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04 Apr 2013

4 Ways to Improve Server Room Airflow

Server rooms are notoriously known to generate excessive amounts of heat. Proper Airflow Management is key…

server room coolingFact: server rooms can get pretty hot and overheating can lead to excessive downtime. Whether you manage your own server-rack or operate leased colocation space, proper cooling techniques are a must. Here are 4 ways to improve airflow inside a server room:

Server room cooling

If your server-rack has been running hotter than usual, it is time to rethink your cooling methods. First rule of thumb: document any changes you make in regards to airflow. Now follow these 4 steps:

Step 1

Figure out the Cooling Capacity Factor (CCF) for each server room. This is accomplished by dividing the cooling capacity of cooling equipment by 100 % of IT critical load. For example, every fan operates at a fixed sped or variable speed. Determine if your fans are working optimally. A good tool to use would be the CCF calculator offered by Upsite.

Step 2

AFM (Airflow management) can be improved by sealing off any openings where cabling enters the raised floor space under a server rack. Also, seal off any wall openings in the server room. Install blanking panels in any unused 1U or 2U space etc.

Step 3

Determine if there is enough open space to form a hot-aisle containment zone. This may involve filling in any space located between or behind the server racks. Server rooms with higher densities benefit greatly from hot-aisle containment (separating hot air from cool air and expelling it through ventilation systems).

Step 4

Having documented any changes made to AFM, go back and repeat the previous steps as necessary. You may find that further adjustments to block-off paneling and fan speeds will yield even better cooling results.

The steps mentioned above may not seem like much but can make a noticeable difference in server performance. Even a few degrees can mean the difference between uptime and hardware failure.

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