How to Design a Server Room

Your server room is the heart of your business’ IT capability – and therefore the heart of your business. Make sure your website keeps running smoothly, and your vital data is safely stored, with a room that’s fit for purpose now and tomorrow. How big is your room?

The amount of physical space you have available to you is going to define the layout of your server room. In an ideal world, you would dictate the space according to your future server needs. In reality, you often have to work with what you have. Start by dedicating a space as your server room, then work out how much of it needs to be sacrosanct for cooling and rack systems. Don’t forget to apportion space for cables, wires and switches.

Define the hardware you need now

Look at your current business needs, and work out how many servers, switch racks and power supplies you need to run the business as it stands. This defines the minimum size and layout for your server installation. Note that you can buy serves at 1U high as well as 2U, and that you can also opt for blade servers, which stand upright to allow more to fit in one small space.

Define the hardware you need tomorrow

The best server room designs, however, are done by defining the probable hardware requirements of your business over the next 10 years. Obviously it’s impossible to completely define this number, as technology changes so rapidly that you can’t use today’s figures as a guesswork marker for tomorrow’s needs. You can, however, look back at the storage capacities you have needed to run your business over the preceding decade. And extrapolate forward from that. If possible, design a server room that can power your company well in to the future. It makes sense as an investment this way.

Design the cooling system

Server temperature is one of the most important elements of your data room design. If your servers get too hot, they’ll shut down. When they shut down, your systems stop working and your website is no longer able to provide your customers with a seamless experience. You could lose sales just because the site isn’t working – and in worst case scenarios, you can lose vital transactional or consumer data. Servers are usually cooled by fan systems, but in large rooms this may be impractical. Look at enclosing the servers in a sealed interior room, and pulling the hot air out into an outer shell room, where refrigeration units re-cool the air and pass it back inside.

Specify the servers most useful for your needs

There are hundreds of different server applications – and hundreds of different server types. Pick the size and power that best suits your current and projected future needs, to make the most appropriate use of the space you have defined. Small businesses, for example, may be best suited with minor rack mounting systems, and can even investigate sharing options with other businesses in their building. A shared server room is an excellent way to get more hardware for less money. Contact G2Digital for more information.

The Author is an electronics expert who writes online articles and blogs for a umber of highly popular technology home pages. His own network of technology blogs is retweeted thousands of times every day, and he is regularly invited to provide guest content for the home pages of major national entertainment networks.