Your server room is where your internal equipment and your connectivity to the outside world meet. PCs, servers, printers, security, wireless conferences and telephones will all come together here. If you are following the BICSI guidelines, it will be known as the telecommunications space, but is more commonly referred to as the server room, network room or data room. Having a well-planned server room will provide a range of benefits including:
• A dedicated space for data and voice equipment
• Sufficient and efficient workspace for completing moves, changes, additions and troubleshooting
• Adequate space and correct temperature to support hardware for its lifespan
• Easy adaptation for future growth
• Additional security layers for mission-critical equipment.
The size of the building, number of floors and the amount as well as the type of equipment installed and supported will impact the quantity and locations of the server rooms. The size of the area will be based on the floor space and the function.
Cable Management and Termination
Your server room needs to be planned in a way that ensures current needs are met and future expansion is possible. The larger the server room and installation, the more important it is to manage the cables in a clean and efficient manner. Ethernet cables should terminate on patch panels to provide efficiency with additions, moves and changes.
Racks, Cabinets and Enclosures
When you set up your server room, you want it to be organised and neat instead of a chaotic mess. To ensure this, you need to plan the housing for all of the cables and equipment in the room. When you look at your equipment mounting solutions, you should consider the quantity and size of the servers, switches, patch panels and the air flow. You also need to consider any equipment such as uninterrupted power supply, monitors, power strips and keyboards.
Power and Lighting Considerations
When it comes to your server room, there are some standards that you need to keep in mind and meet. This will include the room having a dedicated power panel. The room will also need to have at least 2 dedicated AC duplex outlets with each being on its own branch circuit. The voltage and amperage of the outlet should be based on the equipment requirements.
The power outlets should also never be controlled by a wall switch. The reason is that someone could see the switch and not know what it does or feel that it looks in the wrong place. They will flick the switch and all of the power to your whole network will be shut off.
As the server room is a critical space for your business, you should look at a backup power source in case there is ever a power failure. An uninterrupted power supply is recommended. To choose the right UPS, you will need to know the amount of power used for all of the equipment in the room.
The importance of temperature control cannot be stressed enough and you need to control the humidity as well. Network equipment can overheat and when this happens it may need to be reset. It can also stop operating completely or if it becomes too hot, the equipment can cause a fire.
You will need to check the requirements set out by the manufacturer in terms of temperature and humidity. You should then make a plan to keep the server room within these specifications, by ensuring that you have efficient data centre cooling. Many of these plans will be impacted by the site of the room as well as the amount of heat that is released by the equipment.
Access to the Room
When thinking about protecting digital assets, most people will focus on outside threats such as viruses and malware. However, there are other threats if someone is able to simply walk into your company and get access to the server room. This is why you need to have a door for the network room that is locked at all times as the minimum. You also need to ensure that access to the room is restricted to those who need it.