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Server Room Cooling

ductless.ca - We are your server room cooling experts!

Server rack photo

Commercial server rooms and data centers generate large amounts of heat from all the electronics running 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Cool these servers are an absolute necessity since server down time is costly. Ductless air conditioning units are perfect for server room and data centre applications since they are highly reliable, and low maintenance (no maintenance other than filter cleaning, which can be as infrequent as every 6 months in server room applications and data centers). Ductless units are especially good for data center and server room cooling as they reduce dust (with the included air filters) and are low profile as a complete system includes an indoor and outdoor unit with a refrigeration line-set connecting them, no complicated, evasive ducting required.

The condensing units can go inside the drop ceiling between the floors

Location? No matter the location of your data center or server room, a ductless air conditioner can solve your cooling problems. Why? A ductless air conditioner can be located almost anywhere within the building, even if there are no outside walls available such as with all glass exteriors! Both the evaporator and condenser units can be placed well within the building interior. The condensing unit is simply placed above the ceiling tiles between floors or, if available, in a warehouse.

What if the condensing unit needs to be placed outside? Many ductless units feature low ambient cooling options, which allow them to continually cool down a server room even in the middle of the winter. Commercial Mitsubishi P-Series units can cool even when it's -40°C outside with their ultra low ambient option installed. The refrigeration line sets can also be over 150 feet long if required with a rise of over 100 feet! This allows us to install these air conditioners for your server room or data centre almost anywhere within the building!

Server Room Cooling Best Practices

There are, of course, a number of best practices that data centers have applied for years, many of which apply to small server rooms and closets. This includes; arranging servers in rows so that the cold air comes in the front and is expelled out the back, keeping the doors to the room closed, ensuring that the flow of cold air makes it to the equipment, having redundant means of air conditioning and more.

Choosing the right cooling equipment for your room size is also important. Ductless cooling systems come in various configurations depending on your needs. You can buy wall-mount, ceiling-mount or floor-mounted cooling modules that are more than adequate for small server rooms. Contact ductless.ca for a wide range of server room cooling options for your small business.

Another best practice is to seal off the space where equipment operates. That means no open windows or doors, no missing ceiling tiles, no cracks where air can escape such as between ceiling tiles, under doors or where piping comes through a wall and shutting off the ducts and vents from the existing comfort air conditioning system—you don't want the two AC systems mixing. The more control you exert over the air in your server room, the fewer surprises you will experience. 

Tight control of temperature is also a vital factor in equipment uptime. It isn't common knowledge, but temperature changes affects equipment reliability. For every 10°C above 21°C, electronics reliability is reduced by 50%. Therefore, it is best to set the air conditioner to run at around that level or just a little higher.

The next point to avoid, if possible, is mixing people with a lot of computers. That adds heat to the space and puts a lot of strain on the air conditioner and the servers. So place your servers and other equipment in a closet or small room in order to create a tightly controlled environment.

Server blanking panels photo

For companies with several server racks, it is vital to ensure the cold air actually gets to where it is needed and doesn't mix with the hot air being shoved blown out the back of the server. You can have a situation, for example, where you are pumping enough cold air into the room, but it isn't getting to the top of the racks. Eighty percent of failures due to heat will be found in the top third of the rack.

Ideally, you should use blanking panels on the front of the rack to cover the spots where servers are missing. Without this, cold air runs through to the back of the rack and into the hot air at the back, rather than making its way up to the top of the rack. In situations where there is a whole rack sitting empty, you can put blocker panels at the front to prevent any cold air getting in.

Growing Threat

Many researchers have been tracking server room cooling issues and small businesses are suddenly in the spotlight. Smaller installations such as server closets and rooms have the highest number of cooling issues. ductless.ca recommends that small businesses call in outside help to figure out their cooling needs as there are too many ways to get it wrong and the results can be disastrous.

ductless.ca has been providing HVAC solutions to the Greater Toronto area for more than 15 years. For more information on commercial air conditioning installations for server room and data center cooling, please contact us at (416) 421-0200 or visit our online quote request form.

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