Hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world are unknowingly sabotaging themselves because of their server room. A server room is a room devoted to the continuous operation of computer servers and IT gear, usually at the business’ location. A server room is NOT a data center.
More often than not, these server rooms are less like rooms and more like closets. Unsecure, unsafe, scorching closets, much like the terrifying image above.
The server room started as a business necessity. Network equipment was easy to understand and cost-effective. A computer rack and/or a patch panel was all that was needed. No ventilation system, exhaust fans, or UPS necessary. Businesses could get away with just the bare essentials in the 90’s and the early aughts, but times have changed.
Now, companies need a fast and nonstop operation for system deployment, usually requiring a few dedicated server machines. These servers need tender loving care, like tons of cooling, HVAC, a UPS fed from a generator, and so on.
Here’s a few severe server room limitations, and why you may be better off colocating your servers in a data center if you are serious about your business.
LOCATION – First of all, where is your server room? An ideal location needs to be in a room where not one wall is an exterior wall, due to exterior walls often being damp. A burst water pipe can ruin the equipment. This is also why the server room shouldn’t be on the top floor or bottom floor of the building as these floors are susceptible to leaks. Avoid a room with more than one entrance, and certainly make sure there are no windows as someone would be able to easily break in. Speaking of..
SECURITY – Server closet security is important, and likely, lacking in a server room. At the very least, the room must be behind lock-and-key with only a few people allowed access to it. Better yet, the entrance should be secured with an alarm, as well as an alarm in the case of a leak. An IP camera that you can check remotely who comes in and out is also preferred.
CONNECTIVITY – One struggle businesses with server closets are facing is high bandwidth speed. You will need fast transfer speeds and avoid bandwidth bottlenecks. Depending on your location, a residential-class connection may not be good enough. Also, some ISP’s may restrict you from hosting a web server with too much bandwidth. This could be an ongoing problem because as your company grows, your bandwidth must increase with it.
COOLING – Having ten servers in an unventilated closet is about the equivalent of having a 2000W space heater on. Proper cooling must be a priority. This will require a large AC unit (not a box fan!) that is independent and not connected to the main building system in the event of a shutdown. The unit must be a decent amount away from the servers, so that there’s no risk of condensation or leaks. You will also need to pump out and remove the water from the AC every so often.
REDUNDANCY – What are your redundancy plans? Do you care if your servers go down for an hour, a day, a week? If so, removing single points of failure is the key. A uninterruptible power supply fed by a generator is essential for short-term power when the other power source fails. Battery backups on everything from routers to switches must also be set up for redundancy.
Do this the right way. If you have relatively new server hardware, find nearby colocation and save yourself the headache. If you have outdated hardware, retire your gear and buy some customizable dedicated servers ideal for your operation.
HostDime.com, Inc is a global data center infrastructure provider offering an array of cloud products from managed hosting servers to colocation services that cater to a range of clients, from entry-level to enterprise-level operations. HostDime owns and operates infrastructure and networks in seven countries, with its flagship facility in Florida, USA. Currently with a client base of more than 50,000, HostDime is one of the most reputable data center companies in the world.
Jared Smith is HostDime’s Content Strategist.