Diagnosing server room temperature problems ?>

Diagnosing server room temperature problems

As most IT administrators will know, server rooms are mostly under equipped for the task at hand. Ever growing file storage, memory requirements and growth in a company has an impact on the server systems installed.

When computers and servers work harder, they generate more heat and require more cooling. You may have read in a previous article we wrote on smart cooling for data centers, server rack exhaust temperatures can reach 115F. The differential between the front and rear temperatures can be 30-40 F. Mismanagement of cooling systems in a server room can provide critical in terms of mitigating down time and preventing disaster.

At the customer's server room temperature re-circulation was a real issue. CRAC units were having to over cool the room and work much harder than normal during their 12 hour operation cycle.
At the customer’s server room temperature re-circulation was a real issue. CRAC units were having to over cool the room and work much harder than normal during their 12 hour operation cycle.

Improving the thermal conditions of your server rack can help in reducing energy consumption and reduce your energy bills by around 25%.

I was fortunate enough to discuss with the IT manager at large multinational specializing in the manufacture of plastic parts for automobiles, medical applications and engineering sectors regarding their server room deployment.

He had been allocated 10 server racks with two air handling units on a 12 hour standby rotation. However, he had no air management, no control and no monitoring in place. The entire room was being cooled with the hot air expelled back into the room freely re-circulating with the cold.

So how is this fixed? It’s quite simple.

First of all, a temperature monitoring system, CTSI’s SP2+ system with Thermal Map Sensor, was installed on the front and the rear of the rack.

The Thermal Map Sensor includes three temperature sensors and is easily attached to a server rack. It is somewhat portable and can be used as a pre or post installation server rack diagnostic tool.

Relocatable temperature sensors for thermal monitoring and diagnostics.
Relocatable temperature sensors for thermal monitoring and diagnostics.

This allowed CTSI’s team to gather a base line, worst case scenario of the temperature conditions in the rack. From this, we were able to see that the temperature leaving the top rear of the rack ~105F was similar to the air entering the top front of the rack ~96F. This is well above the ASHRAE recommended air intake range of 64.4 F through 80.6 F.

The next step we took was to install blanking panels to limit the hot air being re-circulated from the rear to the front air intake of the rack. Through this small step we were able to reduce the temperature by approximately 25F. From 96F to 71F – still a little high. We could do better.

 

The biggest cooling problem in this server room was the open re-circulation of the air. We needed to separate the hot air from the cold air. To do this, we installed air exhaust chimneys on each of the racks to effectively create a hot and a cold air plenum.

We also installed air dams on the rear cabinet doors to stop the hot air from escaping into the room.

In the future, more temperature sensors will be added along with a compliment of server room monitoring technologies from CTSI Limited – smoke detection, siren strobe alarms, water leak detection and more…

For more information contact CTSI Limited’s Sales Team – sales@ctsilimited.com

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