Frequently Asked Questions

Access Security FAQs

As the term implies there are multiple security zones that a person must pass security checks at before passing through. These can include an external barrier and fencing to prevent access to car park, to outer door security guards and inner door bio-metric-type security readers.
Category: Access Security

When an access control system uses an electronic lock, the lock only opens for a time-specific period when a valid card is inserted into a card reader. Without the access card the electronic locking device will not open.

Category: Access Security

A major benefit of an electronic fob is that an intelligent entry control system can normally identify the presence of a security fob and allow access. The fobs may be zoned to only allow access to specific areas of a building. The downside is that whilst the electronic fob may be allocated to a person, it can be handed to others for access.

Category: Access Security

Air Conditioning Unit Repair FAQs

We do provide repair warranty and guarantee when we complete the repair of an air conditioning unit. The repair warranty is 6 or 12 months dependent upon the AC unit date of manufacture and brand. Where we have had to liaise with the manufacturer of the air conditioner, we pass along the warranty they provide for the repair.

We try to repair air conditioners on site as this is the least expensive way for clients. Depending on the size of the air conditioning unit, it can be quite difficult to remove an air conditioning system from site for repair. Where we cannot repair an AC unit on site we can work with manufacturer’s repair facilities to repair a unit or collect the unit for repair in our service workshop.

Customers with an air conditioning maintenance contracts have access to an emergency call out service number and depending on the type of contract this can include a 24/7 technical support line with a 4 clock hour response. Customers without an air conditioner maintenance contract can call our technical team during normal working hours and request a call out.

Air Conditioning Regulations FAQs

After 2020, only recycled or reclaimed R-22 refirgerant will be made avaialble for the servicing of existing, legacy air conditioning units. Existing air conditioner owners should look to upgrade their systems to one that uses a compliant refrigerant.

An F-Gas rerigerant is a fluorinated gas that can stay in the atmosphere for centuries and contribute towards the global greenhouse effect. F-Gas types include: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). An F-Gas certificate is required for any company involved in the installation, maintenance and servicing of stationery refrigeration, air conditioning and/or heat pump systems using F-Gas refrigerants. The certification last for 3 years and companies with the registration are included on the F-Gas Register.

 

The aim of the Energy Performance of Buildings (EU: 2002) is to drive energy efficiency improvements within buildings. The purpose is to reduce carbon emissions and slow down climate change. By 31 December 2020 all new buildings in the European Union must be nearly ‘zero energy buildings’. New public sector buildings must achieve this by 31 December 2018.

Cooling System FAQs

In an air conditioner, an inverter is used to control compressor motor speed to allow continuous temperature regulation. Without an inverter the air conditioner could only control temperature by either working at full speed or being powered off. An air conditioning unit with an inverter is more energy efficient and can have a longer working life  than a standard AC unit. The outdoor compressor also tends to run quieter.

Category: Cooling Systems

Liquid immersion cooling is a cooling solution for high-density racks in server rooms (40-50kW) and datacentres that relies on heat reduction through the immersion of the server hardware in a dielectic liquid that can conduct the heat. A dielectic liquid for this type of cooling application should have good thermo-physical properties (high conductivcity and speciifc heat), low freezing and burst points, a high atmospheric boiling point, good chemical and thermal stability, high flash and auto-ignition points, be non-corrosive to materials including metals and plastics, have no or minimal regulatory constraints and be economically viable as an alternative to air-based and gas refrigerants.

Category: Cooling Systems

Adiabatic cooling in a datacentre environment is referred to as ‘free air cooling’. The cooling process is a naturally occuring phenomena for regulating temperature and relies on a change in air pressue and volume expansion to reduce heat. When the pressure on a volume of air is reduced, the air expands and the volume increases. As it does so, energy (heat) within the air volume reduces and so does the heat.

Category: Cooling Systems

Active cooling is the practice of applying cool air to an area or system or device via an air conditioning or cooling unit. Active cooling can also be referred to as forced cooling or forced convection. The alterantive is natural convection or passive cooling.

Category: Cooling Systems

DX stands for direct expansion and a DX air conditioning unit uses a condensed refrigerant liguid in an expansion and compression cycle to cool air. In a server room or datacentre the DX unit cools the air coming in through a supply plenum and returns cool air to the area where it is required.

Category: Cooling Systems
GWP in air conditioning units stands for Global Warming Potential. GWP is a relative index to quantify the amount of heat trapped in the atmosphere by a greenhouse gas. By definition the GWP of carbon dioxide (CO2) is equal to 1.
Category: Cooling Systems

Sensible heat is the heat that causes an object to change temperature. When an object is heated the increase in heat is called the ‘sensible heat’. When the temperature of an object falls, the heat removed is called ‘sensible heat’. Latent heat is the heat the heat added to an object in order for it to change state. All natural substances can change state; solids become liquids (ice turns into water) and liquids can turn in gasses (water turns into vapour) when heat is added removed from them. However, latent heat does not affect the temperature of a substance or object. Water for example boils at 100°C and the latent heat keeps the water boiling. Total capacity in an air conditioner is the sum of the sensible and latent heat values. The term ‘sensible capacity’ defines the cooling capacity of an air conditioner, whilst the term ‘latent capacity’ defines the capacity of the cooling unit to remove the moisture from the air.

