There’s more to server care than placing them in a convenient room. Because you and possibly your customers depend on the applications running on your servers, their operation and condition affect the welfare of your business. Too many businesses fail to understand this and suffer the consequences. Here are four ways to avoid common on-site server room hazards:
Too much or too little humidity can damage your servers. Too much may cause condensation on surfaces exposed to the air. Water condensate in the wrong places cause short circuits. Hard drives and motherboards can fail catastrophically or the equipment can suffer long-term damage from corrosion, which leads to premature failure. Cold pipes can also drip condensate directly on your servers.
Too little humidity creates the danger of static discharge. The spark of a static discharge is a high voltage event that can damage sensitive server components.
Besides floods and beverage spillage, there are a number of unexpected ways that servers become exposed to water. This is mostly from plumbing within and without your building. In very cold weather, plumbing between walls may freeze and crack. Or an old rusty fitting can start leaking. These could occur in the server room wall or in the room above.
Restrooms are another source of water spillage. If one is above your server room, water seepage through your ceiling that endangers your servers is a possibilty. If your server room is below ground level, any outside flooding will likely flood the room. Fiber optic installers have been known to run their lines through storm drains to access basement server rooms. This means a plugged hole separates the storm drain from the servers. Water pressure inside a filled storm drain is enough to burst open the plug.
Air conditioning is less effective if your server arrangement doesn’t allow sufficient air circulation. Insufficient space around your servers bottle up their heat and cause overheating. Stacking multiple servers on top of each other, excessive clutter, or placement in a tight corner of the room can cause this problem.
Dust commonly builds up in out-of-sight places, including the tight spaces next to the server or even within the server. Dust is an insulator and therefore interferes with cooling, which can lead to overheating. Dust also retains condensation moisture, which causes corrosion and increases the risk of a short.
Finally, multiple servers can heat up a room quickly, and the temperature must be tightly controlled with reliable air conditioning. If you’re deciding on whether to run your important applications on in-house servers, or to use application hosting services, remember that reliable long-term server upkeep requires that you effectively create your own data center. If this diverts too much money and resources away from your core business, contact us to learn more about our application hosting.