Saturday, June 20, 2009

Monitoring Server Room Temperatures

By Shireen Qudosi

A server room is the brain of any effective well-networked company. However, this area is also most susceptible to failure. Your servers aren’t the only thing you’re paying heavily for in your office environment. For every $1 you sped on computing equipment and services, chances are that you probably spend another $1 for the power and cooling to keep that equipment running. Even with all the cost funneled through just to this one sector of your business, it remains that over heating (in even an otherwise well-cooled establishment) is the number one cause of malfunction and data loss.

Your servers aren’t the only thing you’re paying heavily for in your office environment. For every $1 you sped on computing equipment and services, chances are that you probably spend another $1 for the power and cooling to keep that equipment running.

The Emerson Network Power, in coordination with the U.S. EPA and the Lawrence Berkeley National Labs, released survey data entitled “Report to Congress on Server and Data Center Energy Efficiency”. The report received participation from more than 150 Digital Communications User Group members and companies, as well as non-member Fortune 500 companies.

Central issues within this report included issues of power management, precision cooling, energy efficiency, technology implementation and consolidating.

What You Can do to Safeguard Your Server

As seen through the convergence of top companies and associations, cooling and energy efficiency is a major concern in any IT related industry. In a nutshell, the failure to meet requirements that are energy efficient and capable stems from miscommunication between IT professionals and facilities management. As such, even the best and most well-conditioned environments face considerable temperature gaps when it comes to the server room. When traditional air conditioning can't accomplish your cooling needs, a highly efficient portable air conditioning system may be what you need. A portable AC is a moving cooling unit designed to offer the same heat relief as conventional cooling systems. Designed for mobility, a portable air conditioner is small and compact. Discreetly fitting into even the smallest server room, the portable cooling unit is the smart business solution to a widespread problem.

Ideal for spot cooling, portable air conditioners provide economic cooling that is ideal for all environments, especially server rooms.

Why Traditional Systems Don’t Work

Server rooms are a special example of the dualities of portable ac units. While most office have a central AC unit, server room air conditioning is a big concern for business with server equipment. Server equipment generates a considerable amount of heat that could damage the tech systems unless a cool room temperature is maintained. The general office temperature is not adequate for a server room, however lowering the central AC temperature is not only expensive but will yield complaints from soon to be sick employees. Proper server room air conditioning can be achieved if a portable AC unit is used, which will not only be affordable but efficient.

Alternative Uses

Commercial grade portable units, such as Porta-A-Cool, are great for larger areas including industrial sites, sporting arenas, agricultural areas, military uses, and even the largest server rooms.

Key features that makes portable air conditioners attractive, include:

1. Improved Air Quality - many units include specialized filters, such as carbon and ion filters, that work to purify the air.
2. Eco-Friendly - a compact room portable air conditioner costs about as much to run as a light bulb. It doesn't get any more cost effective than that, meaning that you're using less energy to run your appliance, which in turn does not waste resources as a traditional central ac would.
3. Size Variety - as seen in the above paragraph, portable units come in all sizes that allows for diverse functional use, ranging from your home to a sports stadium.
4. Type Variety - in addition to coming in different sizes, a little known consumer fact is that portable ACs also vary in type. There are two types of units - traditional cooling units and evaporative coolers

Types of Units - Traditional Coolers vs. Evaporative Coolers

While evaporative coolers and central air conditioners keep us cool, evaporative coolers are often less expensive to maintain, operate, and they are especially suited for areas where air conditioning is impossible or impractical. They are also idea for dry desert climates (such as Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico), where humidity needs to be injected back into the air. Evaporative coolers cool the air by filtering it through water, and these systems work best when a small amount of outside air circulates into the space where the evaporative cooler is situated. Not only does this result in energy savings, but in indoor settings, it also introduces fresh air into the environment and reduces the risk of airborne contaminants.

How Well Can Your Portable AC Unit Work?

Just as with any other appliance, your portable AC unit will function its best if it's properly maintained. Here are some tips to make sure you get the most bang from your buck:

1. Dirt Removal - Run a damp cloth over it and make sure you wipe through the filter panels as well.
2. Filter - Consider the NewAir ACP-1000E with auto-evaporative technology and an activated carbon air filter that helps remove odors. Remember that while filters purify the air, filters themselves usually have to be cleaned once every summer.
3. Ventilation - Most units require ventilation in order to function effectively.
Most units require window ventilation in order to function effectively.
4. Drainage - The water drainage system also needs to be maintained on a regular basis.
5. Defrosting - Defrost the unit completely if nice builds up on the coils, and wait till this is done before re-using the unit.

Shireen Qudosi is a green expert working with Air Conditioner Home. A premier online retailer of residential/commercial cooling, Air Conditioner Home is dedicated to raising consumer awareness on green issues & promoting both air purification and eco-friendly cooling.

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