Blue Flower

GDLN UNUD server room photo from foursquare because I lost my images.
Figure 0. GDLN UNUD server room photo from because I lost my images.


This is my undergraduate assignment already in English in the Environmental Studies and Occupational Health & Safety course and I remembered that I was asked to write in Indonesian next time due to that time, English language was not yet supported. Here, I chose a topic about the server room in Global Development Learning Network (GDLN) Udayana University (UNUD) because I have human connections and was able to access there. GDLN back then in 2012 was a place to house the main computer and telecommunication network of the university and a place to perform any kind of distant communication activities such as video conferences and distant learnings. This task has never been published anywhere and I as the author and copyright holders license this task customized CC-BY-SA where anyone can share, copy, republish, and sell it on condition that to state our name as the author and notify that the original and open version available here.


A good server room is a server room that last long or last forever. There are lots of things to consider before planning a server room. Even though we have the things necessary to create a server room but it will only be good for that time. We also must guard the condition of the server room as time pass. Here we will discuss about the physical and virtual safety and security of server room and data center from unwanted threats.

Keywords: Server Room, Data Center, Safety, Security, Threat, Physical, Virtual.

1. Introduction

Nowadays electronic media are use by almost all people in the world, whether they are for studying, working, entertainment and many other things. These electronic media help civilization to quickly and efficiently finish their jobs. Before, people rely on books, papers, drawing pad and manual equipments to work. These methods took much time and much energy which is very low efficient compare to modern civilization. With human instinct to always want to make life much easier, efficient and flashier, technology will always grow. Thus with new technology being discovered through the continue flow of time there’s always a possibility a new threat or negative impact exist with the new discovered invention.

Even though we were able to create a new technology ready to use like server and data center but it doesn’t stop there. After it is useable we must also learn how to take care of this technology. There’s no point a technology created ready to use if it doesn’t last long. So in this assignment we will discuss considerations needed in a server room or data center.

In information technology, server is defined as a hardware system to fulfill the request of clients the services could be database server, file server, mail server, print server, web servers, or other. The server here we’ll be discussing is a physical computer. A data center is a facility to house computer systems and associated components, telecommunication and storage. A server room is a place to house servers.

Small server can cause large noise and cause great heating to a large room. A large server is even worse. So a standard room and air conditioning isn’t enough to satisfy the demands of storage, for servers. Other than that the safety and security must be considered.

Another additional thing that must be considered is the size of the server room. A fixed space is rather risky because it will provide insufficient space to store backups, maintenance and it will be unavailable for upgrading. If there are damage parts replacing it will be difficult due to small or none extra space. So a large extra space is recommended.

An ideal server room should have cooling from air conditioner, ventilation for free air cooling, a UPS system to guard the server from instant shutdown, a diesel powered generator in order to keep it alive longer incase the electricity is down, a fire suppressor to minimize the risk of fire, ladders or raised floors in order to access the systems, a false ceiling to place cables and air conditioner, lighting system to provide good vision, environmental monitoring is a strong mean to protect the server room, security construction for the protection, in advance a CCTV and alarms, access control systems is the next thing after security, data cabinet to simplify cable structure, cool aisle containment for extra cooling, cabling is also affecting, and intelligent patching for the server itself. An ideal server room can be said if those things available.

In this article we will discuss about what are the cause of server failure, what endanger the servers and how we respond to them. The dangers can either come from inside or outside the room itself, the cause could be by humans or environmental. A server can also be damage due to faulty installation. There are variety of things that could be done and the tools are developing as time pass. So we will discuss them in general.

2. Safety and Security Measures

2.1 Threats

2.1.1 Environment Factor Inner Threats

Inner threats are threats that are potential from inside the room for housing the server itself (from room server). The threats we could mention here are potential of fire, faulty electrical system, faulty room temperature or temperature produced by hardware, short circuit (unstructured cable), faulty room keeping, and faulty room architecture. Outer Threats

Outher threats are threats that are potential from outside the room for housing the server itself (outside room server). The threats we could mention here are fire from outside, pests, bugs, floods, moisture, outside temperature, thunder, and earthquake. Thunder flood and earthquake can be label as natural disaster.