Category: Cooling Systems

EER stands for Energy Efficiency Ratio and measures the energy efficiency of an air conditioning unit. An air conditioner’s EER is calculated by dividing the cooling capacity of the air conditioning unit (measured in BTU, British Thermal Units) by the power input required (in Watts). The higher the EER ratio, the more energy efficient the air conditioning unit.

Category: Cooling Systems

The optimum temperature for a server room is 20-21°C (68-71°F). This provides a comfortable environment for technicians and engineers to work in and one that can help to maximise the electronic and electrical equipment within the room including the servers, UPS systems and air conditioners.

Category: Cooling Systems

The 2014 EU Regulation for fluorinated greenhouse gas (F-Gas) usage, is intended to reduce emissions of F-Gasses which are used as refrigerants in some air conditioning units. The gasses in question include R134a, R407C and R410A which all come under the regulation. The objective is to ensure their containment by raising professionalism during installation, operation and maintenance and good record keeping. The regulation also covers the phasing out of HFCs and product bans.

Category: Cooling Systems

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive(EPBD) is the EU’s (European Union) main legislative instrument which aims to promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings within the EC.  The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is designed to help reduce carbon emissions from buildings. One of its articles states all air conditioning systems over 12kW should be inspected regularly (at least every five years). These inspections will highlight ways to reduce carbon  emissions and may also reduce running costs.

Split air conditioner systems consist of two parts: the indoor unit includes the cool air handling assemblies and supplies temperature controlled air into the room, whilst the outdoor unit includes the hot coils and condenser assemblies. This type of ‘split’ arrangement reduces the size of the indoor unit, lowers the audible noise within the room and can reduce pipe installation costs where the outdoor unit is installed close or on the outside wall to the indoor cooling unit.

Category: Cooling Systems

The IT servers used within server rooms, datacentres and IT networks generate heat. The amount of heat an IT server generates depends upon the level of utilisation (loading) and the energy efficiency of the server design. Within a confined space, such as a server rack cabinet, heat levels can rise to damaging levels and present a fire risk. Typical server racks can see power demands of up to 30kW and the need to cool or dissipate up to 5kW or more of excess heat. Air conditioners and cooling systems are used to reduce the heat within server racks and also the room in which the rack cabinets are installed.

Category: Cooling Systems

COP stands for Coefficient of Performance and is sometimes referred to as the CP or CoP and can be used to refer to the ratio of useful heating or cooling provided compared to the output required. The higher the COP, the higher the efficiency and the lower the operating costs. COP is a measure used for heat pumps, refrigerators and air conditioners.

Category: Cooling Systems

The terms air conditioner, power inverter and heat pump are sometimes referred to by different air conditioner manufacturers because air conditioners as well as having a cooling function can also provide a heating one. In the cooling industry, a power inverter normally has a higher COP (Coefficient of Performance) and can cope with a longer pipe run as it will generally have a different condenser, more efficient compressor and a bigger coil to dissipate more heat. The term heat pump may also be used as a an air conditioner or power inverter has the ability to cool as well as provide heating. This is a different use of the team ‘heat pump’ than that associated with air-source or ground-source heat pumps.

Category: Cooling Systems

A British Thermal Unit (BTU) is used to measure thermal or heat energy and is the amount of energy needed to raise 1 pound of water 1°F at sea level. BTU/hr is measure of the thermal or heat energy generated per hour and is a measured to used specify air conditioners. The formula for calculating BTU/hr is: Heat Dissipation (Watts) x 3.4192 = BTU/Hr. So if a server has a heat dissipation (output) of 500 Watts the thermal or heat energy generated is 1709.6 BTU/hr.

Category: Cooling Systems

SEER stands for Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio and is a term used in air conditioning to compare units for their energy efficiency when heating or cooling over an entire year. The measure is driven by the EU’s Energy Related Products (ErP) Directive (the Eco-design Directive) which specifies the minimum Eco-design requirements that manufacturers must integrate into their energy-using products. The new measures reflect a devices true energy consumption as they measure energy efficiency over a complete year including temperature fluctuations and standby periods.

Category: Cooling Systems

Duty of Standby is a configuration scenario where one cooling system is referred to as the ‘Duty’ system and the other as the ‘Standby’. The choice between which device acts as the Duty is known as the service. In normal operation, the Duty air conditioner is running and the Standby is does not run. This type of configuration can suit server room environments using either single or three phase mains power supplies and where there is a need for redundancy (N+X) in the cooling operation. Server rooms with three phase mains power supplies can install either a three phase air conditioning system or single phase systems with one cooling unit per phase.

Category: Cooling Systems

R32 is a refrigerant with relatively low flammability but zero Ozone Depleting Potentual (ODP) and a lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) than traditional R22 or R410A refrigerants used in air conditioners.

Category: Cooling Systems

R22 is a Hydrochloroflourocaron (HCFC) refrigerant used in air conditioners, process chillers and industrial plant cooling systems. R22 is an ozone depleting gas and EU legislation banned its stockholding and system topping up from 1st January 2016. As a result air conditioners using this refrigerant cannot be maintained and must be replaced.

Category: Cooling Systems

Relative Humidity is the ration of partial pressure of water vapor in an air-water mixture to the saturated vapor pressure of water at a particular temperature. Relative Humidity is shown as a percentage and measured in: %rh. In a high temperature area the difference can be as high as 10% or greater leading to potential damage and corrosion of metals, electrical and electronic devices. A typical example would be Singapore and other tropical-type environments where the average relative humidity can be 80% or more. In a datacentre or server room environment it is important to maintain low humidity levels.

