No More Raised Floor

By Matthew Sarrel  |  Posted 2010-01-15 Print this article Print


No More Raised Floor

Believe it or not, 2010 will toll the death knell for the raised floor.  As hot air rises, cool air ends up below the raised floor, where it isn't doing much good. In addition, raised floors simply can't support the weight demands placed on them by high-density racks.  A 42u rack populated with 14 3u servers can weigh up to 1,000 pounds.

Raised floors are simply not efficient operationally. I had the experience many years ago of building a 10,000-foot data center in a large city. Several months after it was built, we began to have intermittent network outages. It took many man-hours to locate the problem: Rats were chewing through the insulation on cables run below the raised floor. Rats aside, additions, reconfigurations and troubleshooting of the cable plant are much easier on your staff when cables are in plain sight.

Many organizations have found that keeping the server room at 68 or even 72 degrees can yield immediate and meaningful cost savings. As much as I like working in a 62-degree room, newer equipment is rated for a higher operating temperature. Check the manufacturer's specifications on existing equipment before raising the temperature and monitor performance and availability afterward.

Finally, consider switching power from AC to DC, and from 110V to 220V.  Power typically starts at the utility pad at 16,000 VAC (volts alternating current), and is then converted multiple times to get to 110 VAC to power equipment. It is then converted internally to 5 VDC (volts direct current) and 12 VDC. All of this conversion wastes up to 50 percent of electricity and generates excess heat.

As the use of DC power gains some traction in data centers, many server manufacturers-including HP, IBM, Dell and Sun-are making DC power supplies available on some or all of their server lines, allowing the machines to run on 48 VDC. Look for server chassis that utilize modular power supplies to make the switch from AC to DC easier.

Matthew D. Sarrel is executive director of Sarrel Group, an IT test lab, editorial services and consulting firm in New York.

Matthew Sarrel Matthew D. Sarrel, CISSP, is a network security,product development, and technical marketingconsultant based in New York City. He is also a gamereviewer and technical writer. To read his opinions on games please browse and for more general information on Matt, please see

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