a robust BCP/DR plan in case your data centre or computer room doesn’t survive the heat wave? If not, then we can also help. Make the business aware of the potential problems now, and explain the consequences of not taking action. No modern business should be in a position where a few hot days can put the whole business at risk by losing essential systems, email or phone – even for a few hours. This is all very well, but when the high temperatures hit it’s too late to start redesigning the room!

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