Even the best and most robust computers must see their end eventually. It doesn’t matter how much work you painfully put into them, you will always see diminishing returns, but you can slow that process considerably with proper maintenance. Regular dusting for computers is a nerd’s best friend and a great excuse if something goes wrong, but what about a more common example like a server room?
Rooms like this are a common sight in schools, businesses, offices, and other buildings that require a fast connection, or at the very least a semi-consistent one. IT professionals have kept even the worst maintained computers functioning for years, but we can do better and stop them from degrading just a bit more.
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Keep the Room Moving
Though servers have many benefits, the greatest servers price for this level of efficiency is easily visible: a crowded dusty room with untold frustration locked within its walls. Though this is a convenient place to put equipment, it isn’t ideal. Computers run on a fundamental level using electrical signals that, though not hugely hot, do generate heat at a low level. Many computer parts don’t produce much, but some like the processor make a lot.
A server is a very specialized computer in many ways, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that they heat up just as much as regular computers. Proper heat management is key for any machine, and liberal use of heat sinks, fans, and coolant can make this effectively not an issue. But, for old-fashioned IT you don’t often have the luxury of a cool room and properly built set of machines. The best way, though, to mitigate this is to make sure the room has airflow. Heat is transferred normally through the air, and if that air doesn’t leave somehow the heat your computer generates is going to stay where it can harm the technology.
This can be as simple as setting up a fan or as complicated as specialized devices that can maximize heat distribution. Regardless, keep the air moving as much as you can and your devices will thank you.
Dust Often, Check Regularly
Computers attract an ungodly amount of dust. Servers are the same but on a completely different level. Make sure to regularly check for dust and use compressed air to clean it out if possible. Here’s a very informative guide on how to clean these types of messes from beginning to end: https://www.techrepublic.com/article/how-to-clean-inside-dirty-servers-good-advice-from-experts/. Don’t take it from me, once you notice it you can see the dust inside any normal computer, and while this isn’t an issue for most things, dust traps heat inside your machine which can drastically reduce performance.
Check for Pests
If you have proper airflow, pests become less of an issue. The problem is when stagnant air attracts things like termites, small reptiles or mammals, or other things that chew and leave droppings everywhere. Animal droppings contain tons of moisture that can do a number on servers, so try to avoid setting up delicate technology in an area where there might be pests. Generally, upper floors of buildings with proper airflow and are within sight of regular activity are best for these kinds of server rooms.
The upper floors of buildings are often the last to get hit with any pest attack, especially those large enough to do damage to computers. If you see droppings in or around servers, make sure to alert someone who can do something about that as soon as possible. It could spell disaster. Specific regions often have regional pests that can be an issue for servers. Perhaps this goes without saying but eating or drinking anywhere around this kind of technology should be a no-go, just as explained on this page. Maintaining a clean server should be a priority.
Cleaning and Maintenance
Servers have enough nooks and crannies that getting them clean can be genuinely difficult, which is why you should minimize how much they need to be cleaned in the first place. When you do clean it though, make sure to use antistatic wipes, a proper vacuum that won’t spray dust back where it came from, and other specialized tools designed specifically for this type of technology. While it can be frustrating to use or request materials like this, it’s essential.
While cleaning properly in a place with a lot of servers, check for droppings as well as problem dust areas and water damage. You should go through a checklist tailored to local weather and pests, and if there are any issues contact someone to fix them. Protocols for business servers are, of course, important, but should a thousand-dollar machine die due to heavy rains you can bet someone will not be pleased. Take initiative and proactively maintain all technology, that way you don’t have to be the guy without the internet during an important moment.