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What is the correct temperature for a server room?

We're a small company with a 200 foot back room we use as a server room. It has no fans and no ventilation.

Right now, I'm running a small desktop computer as a PBX box and a Dell T605 server for general office use. (We're making heavy use of virtual machines but are basically out of capacity).

I want to add another Dell server to the room. I'm worried though about temperature.

Realistically, at what point do I need to invest in air conditioning for the room? Currently, the temperature is slightly warm when the door is closed but not excessive. How can I effectively measure the need?

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marked as duplicate by GregD, squillman, EEAA, Ben Pilbrow, sysadmin1138 Mar 31 '11 at 20:53

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Why are you guessing at the temperature? Get a thermometer. One can be had for less than 5 bucks. –  GregD Mar 31 '11 at 19:08
    
My server room gets no hotter than 69 degrees F. We have a dedicated ac unit in the server room. –  GregD Mar 31 '11 at 19:09
    
You add air conditioning when you're building the server room. Y'know, at the same time that you do the fire suppression, raised floor and cable ducts. –  Tom O'Connor Mar 31 '11 at 19:35

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I would start with Dell's recommendation regarding temperature: For a T610, they recommend 23°C +/- 2°C ambient, so I guess the T605 is somewhat similar.

Then you will have to measure what the current temperature in the room is (with a thermometer, not your wet finger), and how that might change if you add another ~300W heat source to the room, also factor in how hot the room might get even without a server in the summer and if you figure this will constantly be below 25°C, you are fine without a new AC, but I somehow doubt this will be the case in California.

Another thing: With or without an AC, you will have to monitor the temperatures in your server room and make sure someone gets alerted if it gets too high.

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hah. I'm in San Francisco. Summer weather is very brisk. Thanks for the tips -- will check the related articles and become a little more analytical in my approach. –  Will Glass Apr 1 '11 at 21:09

It's worth bearing in mind that the cooler you keep your servers, the higher MTTF you'll achieve with the server components, and the faster you'll be able to run said servers.

Needless to say: if your servers crash repeatedly, then it's too hot!

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This answer is far too generalised. All the components have a working temperature range and an optimum temperature range. The goal is to keep them all in the latter. You can definitely get them too cool. e.g. -150 degrees (C or F hardly matters) is definitely a bit too chilly. –  John Gardeniers Mar 31 '11 at 21:26
    
Fair point, and that's certainly true. Although if you can get your chip cooled down that much, imagine the overclocking possibilities! Liquid Nitrogen should do it. –  Steve Mayne Apr 1 '11 at 9:17

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