Category: Cooling Systems

A refrigerant is a fluid used within a refrigeration or cooling system to transfer heat. The refrigerant is circulated and absorbs heat at low temperatures and pressures and transfers this heat at high temperatures and pressures. Refrigerants are typically man-made fluorocarbon compounds but there are natural refrigerants including Ammonia, CO2, hydrocarbons, water and air. Within an air conditioning unit, the term ‘refrigerant charge’ is also used. This is the amount of refrigerant, measured in Kg within the cooling system.

Category: Cooling Systems

A Precision Air Conditioning (PAC) system is one designed for cooling datacentre and server room environments rather than one designed for general building (homes, commercial offices and retail). Precision Air Conditioning systems typically offer superior design and reliability and have a high ratio of sensible-to-total cooling capacity (COP).

Category: Cooling Systems

Latent Cooling Capacity (LCC) is the amount of energy added or removed from the air in order to increase or reduce the moister content (humidity) during the air conditioning process. Latent Cooling Capacity is measured in Kg/Kg of dry air.

Category: Cooling Systems

The term ‘hydrocarbon refrigerant’ is also known as HC and refers to a family of chemicals that contain only carbon and hydrogen, that are suitable for use as a refrigerant in cooling systems. Typical examples would include:

  • Propane (R290)
  • Isobutane (R600a)
  • The CARE range with zero Open Drip Proof (ODP) and a very low Global Warming Potential (GWP)
Category: Cooling Systems

The equipment within a server cabinet can include servers, switches, routers and rack mount UPS systems. These devices tend to draw air ‘front-to-rear’ as a result of their design and fan operation. A hot-aisle/cold-aisle containment is an arrangement of server cabinets so that the front of the cabinets face each other (cold-aisle). Air conditioned (cool) air is drawn in from the front of the cabinets and exits the server cabinets into a hot-ailse. From the ‘hot-ailse’ the warm air is drawn back into the cooling system for cooling and re-circulation back through the cold-aisle.

Category: Cooling Systems

HVAC is an industry acronym that stands for ‘Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning’. These three systems are often combined into one overall system within a datacentre building with specialists known as HVAC engineers. Air conditioning specialist suppliers may also be known as HVAC companies. The aim for an HVAC system is to provide a thermal comfort and acceptable air quality in an economically viable and energy efficient manner.

Category: Cooling Systems

Critical cooling load refers to the load in a server room or datacentre environment of the usable cooling capacity. The critical cooling load does not include equipment in support areas outside the datacentre or server room floor.

Category: Cooling Systems

Containment Aisle FAQs

Cold aisle containment is designed to elimiate hot spots in server racks, allows more space within the server rack to be used and reduce overall cooling cooling costs. Cold-aisle containment can be used with raised access floor plenums and/or overhead ducted supplies to improve cold airflow to the server racks. The plenum is then open space between the structural concetre slab and the underside of the raised access floor system. As well as for cooling, the plenum may also be used for cable runs via conduits.

Cold aisle containment systems are designed to eliminate hot-spots within server racks, server rooms and datacentres. These hot-spots typically occur at the top of server racks and are affected by hot exhaust air circulation. Cold ailse containment forms an enclosed ‘cold aisle’ over the top of the racks and by using sliding doors at both ends of the containment. By managing air flow at the top of the server racks, more of the space within the server rack cabinet can be used, reducing the space cost per server in the rack and the costs of cooling can be reduced.

Referred to as hot aisle/cold aisle containment is a server room layout design and arrangement for server racks whose goal is to a configuration layout the achieves the lowest cooling costs and conserves energy through efficient managemt  of the hot and cold air flow from and to the server racks.

Design and Build FAQs

ISO 27001 is an interational standard covering security management systems (SMS) including a risk assessment for physical security including the design of server rooms and the security of the data storage and processing assets within the room. Our consultants can provide an assement to ISO 27001 including a gap analysis and plan to pass assessment to the standard by an external auditor.

Category: Design & Build

The most commonly quoted temperature average for a server room is 20-25°C. Whilst the ASHRAE standard promotes a higher temperatures to reduce cooling costs the room temperature has to be comfortable for anyone working within it. Also if there are UPS systems with batteries in a server room or data hall, the batteries tend to age quickly in ambient environments above 30°C.

Category: Design & Build

High Performance Computing is a way of clustering computing devices to achieve a far higher level of computational activity than can be achieved via single computer. HPC is a term commonly associated with Super Computers used to solve complex mathematical and engineering problems. The term is also used within the datacentre industry where servers are clustered.

Category: Design & Build

Form factor is a term used to describe the physical size and shape of a piece of computer hardware. The term is common within the IT industry and is used to identify how a piece of computer hardware should be installed: rack mount or tower form factor. If the device has a rack mount Form Factor a height will usually also be quoted in ‘U’. In a 19inch rack mount format 1U= 1.75inches or 44.45mm.

Category: Design & Build

A BEMS is a Building Energy Management System and is an extension of a traditional Building Management System (BMS). A BEMS is a computer-based and controlled system that monitors and controls energy usage within a building’s electrical and mechanical systems including lighting, critical power systems, critical cooling, HVAC (heating ventilation and air conditioning) fire systems, access and security. The purpose of a BEMS is to reduce operational costs and aid decision making when it comes to the optimising energy usage.

