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We have very limited options for our first server in our small office and none of them look good. We are buying one HP Proliant ML350 G5. Per the HP power calculator with our system specs, we're looking at 1500-1750 BTUs/hr.

Our options for installation are:

  1. Unventilated closet that currently has modem / router
    • Concern with this is heat generated by the server.
    • Closet is 8' wide x 3' deep x 10' tall
    • This is my preferred option
  2. In the (mostly) climate-controlled office space
    • Server could go under a desk or something
    • Concern here is noise for the staff
  3. Non climate-controlled warehouse
    • Concern with this is ambient temperature.
    • We have winter nights in the 30s, summer days as hot as 115
    • This seems out of the question due to the summer heat

We will not likely grow past this one server (just more VMs running on it) but may add a micro NAS in the future. For Option 1, is one 1500 BTU / hr box going to be ok in the closet? Until I hear the server plugged in and running, I have no idea if Option 2 is feasible.

Thoughts?

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I would maybe go for a more silent brand than HP - Fujitsu for example. Then option 2 would definitely be feasible. –  Frederik Nielsen Aug 18 '12 at 10:36
    
Is there no way to connect the unventilated closet to the climate control of the office? A flexible tube to the climate controlled office (with a fan at the end of the tube) might not look pretty, but it works. –  Hennes Aug 18 '12 at 10:52
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Is "In the cloud?" an acceptable answer? –  Tom O'Connor Aug 18 '12 at 11:22
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2 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

First thing... You want to avoid this at all costs...

enter image description here

Why? Because that server ran in that environment continuously for five years until I extracted it to find this. Dust is your enemy!


For a long time (between early-2007 and mid-2009), I would intentionally spec the HP ProLiant ML350 G5 server for client sites where the server needed to reside in an office space. Note: It's an old server that's been superseded by two newer generations... Please make sure you run the HP Firmware DVD on the machine once you receive it.

There are a few unique reasons as to why it was a particularly good choice. The ML350 G5 did not use a bank of 6 x hot-swap fans like it's bigger brother, the ML370. Instead, it had a two variable-speed fans that could be augmented with an additional redundant fan kit (see the blue units on the left-side of this photo). Using this additional fan kit lowered the acoustic output of the server and provided better cooling poorly-ventilated environments.

It is quiet enough for an office.

The server also had removable feet, which allowed some flexibility in placement on shelves. The ML350 G5 was not sensitive to heat and I never had one encounter a thermal shutdown condition. I probably installed 40 units in less-than-ideal conditions (offices, warehouses, factories, etc.)

That said, the best arrangement when you don't have a dedicated server room/closet is to keep the server elevated with at least 1-2 feet of open space behind the rear of the chassis.

enter image description here

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Not stated in the question as "not possible", so I'd suggest adding some fans to the unventilated closet to provide air circulation, if not cooling. Server noise generally IS a concern for people.

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