SERVER ROOM DESIGN

A roadmap for non-engineering professionals
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Server rooms are relatively large and complex – one that is important to get right to ensure they deliver value by functioning as expected.

Often, what many people refer to as a ‘server room’ or ‘data centre’ is actually a ‘hub room’ containing a few racks of routers and servers to distribute data from remote servers.

But technically speaking, only a room with a large number of racks or a multi-room facility dedicated to such equipment can be considered a data centre.

In this document, what we refer to as a ‘server room’ is the equivalent of a ‘small data centre’ common to many types of office. It contains a relatively modest number of racks and equipment.

The purpose of the Data Center and Server Room Standards is to describe the minimum requirements for designing, installing, securing, monitoring, maintaining, protecting, and decommissioning a data center or server room

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.


Site Selection

When site preparation requirements for a computer/server room are prepared, it is important to understand the infrastructure to be installed and the physical environment in which it will operate. The followings are to be considered for site selection:


  • The server room should be located away from the exterior walls of the building to avoid the heat gain from windows and exterior wall surfaces.
  • In case, exterior windows are unavoidable, windows that are double- or tripleglazed and shaded should be used to prevent direct sunlight from entering the computer room (preferably build a wall to cover up this window).
  • There should be sufficient floor loading capability for computer equipment.
  • Uniform room air distribution system should be maintained in the server room.
  • The server room should be away from dangerous goods storage, mechanical shock, excessive vibrations and high fire and water risks areas.
  • To eliminate the effect of electromagnetic interference, the server room should be located away from generator room, lift plant room, or in some cases, the radar or telecommunication control rooms.
  • There should be minimum access by general public and irrelevant personnel to the server room.
Fitting Requirement

Fitting Requirement

Some More Necessities

Some More Necessities

General Space Characteristics

General Space Characteristics

Air Conditioning System

Air-Conditioning System

Computer equipment is operated in an environment of controlled temperature and relative humidity. The air-conditioning system in the computer room must be able to control the temperature and relative humidity within the specific ranges automatically and independently.


Basic Requirements - An independent air-conditioning system with full backup are required. Spare capacity of 50% is recommended for anticipated expansion. Power source of the system should be separated from those for computer equipment and connected to emergency power supply. The system can be either water-cooled or air cooled depending on the equipment specifications.


Future Planning

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.
  • Sufficient future expandability and scalability shall be analyzed and designed in conjunction with the mechanical and electrical system specifications.

Electrical Systems

  • 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 long-term, 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.
  • 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.

Alarms and Security

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