Category: Design & Build

Efficiency is a measure of the conversion of inputs to outputs. The higher the conversion ration the higher the efficiency. In terms of energy efficiency within a server room or datacentre environment the input for electrical equipment is electricity. Efficiency measurements (in percentage % terms) measure how much of the input power (Watts) is used to generate the output. The difference between this figure and 100% is wasted energy (normally in the form of heat and noise). Heat loss in a datacentre adds to the overall requirements for air conditioning. Energy efficiency in a server room or datacentre also affects electricity usage (measured on kilo-Watt-hours kWh). The higher the kWh of electricity used the higher the electricity bill for the period.

Category: Design & Build

PUE stands for Power Usage Effectiveness and is a measure of the energy efficiency of an IT environment such as a server room or datacentre. The PUE term and calculation was developed by the The Green Grid. The PUE formula is:

PUE = Total Facility Energy / IT Equipment Energy

The nearer the PUE is to Unity (1) the more energy efficient the datacentre. Some mega datacentre operators can achieve a PUE around 1.2. For a low PUE ratio high efficiency systems must be used including uninterruptible power supplies, air conditioning units, lighting and servers.

Category: Design & Build

Floor loading is measured in KN/m² where KN stands for Kilo-Newton. A newton (N) is the International System of Units (SI) for measuring the derived unit of force. Server rooms and datacentres typically have raised floors under which cooling and wiring is routed. The floors are made up of floor tiles that sit on a network of pedestals which are in turn fixed to a concrete base.

The floor loading on a tile and the four pedestals on each corner is important when calculating how much weight a floor can support in terms of a server cabinet or local uninterruptible power supply or computer room air handling unit. Spreader plates can be used to reduce the weigh on a single point loading. Structural engineers provide the necessary measurements and calculations for floor loading design and assessments.

It is important when designing a server room installation with a raised access floor to ensure the point loading value is not exceeded. Standard gravity is 9.80665 N/kg and so to convert KN/m² to Metric Tonnes/m² the following formula can be used: kN/m² X 1Kg/9.80665N = Kg/m².

Category: Design & Build

Electrical Works FAQs

All our electrical contractors and electricians have to be IEEE 17th edition approved and certified by one of the national electrical contracting associations: the ECA or NICEIC. On completion of any electrical works, our qualified electrical team provide the necessary electrical certificate and can update any onsite electrical works registers.

We try to prevent any disruptions to services during the electrical side of installation projects by agreeing a documented installations plan with Risk Assessments and Method Statements (RAMS). Our teams will start prepartory electrical cabling works during normal working hours and will ensure there is no downtime prior to an agreed cut-over period. At this set time, the server room or datacentre will be powered down by your IT team. Once we get the green light that it is safe for us to proceed, our electrical team will kill power to the relevant part of the room and complete the ‘live’ electrical side of the installation. Once we have completed our testes and restored power, our project manager will give your IT team the ‘green light’ to begin the power-up of your servers and IT equipment.

Your building will be connected to the local electricity supply via a building incomer which will normally provide the supplies to the main HV/LV (high voltage/low voltage) switchboard in your building. This switchboard will provide power feeds to other distribution and sub-distribution boards within your building. A distribution board may be positioned on a floor with a sub-distribution board providing a feed into a server room. Each board will normally have an isolator and ways into which rated circuit breakers can be provided for individual power feeds within the server room including PDUs for server rows, air conditioning, UPS systems and other related equipment. When we survey a building or room for electrical works we normally need access to all the sub-distribution board in the room where we install the kit and may need to follow this back to the distribution board it is fed from and even the main building income and HV/LV switchboard or LV switchboard.

For more informaton see our switchboard manufacturing solutions for server rooms and datacentre environments.

Energy Efficiency FAQs

The energy efficiency of a computer or server room air conditioning unit is measured using the Energy Efficiency Ratio (EER).

EER is a ratio of the cooling capacity measured in British Thermal Units (Btu) compared to the power input in Watts.

The higher the EER, the more energy efficient the air conditioner.

PUE standards for Power Usage Effectiveness and measures the energy efficiency of a server room or datacentre.

PUE = Total Facility Energy / IT Equipment Energy

The reciprocal measure of PUE is Data Center infrastructure Efficiency (DCiE)

DCIE = IT Equipment Power / Total Facility Power x 100%

PUE and DCiE were developed by the Green Grid (https://www.thegreengrid.org/) and are widely accepted energy efficiency measures that can also be used for bench marking.

It is important to note that PUE does not factor in sustainability and how the electricity used to power the facility is generated e.g. nuclear or renewable power sources. In addition, PUE does not consider energy reuse. Some larger datacentres may reuse heat created during the cooling process which in turns reduces the total energy consumption of the facility.

We provide a complete energy efficiency audit service. This can be booked through our projects team who can arrange a suitable time and date. During the visit, we will do a site walk through to gain an overall view of the project and to identify easy-fixes and the hardware systems that will require review. After the visit, we provide a detailed energy efficiency report with recommendations for improvement and where necessary training and system upgrades.

