You’ve probably heard it before – “Every company these days is an IT company” – and to a certain extent, that’s true. The proliferation of IT has meant that virtually every company is reliant on technology to remain successful.
This expansion of computing technology also means a growth in the amount of cooling needed for the dedicated IT infrastructure – and this is an area that many air conditioning installers are missing out on, despite already having the skills to capitalise on the opportunity to grow their business.
In a time when installers need to find ways to set themselves apart from the crowd, being able to offer both AC and IT cooling installation can deliver a stable new revenue supply.
In this article, I look at the similarities between AC and IT cooling and the things to look out for when making an IT cooling recommendation.
Installers not only have the skills and experience, they also now have the dedicated equipment and full support
Rooms not warehouses
When we talk about IT cooling, we aren’t talking about the enterprise dedicated data centres – the Amazons, the Facebooks, the Googles. We are talking about server rooms located within multipurpose buildings like office blocks, retail units etc.
Typically, these rooms aren’t built on-spec to be server rooms and as such will need dedicated, independent cooling units to ensure the critical IT hardware is kept running.
Air conditioning installers are already in these buildings but may not have the confidence to quote for the IT cooling element but this is where new IT Cooling equipment is making the job easier by offering a dedicated ‘plug and play’ system that is completely familiar to the products that installers are already using.
AC or IT: What’s the difference?
Air conditioning installers know all about keeping occupants comfortable, but for most buildings, this will be a 9am-5pm job.
IT cooling requires dedicated cooling 24/7 every day of the year – without fail and this is where ‘traditional’ direct expansion (DX) units can struggle to meet the continuous needs of IT cooling.
Comfort cooling air conditioning units will often have downtime, especially in the evening when a building isn’t as busy.
IT cooling however is a round-the-clock job and is a critical requirement for any business.
With the recent launch of the s-MEXT high precision air conditioning systems, installers now have a new route to capitalise on this part of the building that they have previously been excluded from.
The packaged Computer Room Air Conditioning (CRAC) unit utilises the familiar Mr Slim Power Inverter outdoor unit to create a full inverter split system, designed specifically for IT environments.
Helping your clients make the right choices
Air conditioning installers working on a refurbishment or a new install project should always ask about the server rooms, extending the existing work that is already being done in the building.
Whether it’s for an office, a retail outlet, a doctor’s surgery, a hotel or a coffee shop, a lot of these businesses will have a room somewhere with critical computer support that cannot be switched off.
Anybody that has an IT communications or server room knows the fundamental issue with keeping IT hardware on-premise is that it must be kept cool to keep doing its job reliably.
These mission-critical parts of the business simply cannot fail. And they cannot rely on the same air conditioning system used for the rest of the building because they need their own dedicated system that offers the highest redundancy.
Many businesses won’t be aware that they can get their IT cooling facilities directly from an air conditioning installer. There is the perception that is it a more high-tech requirement needing an IT cooling specialist. But that doesn’t have to be the case.
Adding IT cooling to your business
When installers are asked to quote for installs and refurbishments of existing HVAC equipment for a variety of different buildings, it is now worth asking about the server room as well, as a lot of businesses don’t always link the requirements for IT cooling with the needs for occupant comfort.
These two parts of the same building, with their different requirements can often be dealt with separately by the facilities manager, or the specifying team, meaning you may miss out on the second part … unless you ask.
We live in a fast-moving world and developments in computing generally mean smaller, more powerful units and this increases the density of computing within a room or space, leading to even more heat generation.
Specifying and installing a dedicated air conditioning system for an IT server room, regardless of how large or small it is, can provide you with another opportunity for business.
And now, with the dedicated CRAC units, installers not only have the skills and experience, they also have the dedicated equipment and full support to capitalise on these chances.
At Mitsubishi Electric, we have brought together the simplicity of direct expansion air conditioning with our extensive knowledge of IT cooling sector to offers a simple ‘plug and play’ solution that enables air conditioning installers to capitalise on this market.
Richard Venga is Central Plant Sales Engineer at Mitsubishi Electric.