There is an abundance of scientific information on data center noise showing the health consequences and impact on productivity, but for the most part workers take noise in the data center for granted and learn to live with it. When asked, a computer operator who works at a financial services firm, confessed that the data center noise “was pretty stressful.” With the growing trend of Data center consolidations and the adoption of high-density equipment, sound and heat are only going to get worse. Not only is it harmful to workers, but too much noise makes customer tours and verbal communications next to impossible.
Check out our recent post for our products that will control the musiance of noise: Keep IT Quiet - A Robust Plan for Soundproofing Servers
Data Center Noise: How Much is Too Much?
Listen To Your Employees
The easiest way to figure out whether the data center noise in your environment is a problem is to speak with your workforce. It would take uncharacteristically loud equipment to cause issues related to reverberation, but it doesn’t take much more than a persistent buzz or beep to throw an employee off his game. It’s only a problem if it’s a problem for your staff or customers. If you’re getting comments or complaints, you have a problem. Excessive noise can break concentration, prevent employees from communicating easily, and cause some staff members to develop low-level headaches.
Walk through your Data Center with several people holding a normal conversation, when conversation becomes difficult, list the troublesome areas that need to be addressed. Call the dealer or manufacturer to see if there are some quick fixes. It’s possible that an obscure part or product can make a difference. Plus, when manufacturers hear directly from the end user, they pay closer attention to problems or can get creative to help fix something that may be reasonably unique to your setup.
1.If noise issues stem from servers and components inside racks and cabinets, put the equipment in a new enclosure that will help cut down on noise and provide other benefits. Sound-dampening cabinets do a terrific job of bringing the decibel level down, and several models also provide up to 7kW of heat dissipation, which is outstanding. The sound attenuation can be truly remarkable with very satisfactory results, and housing loud equipment is easy in a rack dedicated to reducing sound.
2.If cooling is the culprit, replace existing fans with quiet fans which are designed for cooling efficiency with little aural interference. In addition, you can change the fans in your air conditioning units to variable-speed fans. You can also implement aisle containment solutions, which reduce noise considerably while improving performance and efficiency.
3.If you’ve done all you can do and sound is still an issue, consider sound-proofing your data center. Sound barrier products in the wall and ceiling can give you a library-quiet office space.
How to Reduce Noise Tips and Tricks
Are you getting complaints about noise from your server racks and equipment? While some consider the noise a necessary evil, you can certainly take multiple steps to reduce and even eliminate noise from your data room. Servers, UPS’ and cooling equipment all join together to create a symphony of humming, which in many cases can cause headaches, increase stress, and take a daily toll on the end users.
IDENTIFY THE SOUND
Start by identifying where the noise is coming from and what is producing it, especially the noise outside of the normal server fans. An easy way to test this is to walk the room while having a conversation with someone, when the noise begins to effect the conversation make a note. When you have the noise hot spots of the room you can easily start to identify which equipment to work on.
GET MANUFACTURER HELP
Many times, the manufacture will have suggestions on how to reduce the noise for a piece of equipment. This can be done in the BIOS of the system, adjusting the fan speed, adjusting the cooling of the equipment to reduce fan use, or modifying the power usage to reduce the noise. In some cases, it’s best to change the fans on the equipment. Most fans are not designed specifically for noise, but you do have the option to replace these with QFANS which can dramatically change the end result.
REDUCE WITH TILES & BAFFLES
Another option would be to install tiles, panels, or baffles to help soften the noise from reflecting around the room. Pay attention to the details on this option, they certainly need to be fire-rated, fiber-free, and designed to reduce the reverberation. Finding the cheapest option on Amazon or Ebay is not necessarily the safest and best for your environment.
SOUNDPROOF SERVER CABINETS
Another option would be to install a soundproof server rack for the noisiest of equipment. If you have multiple servers that simply scream all day and no settings can fix this, a soundproof cabinet is available in sizes from 12u to 42u, removing up to 28 dBa. To put this into perspective in most cases it would take a loud restaurant down to a whisper.
For more tips on noise reduction or help finding a soundproof server rack or fans to help with the sound, talk to an expert at Rackmount Solutions – 1.800.352.6631
Front Office Server Rack Solutions
ENVIRONMENT & CHALLENGES
When planning your layout for IT/Networking equipment in an open space or front office not only do you need to consider your employees, but any customers, clients, and through traffic as well. Common challenges include rack-security, excessive noise production, thermal airflow management, aesthetics, and location based on a limited footprint. Without a data closet or server room, placing a rack in an open environment makes security a much more delicate issue as unauthorized employees and customers will have access to the enclosure. The equipment in these racks often produces great amounts of noise and heat, both of which can be problematic for non-IT employees as well as clients near the rack. Aesthetically the standard server enclosure can be somewhat of an eye-sore, requiring the selection of this rack to blend into the office or attempt to hide in plain sight. Finally, the cabinet needs to be carefully placed in a location that is not only accessible but also not a hazard for walking traffic.
Quiet Micro Data Center
From the Customers
“We believe that your product stacks up very favorably against others that we reviewed. The Rackmount Solutions cabinet is cheaper, dissipates more heat, and suppresses more sound.” – Chuck
Return on Investment
The UCoustic Soundproof Server Rack serves as an excellent choice for a Micro Data Center or Edge Computing. Not only can this be purchased in a sleek black and purple configuration, but by request, we can add wood paneling to make this appear no different than an entertainment center or piece of furniture.
Considering the cost to build out an IT closet or server room (on average $25,000+), selecting a UCoustic Cabinet and placing in an open space is remarkably cheaper. Your equipment is not only safe with the UCoustics locking sides and doors, but running at an appropriate temperature, and staying best of all – Quiet for everyone nearby.
Looking for more tips on how to manage data center noise? Contact our helpful IT Pros directly by email or by phone at 866-352-6631.