We do not charge for an energy efficiency audit, if we can easily book the review into the diaries of our project managers. If a client requests an outside-working-hours audit or one that will involve us traveling over 250miles, we may have to make a special booking and will quote a reasonable price for this.

We often find quick solutions to energy efficiency lie in critical cooling and air conditioning systems and the air flow path within the server room or datacentre. Typical issues are poorly sealed floor tiles or rack cabinets with missing or poorly fitted blanking plates. Other solutions to poor energy efficiency figures (leading to high PUEs) include not upgrading to the latest energy efficient solutions including file servers, cooling systems and uninterruptible power supplies.

When we look at a server room or datacentre in terms of energy efficiency, we are looking at loads on the demand-side of the electricity distribution infrastructure. Related terms include Demand Side Management (DSM) and Demand Side Response (DSR). Our objective is to find ways to improve the overall energy efficiency of the facility through behavioral changes, more efficient hardware use and where necessary hardware upgrade to more energy efficient infrastructure systems (uninterruptible power supplies and cooling systems). We can make recommendations for IT hardware upgrade but focus purely on the infrastructure and related systems.

Fire Suppression System FAQs

The costs to recharge a discharged or partially discharged fire suppression system depend upon its design. We provide a recharge service and would need to know the type of system installed, the number of cylinders, their location and of course the fire suppression agent require. We would normally carry out a site survey before quoting as part of our risk assessment and method statement.

It is mandatory by law to test a fire suppression system fitted to any building. Within a critical environment like a server room or datacentre we would recommend one to two inspections per year for maintenance and testing. Routine inspection and preventative maintenance will ensure your system is fully operational and ready to help protect your server facility and the people working within it from the risks associated with a fire.

Your server room facility may include sprinkler system components. The sprinkler head will contain a bulb with a coloured liquid inside that acts as a plug to prevent water from escaping. Heat rises and as the temperature increases from the fire, the heat expands the liquid which expands and eventually forces the bulb to burst, releasing the water in the sprinkler system. There are different coloured liquids for different temperature triggers including: orange, red, yellow, green, blue, purple and black. Sprinkler systems cannot be activated by smoke or dust even though the bulbs themselves are designed to be very fragile. Even tampering can set them off.

Raised Access Floor and Suspended Ceiling FAQs

Floor loadings are measured in KN/m². For computer room Raised Access Floors and/or non-ground floor basement areas it is important to check the floor loading to ensure the the floor structure can support the weight of the server rack or UPS system to be placed upon it. A three-phase 100kVA UPS with a 5m battery can have a total weight of 1200Kg or 1.2tonnes. Spreader plates can be used to reduce point loadings and if necessary floors can be reinforced with additional central pedestals and supports. The total loading should be verified by a structural engineer if there are any doubts.

Servers can be sensitive to static electricity and electrostatic discharges. The floor tile and system chosen should have dissipative and conductive characteristics to deal with electrostatic discharges (ESD). Special floor mats can be also be placed on top of existing floor tiles of this purpose.

Static electricity is generated via contact and separation. Airflow can cause static electricity generation when it is laden with particulates that are large, numerous and visible. In a clean room environment there is little chance for static electricity to be generated or build up. The opposite is true in dusty environments or in some cases sandy ones.

The answer depends on what the ceiling void is to be used for. This could include network cabling and power cable trunking and routing or air flow. At a minimum it is best to leave 0.5 to 1M of ceiling void for access and to assist with repair or ceiling tile replacement.

Hire and Rental FAQs

We can provide a range of load banks and temporary power cables from less than 50kW to several Mega Watts (MW). This is generally arranged for clients when commissioning a new UPS system or standby power generator or during period preventative maintenance works.

Category: Hire & Rental

We do and the minimum hire period is generally from one week, up to several months. Temporary power solutions like this can be used to cover an on-site failure or short-term increase in IT load demands. UPS and generator hire is subject to quotation and site survey if the system is hardwired. Plug and play solutions can be hired directly against a quotation and/or purchase order.

Category: Hire & Rental

We can provide temporary air conditioning solutions when you need a short-term cooling system on site to augment exiting cooling availability or have a failed system. This is common during peak temperature periods which can mean that we have limited availability from our hire stock if not pre-booked.

Category: Hire & Rental

IT Room Cleaning FAQs

Yes as well as cleaning the server rooms we can provide a complete clean of any ceiling voids under raised-floor areas. Provide we can safe access, we can generally clean any part of a server room or datacentre area.

As part of our service we can provide Tak mats. These help to reduce the risk of infection from spreading through foot borne contamination. We provide TAK mats made from a resin impregnated cotton in a heavy duty frame from the entry/exit points within server room space.

We use regularly maintained and PAT tested cleaning equipment. The HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters in our vacuum cleaners are rated at 99.97% efficient at 3 microns. In addition all the cleaning agents we use are COSSH compliant and anti-static dissipative. This means that they will not generate a potentially hazardous electrical charge and they can also help to ground potentially hazardous electrical charges.

IT Room Relocation FAQs

We provide a complete UPS removals service including UPS decommissioning, electrical disconnection and battery pack disassembly. It is very important to make sure the battery circuit is open/broken when moving a battery pack. If the batteries inside are connected, they can discharge if the battery pack terminals are touched or make contact with a metal surface. Once safe to move, our logistics team can then transport decommissioned UPS to its new location where we can reconnect and recommission, ready for use. Our specialist logistics team can provide protective floor coverings, pallets, stair-climbs and lifts and hoists. Every care is taken to prevent damage to the equipment being moved and its surroundings.

