What your server AC is doing when you're not looking

Posted Sep 23, 2011

Cooling problems can be intermittent and downright insidious. Climate Guard monitors your server room 24x7 and immediately reports any issues.

At Burk Technology we have long believed in being our own customer. As such, our server room is equipped with a Climate Guard environmental monitor. Our system has been installed since April, and in July it certainly earned its rack space.

A temperamental air conditioner that takes the hottest days off
On a particular hot summer afternoon, Climate Guard emailed Burk’s IT Manager with a temperature alert – the server room had exceeded our 80° F limit. Upon investigation we found the air conditioning unit was simply circulating warm air. Stranger still, it simply came back to life a few hours later.

The Climate Guard chart below shows the temperature spike we experienced – nearly 90° F!

Hopes that this was an isolated incident were quickly dashed when the problem began repeating itself nearly every day. During any hot afternoon, the air conditioner would simply quit for several hours.

Here’s a chart showing the first week of this problem. You can see the normal daily behavior for a few days followed by huge spikes in ambient temperature.

Nothing ever breaks in front of a technician
Anyone who has ever had to troubleshoot an intermittent problem knows how tricky this can be – especially when you have to enlist outside help. When the HVAC tech arrived to fix the faulty unit, it was working perfectly. Fortunately, we had Climate Guard’s log to prove our claim. This helped the tech zero in on the problem.

As it turns out, the air conditioner for our server room was technically too large. It would cool the room quickly, turn off, and then restart soon after (once the equipment brought the temperature back up). This “short cycling”, as the tech called it, eventually wore the unit out after years of reliable operation.

Early detection, and not a moment too soon!
With Climate Guard’s help, we were able to detect this problem early. By the time the air conditioner outright quit, our replacement unit was ready to go in. And just in time for a heat wave!

Our Climate Guard unit is also our live demo system. Check out our Climate Guard demo and see how our new server room AC unit is working. (Username: demo, Password: demo)