Friday, July 19, 2013

Dust Protection for Server

We have a client with two physical locations in the same town. To provide offsite backup, we create a system that replicates virtual machines to the second site. The second site is a machine shop that is quite dusty.

Plan A was to locate the server in a large utility room. However, it turns out that in the summertime, that utility room hovers at about 30C (86F). This is much warmer than I'm comfortable with. So, on to Plan B which is the air conditioned office area which is still dusty, but much cooler.

To host the server in the office area, we need some kind of box to house it in that can filter out dust. In my research, I found that the standard for this rating is IP 54 or NEMA 12. Those are two different standards that say the case makes the computer safe from dust and light splashing.

I did some research and here are the best options I found.

  1. APC NetShelter CX. This is a nice looking cabinet that is sound proof and comes in various sizes. The smallest of these is an 18U box that is about $3800CDN retail. The dust filtering option is and extra $100 or so. I think this would be my choice in a standard office environment because of the looks and the soundproofing.
  2. Tripplite SR42UBEIS. This is a 42U rack that looks like a server rack. It's large and not pretty but gets the job done for dust protection. However, there is no sound proofing. So, this one seems best suited to a dusty utility area than within an office. You're looking at about $2300CDN retail.
  3. Dust Free PC. This company has a wide range of dust enclosures for computers and servers. The most basic enclosure for tower servers is about $600 plus shipping. Versions for rack mounting start at about $1500 for a 10U rack. These are not as pretty or sound proofed as the APC NetShelter CX, but they look very functional.
At this point, because it's for a shop, we're not that concerned about noise suppression or pretty. So, I think we're going to go with the Dust Free PC unit. A machine on their shop floor already uses a Dust Free PC enclosure for a PC and they've been happy with it.


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  2. Keeping your computers cool is indeed essential for maintaining proper functionality. Did you know that Wikipedia, the world's largest encyclopedia, crashed due to an overheating problem in its European data center? Well, this could have been prevented with the proper network rack equipment.

  3. Server Rack is best used for all types of servers

  4. Dust is a real problem, not only for computers but for machinery in industrial processes. For this reason, dust suppression and dust control are both extremely important.

  5. Yeah! we better be aware about the dust that surrounds your server to maintain the cleanliness and the maintenance of the server.


  6. Thanks for sharing this! I agree that it is best to store servers in an air conditioned environment since the servers need to stay as cool as possible. Since we are getting more servers for the company I work for, we have been looking into getting some server cabinets that can house the servers perfectly so they won't sustain any damage. We're hoping that these cabinets will protect from potential dust build up as well.

  7. I loved how simple the solution was. A little dust isn't that big of a deal when you know how to protect the server from it. I'm assuming that there are probably other methods as well.