Category: IT Room Moves

We provide complete insurance during removal and relocation. We work with a specialist logistics company to ensure your critical and sensitive IT systems are safely packed and transported and unpacked and installed at their new location.

Category: IT Room Moves

Our specialist team can move your computer room and IT servers to an external location or internally within your building. As part of our services we can provide new data cabling and labeling as well as the installation and roll-out of new equipment.

Category: IT Room Moves

Low Voltage Switchboard FAQs

A single line diagram or SLD provides our mechanical and electrical engineers with an overview of the electrical paths and circuits to be incorporated into the final design of your low voltage switchboard. From this our engineers generate a 3D model which is used for proofing, costing and the quotation sent out for the manufacture, installation, commissioning and maintenance of the final switchboard.

 

Under BS7671 LV switchboards should be inspected at least every 5 years as they form part of the electrical system within the building housing a server room or datacentre environment. We recommend annual inspection and preventative maintenance for LV switchboards for critical facilities. LV switchboards can contain consumable parts in terms of capacitors used within Power Factor Correction (PFC) assemblies. Hot-spots can also be identified through thermal imaging and can indicate phase imbalances, potential fire and arc flash concerns. As part of an annual inspection and preventative maintenance visit all cables and terminals should be checked to ensure their torque setting markers have not been moved and that all panel meters are functional.

Our LV switchboard manufacturer has their own paint shop. As well as manufacturing the metal panels for the switchboard they can also finish to specific RAL colours and finishes. The use of colours to differentiate power supplies and cooling systems is becoming standard practice within datacentres and especially those operating and certified to Tier 4 by the Uptime Institute with 2N mains power sources from two separate sub-stations and transformers.

Micro Data Centre FAQs

An on-premise data gateway is a on-site or Edge system, node or smart device that provides quick and secure data processing between the data collected and processed on-site (locally) and an off-site (remote) location such as a Cloud datacentre.

Esge comptuing is a form of distributed computing on smart devices and Edge servers situated closer to the end user and point of data processing than a centralised data centre environment. Edge computing relies on locally available IT hardware in server rooms, small data centres and micro data centres to reduce latency within the network.

A microdatacentre (or micro-datacentre or micro data centre – MDC) is a self-contained managed environment (in a cubicle or container) housing server racks, cooling (air conditioning) and power (UPS system) connections. A microdatacentre is a smaller alternative to a fixed-building datacentre and allows operators to install datacentre-type processing power close to the point of need in an ‘Edge’ computing format. Once installed the operator or user simply installs and configures their IT servers into the racks,

Modular Container FAQs

The term ‘containerised building’ is used to refer to a shipping-type container that has been converted for use into a building. These are usually older 20foot or 40foot shipping containers whose inner and outer sides have been treated and re-coated (sprayed) for their use as server room or datacentre containers. Inside the container, the fit-out may include heating, lighting, air conditioning, server racks, UPS systems and electrical switchgear and connection points.

Containerised buildings are fully functional and fitted-out datacentres that can be deployed relatively easily and quickly to meet client demand. This can be for Disaster Recovery (DR) or as a temporary measure to provide additional computing power. Containerised buildings can also be used for generators and uninterruptible power supplies. The benefit is that the building itself can be housed close to the main facility or in remote areas and does not require a long build program. Some Mega-sized datacentre operators use a modular approach for datacentre expansion and use custom-made containers and fabricated metal buildings.

Modular datacentres can provide a quick way to boost local onsite computing power or provide server computing power in a remote region. They can be supplied for permanent installation or on a temporary hire basis. Whatever the time period, a full site survey and project plan is need for a modular datacentre roll-out plan.

Network Cabling FAQs

Most new installations are now Cat6 and due to the backward compatibility, Cat5 applications will also work on Cat6. The difference between the two generation is transmission performance and bandwidth from 100MHz for Cat5 to 250MHz for Cat6. If an installation uses Cat7 the bandwidth can be 600MHz and each pair of wires are individually shielded to protect from external noise and interference

Category: Network Cabling

The accepted standard is 90m maximum between points and to allow a further 10m for patch panel connections. A patch panel connections a data cabling port to equipment in the server cabinet. Typical equipment can include server ports, data switches, telecommunications switches, CCTV cameras and WiFi equipment.

Category: Network Cabling

This provides DC (Direct Current) power over a Cat5 or Cat6 network for DC power items such as desktop telephones and other network connected items. The maximum distance between PoE points should be less than 90m as power can be lost in transmission.

Category: Network Cabling

Project Control FAQs

We provide a free of charge project management meeting with subsequent follow-ups and a project installation plan to accompany our quotation. This can be as detailed as required and we can interface this with plans from your other site contractors or sub-contractors as required. As part of our project plans we provide a range of assessment (environmental, quality, health & safety) as required. A RAMS (risk assessment and method statement) is generated if a site specific one is required. Otherwise we work to our generic RAMS.

Category: Project Control

We provide most documentation free of charge if available direct from our manufacturers. General Arrange (GA) drawings and single line diagrams (SLDs) are provided on request and may be charged for dependent upon their complexity and the number required. We do charge for O&M manuals and 3D-modelling with pricing on request.

Category: Project Control

We provide free contract project management for orders below £100k. Above this sum we include a nominal fee for project management due to the more complex nature of the project.

Category: Project Control

Server Rack and Cabinet FAQs

Most server rack cabinets support up to 300Kg of internal weight. This will depend on the type of cabinet and its height (measure in ‘U’) and whether the rack cabinet itself is designed for light or heavy-usage.

We can supply either completely assembled server cabinets or semi-knock down kits to allow for ease of transportation and logistics on-site. Our logistics team will follow the project plan (previously agreed) to deliver your server racks and enclosures to site and position them. Where the cabinets are supplied as semi-knock down kits, our installations team can assemble these and move into position for you.

Server racks are designed for front air intake and rear cabinet exit. Cool or air conditioned air should be drawn into the front of the rack by fans within the servers themselves or within the server cabinets and this then exits as warm air out of the rear of the cabinet. In a data hall server racks are typically positioned in rows and the rows positioned so that the fronts face each to optimise cool air and hot air flows. This is a basic for of hot-aisle/cold-aisle containment. The server racks may themselves be within a separate containment known as a hot-aisle/cold-aisle container. For some server racks we can also offer rear cooling doors to help collect the hot exhaust air. The cooling doors fit onto the rear of the server cabinets and use chilled water pipes within the rear door. We can also supply additional cabinet fans for extra cooling capacity.

If your server cabinet is only partially populated and has perforated ventilation holes in the front and rear, you may not need additional cooling fan kits. Server manufacturers typically recommend a minimum perforation factor for the doors of the cabinets that would be used to house their servers and this is typically from 63% upwards; to allow adequate air flow from front to rear.

Recycling and Disposal FAQs

We often find that existing UPS systems typically outlast their initial battery sets. As well as provide new UPS battery sets we provide a complete recycling service through specialist recycling centres. These partners will strip the batteries into their constituent components for recycling, reuse and disposal as required. Each delivery is recorded on a Waste Transfer Note and we can provide a disposal certificate as required. We can also collect and dispose of old UPS systems, generators, IT kit and air conditioners.

We provide a recycling service for old computers, servers, monitors, mice, keyboards and printers. We can also recycle computer room furniture and carpets. Most items in a server room or datacentre can be recycled. If you consider a server, there are metal cases, plastics, cable harness and other materials that can be reclaimed in an eco-friendly way for reuse.

We can provide a financial sum, credit note or discount following removal and disposal of your old systems and consumables. We charge for the removal part of the service which includes decommissioning, strip-down and transportation to one of our licensed recycling centres. Once there, the team will assess what can be reclaimed and this is generally based on a price per Kg of material. The rebate or discount can then be quantified.

Refurbishment FAQs

The Server Room Environments projects and engineering team includes certified engineers from cooling and UPS systems manufacturers. We decommission and remove for environmentally friendly recycling and disposal air conditioners and their related infrastructure systems, as well as uninterruptible power supplies, batteries and standby power generators.

Category: Refurbishment

A server room refresh or refit project is the same as a furbishment project. The process is one of refreshing existing critical infrastructure systems sucn as the air conditioning system or the uninterruptible power supply, environment monitoring or fire suppression system. As part of a refit the raised access floor or suspended ceiling, network structured cabling, server racks and cabinets may also be swapped out for new products and technologies.

Category: Refurbishment

We have developed extensive services to ensure that we operate in the most eco-friendly manner possible and adhere to the relevant directives and legislation for the countries we operate within. This includes using registed WEEE/RoHS recycling centres and using carriers with Waste Transfer licenses from The Environment Agency. Our engineers are trained and operate under the principles of ISO 14001 environmental management system.

Category: Refurbishment

Service Contracts FAQs

We split our maintenance contracts into three types including 4 clock hours (the fastest response time), 8 working hours or 12 working hours. The 4 clock hours is a 24/7, 365-day a year maintenance contract. We have been known to offer up to 2 clock hours but this is only feasible if there are one or two local engineers, who are literally on the site’s door-step.

We classify these types of visit as a ‘health check’ and generally insist on a health check when we are asked to maintain a UPS system or air conditioner which we have not supplied or maintained. A health check can be ordered inside normal working or outside working hours. We provide a complete report following the health check assessment, with a recommendation for refurbishment, maintenance or replacement.

We do offer preventative maintenance visits and inspections. Normally we offer one or two visits dependent upon the server room or datacentre equipment and the client needs. Modern UPS systems for example normally only require one inspection per year but standby power generators and critical cooling air conditioners may require two.

Server Room Room Monitoring Systems FAQs

IT equipment gives off heat, even when idle or lowly loaded. High-end computing relies on powerful servers and in a server rack the amount of power drawn can be from 5-15kW or even higher. Even if the overall efficiency is 90%, that can still lead to 1.5kW of heat to clear through the rack via the cooling system. If the temperature rises too high, IT servers can fail and there is the potential for a fire to break-out in an un-cooled server cabinet.

Category: Room Monitoring

An increase in humidity is a sign that the air conditioning system is not optimised or failing. Monitoring humidity is therefore important. Rising humidity can also lead to corrosion and for electrical/electronic equipment can lead to potential short-circuits and fire risks.

