Setting Up a Server Room on a Budget

Controlling operational costs is always a challenge, but amid the current recession budgets are tighter than ever. While it's possible to make smart decisions and cut a few extras to spend less, one thing most companies can't nix is a reliable server and a cool, secure room in which to keep it. In this day and age, it's nearly impossible to do business without a solid network infrastructure, and server rooms have become the nerve centers of our businesses. But despite its vital importance, a server room doesn't necessarily have to break the bank.

Here are tips on setting up an efficient and reliable server room - even if you're on a tight budget.

Choosing the Perfect Server Room Location
Just as all proverbial roads lead to Rome, all structured cabling leads to the server room. This considered, the ideal server room is centrally located, so that cables can be strategically run without the need to cover too much distance, or take too many twists and turns along the way.

Choose a room that is easily accessible to IT staff, but make sure that it's also somewhat out of the way, so that you don't have unauthorized personnel wandering in and out.

When you're considering space for a server room, be sure to allow for growth. Your company may be starting out small, but when it grows, you could find yourself very short on space. Aside from creating logistical nightmares, overcrowded server rooms are also extremely prone to overheating, which can lower the efficiency of, or destroy, your network components.

General Tips
When purchasing hubs, switches and routers, stick with the same brand for all  it'll make maintenance and troubleshooting down the road that much easier. Should you ever encounter a problem with a mixed setup, troubleshooting between several manufacturers could prove extremely tricky, and it's likely that you'd be referred from one company's service department to the next without ever getting answers.

On the other hand, troubleshooting with a single manufacturer just might get you results. When the support reps you're dealing with over the phone are actually familiar with all of your hardware, they'll be far more likely to get to the root of the problem, and far less likely to pass you on to someone else.

One of the most vital aspects of server room operation is temperature control. Because the ambient temperature of a server room needs to stay between 65 F and 75 F for equipment to run safely and efficiently, proper air conditioning is crucial. Relying on central A/C can cause problems because of the climatic differences between rooms; while one room may be unbearably cold, the one next to it could be stifling.

Conditions like this, in the presence of just a single thermostat, can lead to catastrophic overheating in the server room. Don't gamble with central A/C; instead, equip your server room with its own dedicated thermostat, which will allow for minute temperature adjustment as often as needed.

When you purchase a server, take into account all of the software that your business requires, and make sure that the server can single handedly accommodate all of the applications.

Paul Holstein is the Co-Founder and COO of, an e-tailer of cable, wire and equipment management solutions. He may be reached through the company's Web site located at
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds