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Keeping businesses’ IT infrastructure cool has never been more critical and this offers installers a new opportunity as Graham Temple discovers

These days, every company is reliant on IT as never before and this provides an excellent opportunity for air conditioning installers who can offer the equipment to keep both people and business-critical computing at the right temperature to maximise productivity.

Whether your customers are retailers harnessing the power of data to understand shoppers’ online and in-store preferences, a manufacturing company using software to analyse product lines and improve overall quality, or a typical office-based company which needs the computers to link with its global connections, computing is everywhere.

Data and IT as a whole is an inescapable part of business reality in the twenty-first century and it’s only going to grow as smaller companies tap into revolutionary technologies like the Internet of Things, Big Data and 5G.

Anybody that has an IT 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, and this is where a new possibility for installers arises.

For critical computing equipment, the essential requirement from any IT cooling is reliability and performance

Graham Temple Graham Temple Marketing Manager

Bricks or clouds

The growth of data now means that businesses essentially have three options:

1.     An Enterprise Data Centre (EDC) on their own premises.

2.     A Co-location service, where they rent individual IT racks within a larger datacentre

3.     Cloud-based Service Providers (CSP), where your data could physically be stored anywhere in the world.

For any of these options, keeping this equipment cool now offers real business potential for any air conditioning company with the right equipment and support to deliver the ideal solution.

Many companies have already turned to the cloud and CSPs to provide them with their IT resources and storage.  And this has led to the development of large data centres which require specialised cooling systems to keep them operational.

Others rent dedicated server racks within large data centres and both of these options need specialist cooling equipment such as our own recently introduced i-NEXT DX range of air conditioners, which are ideal for applications where high precision close control of temperature is needed.

But there are also businesses – and there are a lot of them, that want or need to keep their IT hardware on-premises and these must rely on an EDC within their building, which is where the i-NEXT DX range can help.

A report released earlier this year highlighted that 56% of respondents believed that their own data security systems were better than those being offered by CSPs.

This of course has a practical impact on businesses which need to keep their IT on-premise.

Keeping it cool

Air conditioning installers working on a refurbishment or a new install project should always ask about the server rooms.

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 the critical computer support which 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 as it runs 24/7, 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 HVAC system used for the rest of the building because they need their own dedicated system that offers the highest redundancy.

In the worse-case scenario when electricity should fail to the mains supply, most servers will have a back-up power supply that will kick in to ensure they continue running critical IT processes.

A building’s comfort cooling system however, may not come on for several minutes or even hours. It is therefore important to have a dedicated air conditioning unit for IT cooling that has a back-up power supply as well.

This will ensure it can keep going whenever the IT system is in use, in order to prevent the room and the critical equipment from overheating and failing.

These specialised cooling systems provide the opportunity for further work in addition to the main air conditioning system. 

If you don’t ask

Many installers will be asked to quote for installs and refurbishments of existing HVAC equipment for a variety of different buildings.  It’s always 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 boxes 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 the installer with another opportunity for business.

Ask questions

There are a myriad of factors to consider when looking at your customer’s IT rooms.

-        If they’re in a shared office space, does it have adequate air conditioning 24/7 to keep the room cool?

-        Is the chosen space big enough to allow for appropriate air circulation?

-        Will its proximity to other heat sources be an issue to ambient air temperature?

Taking all these factors into consideration and opting for dedicated air conditioning units that can support the IT hardware needs is essential to maintain the good running of any business – and this provides an opening for DX engineers and installation companies.

There’s now a new choice of high precision close control systems, which are ideal for applications where high sensible cooling and close control of temperature and humidity are required.

By using inverter-driven technology, users can maximise their sites’ energy efficiency, helping to reduce overall running costs of the IT equipment.

With capacities of up to 140kW for down flow, and 105kW for up flow configurations, these i-NEXT systems are well-equipped to deal with a wide variety of data centre and computer room applications.

We also offer a number of other solutions for IT cooling in a wide range of capacities, including door cooling units, perimeter cooling units and rack cooling solutions, all available in both DX and chilled water variants and matched with the optimal MEHITS chiller.  

So, whatever the IT cooling needs, there is an ideal product that can allow you to cover this.

Graham Temple is Marketing Manager for Mitsubishi Electric, Living Environment Systems in the UK.