Category: Room Monitoring

We can supply and install complete Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software packages and the proprietary monitoring software for the systems we supply and install. For some of these bespoke alterations or custom interfaces can be requested. We also supply a wide range of interface cards and plug-in modules for remote software integration including SNMP and MODBUS/JBUS, RS232 and USB2.0.

Category: Room Monitoring

Site Survey FAQs

We provide free site surveys for electrical works, building works, UPS systems, generators, cooling systems and other works within a server room or datacentre, if we can schedule the visit into a normal working hour day for our project managers and the visit does not involve more than 250miles in travel. If the visit is required out-of-hours or requires more extensive travel a charge may be proposed.

Category: Site Surveys

The initial site survey is generally completed by one of our project managers. They will request one of our certified and trained electricians or electrical contractors to attend site with them (or to visit separately) if there is a need for extensive on-site electrical works. The works themselves are only undertaken by a qualified electrician. The electrical side of a site survey, always commences from the room distribution board or building incomer (whichever is relevant) to assess size, capacity, last test date, age of installation and suitability for the future works.

Category: Site Surveys

Whilst our project management team can cover most aspects of a general site survey, sometimes we also ask a member of our logistics team to attend. This can be the case, when a crane lift (hire) is required onto a roof space or to put equipment in through a window space or a HIAB lift is required to place a standby power generator over a fence onto a concrete plinth.

Category: Site Surveys

Server Room Solution FAQs

We are a manufacturer independent systems integrator and support the critical infrastructure solutions we supply as well as take on other third party supplied datacentre systems for maintenance and refurbishment. For those instances where we do not have a suitably qualified and manufacturer trained engineer, we maintained an approved sub-contractor team.

In many ways Server Room Environments works as a systems integrator bringing together separate solutions into a combined solution for a client project. Solutions can range from power protection related items like uninterruptible power supplies to rack cabinets, cooling and environmental monitoring solutions.

The solutions we supply for server rooms and datacentres include standard off-the-shelf products some of which can be customised for a particular project. A typical example would be a UPS system supplied in a higher IP-rated cabinet for an industrial manufacturing site. Our engineering team can also supply bespoke designs which are manufactured to order for a specific project. A swing-out rack frame for use on-board ships would be an example of a bespoke design where the shape, height, form, fit, colour and finish are bespoke to the individual client and project.

UPS and Power Distribution FAQs

The critical power path in a server room, datacentre or other type of network environment is the path from the building incomer (mains power supply) to the critical load connection socket or terminal (PDU). Elements within the critical power path can include LV switchboards, UPS systems and standby power generators, transformers, sub-distribution panels, power distribution units, fused spurs and socket outets.

The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive(EPBD) is the EU’s (European Union) main legislative instrument which aims to promote the improvement of the energy performance of buildings within the EC.  The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is designed to help reduce carbon emissions from buildings. One of its articles states all air conditioning systems over 12kW should be inspected regularly (at least every five years). These inspections will highlight ways to reduce carbon  emissions and may also reduce running costs.

Power factor is the ratio of Real Power (W) to Apparent Power (VA) in an AC circuit. Power Factor corresponds to the phase-angle difference between the load drawn voltage and current waveforms.

Power factor is shown as a decimal number or percentage i.e. 0.65pF = 65% between 0-1pF and 0-100% respectively.

Power Factor formulae include:

Power Factor (pF) = Real Power (W) ÷ Apparent Power (VA) = CosØ

If we know the Power Factor and Real Power we can calculate:
Apparent Power (VA) = Real Power (W) ÷ Power Factor (pF)

If we know the Apparent Power and Power Factor we can calculate:
Real Power (W) = Apparent Power (VA) x Power Factor (pF)

In electrical usage terms, Watts is the unit of measure for the Real Power (also referred to as Active Power) dissipated or drawn by a connected load. Some Unity power factor rated uninterruptible power supplies use Real Power for their rating.

Real Power (W) = Supply Voltage (V) x Amps (A)

For three phase loads, the Real Power is calculated for each individual phase and the three results added together to give a final total three phase Real Power result.

Power protection devices like UPS systems are typically referred to in terms of VA, kVA or even MVA. This measurement refers to the Apparent Power drawn by a load and is calculated as follows:

Apparent Power (VA) = Supply Voltage (V) x Amps (A)

In the formula (V) is the Root Mean Square (RMS) of the supply voltage and the Amps is the current drawn by the load. Ideally it is important to measure the current drawn at start-up and after the start-up process has settled down to the a running load current. To measure the Apparent Power drawn by a three phase load the formula is applied per phase and then the individual VA results are added together to give a final total.

Most UPS systems are designed to recharge their batteries to 80% within a 24 hour period. This is achieved through the UPS having an internal charging system. External battery packs may also be fitted with their own individual AC powered battery charger. From 80% the batteries are trickled charged as the typical charging curve is non-linear. The simplest way as a rule of thumb to calculate the recharge time is to take the Ampere-hour (Ah) of the battery set used and divide by the charging current:

Recharge time = Ampere-hour / recharge current

Edge computing pushes data processing nearest to the device that needs the information to operate, rather than pushing the data back to a centralised datacentre. Edge computing is essentially a de-centralised approach. In terms of power protection to ensure resilience in an entire decentralised eco-system it is important to protect both the servers within the cloud datacentre and each data-processing point along the Edge computing network. Larger three phase UPS systems may be required for datacentres with far smaller uninterruptible power supplies required for small load servers, PCs and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.