Don’t let the hot weather cause issues for your IT

Stuart Palmer,
As we get to that time of the year when the mercury rises and the heat of summer approaches, it’s important to consider the implications of high temperatures on IT equipment and, as is customary when the first hot spell is upon us, I wanted to just highlight a few things that IT teams should be considering right now to ensure their IT runs smoothly.
Glaring sun seen from the City
  1. Server / Comms room air-conditioning
    • Does it exist in the first place?
    • Is it working?
    • Is it already working at maximum capacity and is maybe potentially undersized for the thermal demands of the equipment in there?
    • Who is responsible for its upkeep? You, or a building management company?
    • When was the last time it was routinely serviced? Routine professional servicing on air-conditioning units is important to clear out dust and junk from the coils and the external condenser units.
  2. Server / Comms room windows
    • Are there any windows?
    • Does the sun fall on them at all? This could heat the room and putting additional stress on the room’s air-con units.
    • If sun does fall on them, are they suitably tinted or lined with semi-reflective film to minimise the heating of the room?
  3. Comms equipment/access switches
    • If they’re wall-mounted or not in an air-conditioned environment, are ventilation holes completely clear of obstructions?
    • If they’re in a small glass-fronted comms cabinet, does sun fall directly on it at all?
    • Are we monitoring intake temperatures?
  4. Server Racks
    • Are they full of cardboard boxes or other rubbish which can impede airflow out of the rack or block intakes on switches etc?

Every summer it’s important to understand that there are always instances where hot temperatures either directly cause (or exacerbate existing) infrastructure related issues. Fans need to work harder, hard disks are significantly more likely to fail, and in some extreme cases, thermal shutdowns can be triggered if equipment gets too hot when air-conditioning units break.

With the majority of people still working remotely, it’s key to be monitoring temperatures of racks and server rooms and ensure you don’t encounter any hot weather IT issues.