2.1.2 Human Factor

Humans also plays a major role, since servers are sensitive even the smallest faulty can cause great damage. The simple damage that humans can cause is due by clumsiness. We must always be careful in a server room. The other one is insufficient knowledge about the server and the server room itself.

2.1.3 Virtual Factor

Virtual factor can either be data overload, faulty in the program, virus and malware, and hacking. Another threat is the loss of data.

2.2 Server Failure (Impacts from Threats)

2.2.1 Small Damage – Severe Damage

This kind of damage can be short time malfunction or a repairable damage. A high temperature can cause start failure, hardware malfunction which can be fix if cooled down but a continual damage can cause permanent damage. It’s basic computer knowledge. Another additional damage is hard disks are made of metal. It’s not the heat that is the main problem. It’s because the effect of the heat that’s causing servers or any CPU to stop instantly. Stopping the work of CPU without proper procedure is the cause of severe damage. It can be picture as a human who’s shock.

2.2.2 Fatal Damage

Fatal damage here means the breakdown of a server. A high voltage can cause a server to explode. It can be expected for most computers. A high voltage can either be from the source itself or from thunders. A faulty electrical system can cause short-circuit or SPOF (single point of failure). Earthquake and faulty room architecture could cause physical damage to servers due to physical impacts. This could permanently damage a server.

2.3 Physical Security and Safety

2.3.1 Building Location

Nullify disasters, like unsusceptible to fire, strong against tremor, earthquake, vibration. set a current/voltage stabilizer to prevent unstable current/voltage from thunder or the source itself. Inner Security

Inside the buildings must be secure. CCTV is recommended for security, fire sensor to detect fire, access by people must be recorded and only those permitted can access, instead of using wall use glass so it’s transparent and easy to watch. Outer Security

The surrounding environment around ± 10 meter of the building must be ground zero, empty. Place CCTV outside, anti terrorist motive like a bomb detector. Beyond the empty ground place a park, lots of trees so the building is isolated and easy to monitor.

2.3.2 Fire Potential

To plan protection from fire potential, we must first examine the cause of the risk of fire. With different type of cause of fire, the chemicals used to put them out are different each type. Fire sensors and alarms are crucial, instant water spray as soon as fire detected is advisable. A fire panel and a fire extinguisher is essential within the room.

2.3.3 Temperature

Both the server and the room temperature must be considered. Other than keeping the server cooled using hardware fans, we must approximate the heat produce by each server. By knowing the average heat produced we estimate the maximum amount of servers allowed in a room. To control the room temperature, ventilation and air conductors are advised, air conditioner is an excellent choice not only to control the room temperature in normal terms but to control the room temperature when problem occurs where heat suddenly raise up. The room temperature should be 72°F (±2°F) and humidity 45% (±5%).

2.3.4 Electricity

Since servers are sensitive to electricity, a power supply must be chose carefully. Set a current/voltage stabilizer to prevent unstable current/voltage from thunder or the source itself. Calculating the total amount of power needed is the next thing. To prevent damage from black out (electricity go out) a UPS is recommended. Cables should be well isolated so a short circuit does not occur. Between servers and other machines (AC, mechanical) is recommended for the power supply to be separated. The power must not exceed 300 watts per square foot.

  • Total IT racks available: 28
  • Total initial power requirement: 47 kW
  • Total final power requirement: 104 kW
  • Peak power density: 15 kW/rack
  • Average data center power density: 3.7 kW/rack

2.3.5 Environmental Issue

The danger of environmental issue depends on the construction and the location of the building. Preventing damage from natural disaster is not too recommended on this time. The technology we bare is still insufficient, instead we rely on backups.

2.3.6 Hardware Care

Hardware care is an important issue to keep the hardware in a good condition for long time. Simply frequently clean the hardware and check often. There are special methods to take care of different hardware.

