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Server room cooling basics

Server room cooling may not depend on the newest technologies. This collection of server room cooling basics suggests it may be enough to know your server room equipment.

Server room cooling in the data center can take up a lot of time and energy for value-added resellers (VARs) and the companies they support. The pain points created in server room environments can be eased with some forethought. By considering the types of servers that will be installed into the data center and their individual cooling needs, VARs can alleviate a lot of problems that their customer may run into. Planning hot and cold aisle configurations can go a long way to keeping those high-density racks frosty. Knowing the right techniques to keep blade servers from overheating will save your client money and keep you in their good graces.

Become a trusted SMB storage advisor
Take the time to understand customer requirements rather than show them the lowest cost product on a line card. Unless you are looking to compete with other low-cost providers, taking time to present options and explaining why those options have merit to your customers brings value. As a trusted advisor, you can help them navigate various technology options and vendor differences. Be prepared to step outside the box, so to speak, to propose an alternative technology you are comfortable using that will also help address specific issues; you may want to help ease day-to-day management, improve availability or enable future growth without adding complexity or cost.

Furthermore, many large storage vendors, including EMC and NetApp, are creating new channel-focused business models outside of their traditional original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and reseller networks. This ultimately allows the channel to bring alternative solutions to customers that are easy to use, easy to install, easy to acquire and affordable -- so they can differentiate themselves from competitors while addressing customer pain points.

Cooling blade servers
Blade servers are popular in server rooms because they take up less room in the racks -- but they do get hot. VARs should expect to see them in their client's data centers and need to know how to keep them cool as part of the value added to the project. Knowing the right technique and some best practices can make your job much easier.

Cooling high-density racks
Know how to optimize server room configuration can lead to a longer lifespan for your client's hardware. Fine tuning a set up may make the difference between a sweltering server room and cold one. It might not be as difficult as you think to get a handle on these techniques. And be sure that your customer will appreciate the value you add by keeping their energy bill near the freezing point.

Overheating servers
Servers get hot. Everyone knows that. But not everyone knows that most server rooms weren't built with considerations for the amount of heat that gets kicked out of the hardware in a server room. Keeping these rooms cool and the servers running can be big business for a VAR with the right kind of knowledge. But not every situation has a one size fits all solution. You'll need to know your servers and the best ways to keep them cold. Check out this expert advice to get started.

How can I lower power and cooling costs?
Sometimes the best strategies for cooling are often overlooked. When was the last time you got under that raised floor to get rid of excess cable? Not all cooling solutions have to be focused on new technology -- although those technologies, like virtualization, certainly have their place. Take a look at this expert advice. It may not advocate anything flashy, but the tips that are offered may save you time and your client a lot of money trying to keep the server room chilled.

This was last published in February 2007

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