Tips for Setting up a Server Room

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June 15, 2011

Setting up a server room is something that can easily be done by the small business owner. It does not necessarily require an IT professional to get this accomplished. By doing the work in-house, a good deal of savings can be had. There are a number of considerations that should be kept in mind when planning and setting up the server room.

Photo: Tom Raftery (Flickr)

The first obvious consideration would have to be the location. It should not be in a high traffic area, but should still be easily accessible when need be. The size of the room should be adequate to hold the proper equipment and also allow room for future growth if necessary. The room should not double as a storage space nor should there be any other proposed use for this space besides the server rack.

The security of this room is important. It will contain expensive hardware that contains sensitive company information and therefore the access to this room needs to be limited. If possible, it should be locked at all times and employee access should be limited to those who have appropriate clearance for the area and truly have a need to be in the server room.

Before any equipment is purchased, a very specific plan and budget should be in place. This will help to guide the process so that everything required is purchased and there are no items that get forgotten. This budget plan should include the server and backup equipment, the rack and any additional equipment such as monitors and switches. Labor costs and any costs associated with remodeling the room itself should be included in this budget.

In general, it is wise to purchase equipment that is all from the same manufacturer. This will ensure that all of the components match up and will be entirely compatible. While this is not a necessity, it is usually a wise practice.

The room will need to be adequately cooled and ventilated. It should be free of humidity and kept no warmer that 68 degrees Farenheight. If the room does not have air conditioning, a window or wall mounted unit is necessary. A server will run best at cooler temperatures.

Finally, once all of the equipment is purchased and installed, it should be cataloged and the layout and configuration of the room should be drawn out. This will be helpful in the future when specific parts of the system need to be replaced and will be of assistance for any IT professionals who need to do work on the components. Having all of the documentation for the components will be useful if there is ever a need to get replacement parts or get service done when the items are still under the manufacturer’s warranty.

With some preliminary budgeting and planning, a server room and easily be set up by the small business owner.

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