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September 21, 2011

Smart Appliance Deployment for Your Servers: Watch the Heat

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

You need to protect your server hardware from heat; of course, that’s just smart appliance deployment. I’m sure your business has already installed a server temperature monitor and is relying on lights-out monitoring, but there are some additional steps you should take to reduce the probability of failure, according to the appliance deployment pros at NEI (News - Alert).

For instance, do you know how much airflow you have around your equipment? Maybe you don’t give it a whole lot of thought as part of your overall appliance deployment, but as NEI officials say, “Airflow can do more than anything else to reduce temperatures around critical hardware.” In essence, if equipment is installed too dense, or if the server room or data center is so cluttered that air can’t freely circulate, even your fans and your cooling equipment isn’t going to make much of a difference. After all, the whole point of fans is to move air around, and if your servers are too close together the warmer air isn’t going to be able to move. Smart appliance deployment is to give them space.

Physical checks are crucial. Don’t take the sensor instruments and monitoring gauges’ word for it; walk into the room and check the system airflow and fan operation yourself. Sensors and monitoring systems have been known to fail just as servers have, especially in a situation such as a data center. “Heat can cause fans and hardware to fail. If at all possible, personnel should physically verify air circulation and fan operation,” NEI officials stated, advising you to remove the dust and lint via compressed air or vacuum as well.

In addition, are you turning off the air conditioning on the weekends? Really? May we ask why? Keeping the air conditioning running on weekends isn’t going to tip the planet’s warming over the edge, but turning it off just might cause enough warming in the data center to tip your servers over the edge. Hey it’s your call, but if you’re looking for places to economize or go green, this isn’t it. Heat buildup doesn’t care that it’s your day off.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

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