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GCN : November 2013
CDWG.com | 800.808.4239 IT managers frequently put intense thought into power and cooling systems when designing or moving into a new, modern data center. But there are other reasons it might be time to rethink your organization's power and cooling strategies. Here are five signs the time has come to make changes that could keep your data center from running aground: WARNING SIGN #1: Your Server Racks Double as a Sauna e problem with your current cooling system may not be that it doesn't have the capacity to cool the organization's servers. In fact, overall room temperature may routinely stay within the proper range. Problems will surface in taking spot readings of temperatures where they matter most. In particular, hot spots that threaten to overheat valuable resources can often be detected behind banks of servers. If you're not effectively directing cooler air to such areas, it will be impossible to effectively remove the heat discharge from the back of the servers. One possible solution is an efficient in-row cooling system. Such a system can blow cold air directly into the containment aisle that holds heat from the servers. e result: no more hot zones, and consistently comfortable temperatures throughout the facility. WARNING SIGN #2: Small Problems Turn into Major Crises Regional catastrophes --- such as earthquakes, hurricanes or tornadoes --- aren't the only threats to continuity of operations. Everything from a brownout to a server fan that stops working can wreak havoc. When organizations avoid investment in redundant equipment, they become vulnerable to one weak link bringing down a large portion of the IT operation. e answer is what insiders call N+1 redundancy, which means each power and cooling component is supported by a backup resource. For example, a generator can be leveraged in addition to a battery backup, eliminating a single point of failure and keeping servers running temporarily if the organization loses power. An IT department can apply the same redundancy strategy to smaller components, such as the fans that blow cool air to the hot aisle behind the server racks. WARNING SIGN #3: Something's Growing on the Data Center's Walls Most IT managers will occasionally check the ambient temperature of the data center and maybe the micro-climates close to the server racks. But doing so offers only a rudimentary measure of atmospheric health. A better approach is to record not only temperatures, but also humidity levels and other readings at various times of the day, says David Hutchison, senior partner and founder of Excipio, a consulting firm that specializes in IT power and cooling strategies. WARNING SIGN #4: You Start Ignoring the Warning Signs IT managers acknowledge that the proper care and maintenance of an entire power and cooling environment takes time and effort --- sometimes more than a busy IT shop can muster. Some savvy techies have the answer: ey hire a managed services provider. Organizations can pay a monthly service fee to a provider to monitor the health of its power and cooling units from a central location. If an individual battery module on an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) shows signs of trouble, for example, a technician can troubleshoot the problem. Additional service providers can be contracted to monitor the prevailing status of the data center air to make sure everything conforms to the service-level agreement. When the power and cooling systems are running properly, these services also handle the routine care and maintenance of the equipment. WARNING SIGN #5: Your Data Center Is Always Bursting at the Seams Has your data center run out of room to grow? In addition to using valuable technologies for hot-aisle containment and in-row cooling, it's wise to ensure extra wiring and other provisions to make it easier to add capacity as demand grows. Server virtualization is another key means of ensuring your data center doesn't become too crowded too quickly. 5SIGNS THAT YOUR CURRENT POWER & COOLING SYSTEMS ARE IN CHOPPY WATERS Does your organization's data center require an upgrade in its power and cooling systems?