What is a best practice for storing server spares (hard drives, RAM, power supplies, etc) with respect to how/where they are stored? Some options are storing them in climate controlled storage or just a standard warehouse-type stockroom? My understanding is that all other things being equal climate-controlled storage is preferred.

What are the risks of storing that type of thing in a non-climate-controlled, somewhat dusty shelving area? Conversely are there risks to storing spares in a climate controlled area?

If there are space limitations in climate controlled storage are there some parts, such as hard drives, which should be in climate controlled, while other parts such as power supplies will probably be ok in non climate controlled storage?

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    I have always kept all spare parts in the datacenter with the servers. Makes logical sense to me to have the parts in the secured area and close to the current running hardware. – Alan Barber Jun 12 '12 at 15:04

Assuming that the spares are in their original packaging or otherwise sealed then you shouldn't really need to do anything other than keep them dry. If they are sealed then they should be able to cope with a fairly humid atmosphere - though obviously the higher the humidity the more likely moisture is to creep into even the most tightly packaged item (unless it's airtight).

As long as the temperature range isn't unduly excessive (significantly below freezing or significantly above room temperature 21C) the temperature shouldn't be an issue as the parts aren't generating heat. In that respect a power supply is the same as a hard drive (for example).

The only thing to add here is that if the parts are kept somewhere cold they should be left to warm up to room temperature before fitting. This will avoid undue heat stress when they are first powered up.

Dust would only be an issue if the spares weren't kept in any packaging.

  • I'd be concerned if the humidity were too high. I wouldn't want my hard drive spindles rusting on me. – Bigbio2002 Jun 12 '12 at 21:42
  • @Bigbio2002 - fair point. Though if the drives are sealed this should be a low risk. – ChrisF Jun 12 '12 at 21:48
  • Unless the package is 100% sealed with no air leaks, then humidity would creep in. Though from what I recall, they do seal those silver anti-static pouches pretty tightly. – Bigbio2002 Jun 12 '12 at 21:50
  • +1 for including thermal shock. – Tom O'Connor Feb 18 '13 at 21:35

AlanBarber's comment is the best answer but in regard to whether or not there's a need to store the parts in a climate controlled environment you should consider where they've been prior to that.

Few factories are climate controlled. Even fewer warehouses are climate controlled. Even fewer still transport vehicles (trucks, planes, ships, etc.) are climate controlled. Those parts were created, stored and transported without the need or desire for climate control. Why should that change once they're in your possession?

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