2.4 Virtual Security and Safety

2.4.1 Data Safety

To guard the data from unwanted user is to place security on the access. The basic security is to place a username and password. It’s best to change the username and password overtime to make sure it’s secure. In modern days fingertip sensors are used to tighten security. Virus and malware protection, firewall, and so-on is recommended to protect the server from virtual threats. To create a tight security, seek a professional.

2.4.2 Backup

A regular backup is recommended to minimalize the data loss due to unwanted problems. While a disaster can destroy an entire data, with backup the data is copied and instead of starting from a scratch, we use the backup to retrieve the loss data.

3. Server Room in GDLN (Global Developing Learning Network) at Udayana University, Sudirman, Denpasar, Bali.

The location of the building is isolated around 10 meters. It’s a strategic from the disaster of floods. Still, the surrounding the area is crowded. The location of the server room is on the 2nd floor of GDLN building.

The access to the server room is secured by a pin lock and normal lock. There are 2 doors to enter the room secured by a lock. Half of the walls are brick walls and half of them are glasses. There are no windows for safety reason.

Within the room, the size of the room is about 6.5 x 5 meters wide. 5.5 x 5 meters area is use for the server but there are still spaces left in that area. There is a free space about 1 x 5 meters wide. The height of the room is 3 meters.

The ISP (internet server provider) used is Tellabs, Tellabs is the brand of the machine. It provides data rate (people usually say bandwidth) of metro gigabytes (higher than one gigabytes). Some server that are used are Sun Fire x 4106, Aten, HP, some CPU modified into server and maybe others that can’t be mention. There is one terminal to control the entire server. There is also a TV antenna VHF (very high frequency) and UHF (ultra high frequency) for video streaming on the web. There is a wireless router for HOTSPOT UNUD. The switch that is use is G First Base TX. There are also some routers to connect on south GDLN, library, Pasca Sarjana building and others. There is also a rack to organize cables which is called wall mount with the brand fortuna. The cables then go behind the walls or above the ceiling to connect to other places that are necessary.

For the safety, security and care of the room will be explain in following. There are 4 AC (air conditioner in the room) 1 big one and 3 normal ones use in normal room, at home for example. With that the room temperature is maintained 170C. There is 1 phone, 1 IP camera with a brand of Sony, 1 fire panel and 1 UPS. The UPS is used in case of a black out (electricity go out). The UPS is SENDON model: SX-530K, 30KVA 3 Phase in 1 Phase out, uninterruptible Power Supply, also a diesel type powered generator if extra power is needed. The lighting of the room is standard (the same as normal room).

Within the free space or other place of the buildings there is also other equipment such as ladders to satisfy the needs of the server room.

4. Conclusion

The consideration needed in a server room is to know the risk, things that could be harmful the server, how the server work and its limits. After that then we can plan the security and safety whether it is in physical or virtual manner. A good server is not a server that is good at that time but a server that last long. How we take care of them affects the life span of a server and the storage itself such as how the rooms must be set.

An ideal server room should have cooling (AC), ventilation, a UPS, a diesel powered generator, a fire system, ladders or raised floors, a false ceiling, lighting system, environmental monitoring, security construction, in advance a CCTV and alarms, access control systems, data cabinet, cool aisle containment, cabling, and intelligent patching for the server itself.

Judging from the criteria above GDLN server room is an ideal room server. The only problem for GDLN server room is the place, it is not isolated, crowded outside, most of the security is still manual but tight (manual locks). It’s not an issue but the security is still moderate not as advance as it is provided with fingertip scanner, face scanner, ID card scanner and so-on. Otherwise everything is complete.

5. Attachment

5.1 UCSD (University of California, San Diego) Server Room Standards

The following standards provide campus units with information on how to design or retrofit small to medium size computer server rooms. Following these standards will help to ensure that critical computational resources are maintained in an environment that protects them both during normal operation, as well as in the event of power failures, fires, floods, and other emergency conditions. For more information, or for questions regarding these standards, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

5.1.1 General Space Characteristics Room specifications
  • Room walls, ceiling, and doors should be sound isolated from other occupied areas.
  • Doors should be 42" to 48" wide, and 8' tall.
  • Antistatic floor finishing (no wax) is recommended for raised floor tiles or sheet vinyl.
  • Room should not have windows (for security, sound, and environmental management reasons). Equipment
  • Maximum electrical density of computing equipment in a server room should not exceed 300 watts per square foot.
  • Computer racks should have seismic bracing and proper grounding.
  • Computer racks should have adequate clearance per manufacturer specifications (but no less than 48" front and 36" rear clearance); the room itself should have a minimum 9' ceiling.
  • The room should have at least one phone. Fire prevention
  • Room should have an adequate fire suppression system (a “pre-action” type system is highly recommended).
  • Room should be fire rated if cabling and cooling systems are combined in the same space above the ceiling or below the floor.

5.1.2 Cooling

An under floor air distribution system is preferred, although ducted systems are acceptable. In either system, racks should be arranged in a hot isle/cold isle configuration. If under floor, minimum height should be 24" and the raised floor must be designed to accommodate the weight of fully loaded server racks, as well as any lifting and transportation devices used in the movement of racks, computational equipment, and ancillary support systems.

5.1.3 Mechanical Systems Air conditioning (AC)
  • Room cooling and humidity control should be via an independent AC system (i.e., not connected to main building system), with a return air design point temperature and relative humidity of 72°F (±2°F) and 45% (±5%), respectively.
  • Chilled water based A/C systems are strongly preferred, with the intent that they use campus chilled water at a design point of supply and return temperatures of 46°F and 60°F, respectively.
  • There should be sufficient clearance (minimum 4') between the A/C unit and computer racks in order to avoid potential damage from water leaks, as well as to allow for maintenance access. Future Planning
  • Room design should include appropriate planning for the removal of AC unit condensate (either via gravity or pump).
  • Sufficient cooling redundancy should be considered and installed if possible; a backup refrigerant-based cooling system in parallel with the building chilled water system and multiple AC units in an N+1 design will provide the best protection against failure.
  • Sufficient future expandability and scalability shall be analyzed and designed in conjunction with the mechanical and electrical system specifications
  • In both the design and operational phases, administrators should calculate the “thermal buffer” of a room as a function of typical heat load and room air volume in order to determine and plan for the time window between a cooling system failure (partial or complete) and the point at which a room temperature limit is reached.
  • Administrators may wish to provide the means for automatic software and hardware shutdown of systems based on various environmental conditions in the server room, e.g., temperature, fire alarms, water sensors, etc.

5.1.4 Electrical Systems Capacity and quality
  • The room should have separate, dedicated power panels for both computer equipment and the A/C system. Mechanical and electrical systems should be designed for longterm, maximum expected room utilization (though not to exceed 300 watts per square foot).
  • Building power quality considerations should be taken into account to determine the need for isolation transformers, UPS systems, and other power conditioning equipment. To the extent possible, such heat generating support equipment should not be located in the server room.
  • A Power Distribution Unit (PDU) layout is preferred, with power monitoring and UPS support provided on a per rack basis.
  • Electrical system should be designed to provide an isolated ground, dedicated neutral, and a grounding grid. Emergency planning
  • Emergency/backup power should not be tied into the building life safety system. The department must supply and maintain separate backup power (e.g., UPS or generator) if desired.
  • Server room electrical distribution system should have easily accessible shunt trip capabilities for emergency shutdown.

5.1.5 Alarms and Security Alarm systems
  • Critical alarms related to the functioning of the A/C system and physical environment of the room must be mapped into the Facilities Management Energy Management System.
  • The occupying Department must also provide monitoring and alarming separate from the Facilities Management system, as needed, in order to be notified of critical environmental events in the server room.
  • The room should have water sensor alarms reporting to both Facilities Management and the occupying Department. Security

All entrances to the room should be properly secured and alarmed where appropriate.

6. Reference