Sitting in the Server Room

     This one is a little more for the IT professional.  I had a situation come up the other day at the company I work for.  I was asked to see how feasible it was to sit our IT techs in the server room.  Now our entire IT department is only me and one other person so I would only have to fit one or two people in our server room.  Normally putting people in the server room is a big no no.  However our company is in a bit of bind at the moment.  We are growing rather quickly and we don't have enough office space.  We are in the middle of getting a new office/warehouse space put up but its not done yet and we are still growing.  We need more space for desks so we are finding any place we can to  put another one in.  That is why this subject came up.

     Now before I dive into this I want to preface this by saying under best circumstances should anyone ever work 8 hours a day in the server room.  NO!!!!!!!  Never.  Never ever ever.  Hell NO! However I was still asked to look into it so I did.

     So what exactly do I need to consider?  What can we move out of the server room to make room for a desk.  What are some of the aspects of sitting in a server room that is different then sitting in a normal office environment.  Will we be able to get work done as efficiently as we do now.  I had my concerns from what I have seen online about this topic and decided to start investigating.

     First we have to move some crap out of the room in order to have space for at least one desk.  We have shelving units with non-essential equipment on them so I decided they could be moved.  We have some space in a room at one our warehouse where we can put it.  Big problem is that it's not temperature controlled so we can only move items we aren't concerned about being in that environment.  Simple.  Ok so we can move a shelving unit and have room for the desk.  Now what is different about the environment then our standard office.

     The two big aspects are noise and EM radiation.  First the scary one.  EM radiation is electromagnetic radiation.  All electronics give off EM.  Hell light is EM.  Apparently EM is a consideration if you are in a large data center.  With our two small racks of equipment it doesn't appear to be a big concern.  Noise however is.  Too much noise can damage your hearing over time and neither of us in IT signed up for a noisy, potentially damaging, work environment.  This isn't a factory.  To determine just how loud it is in the server I download an Android app called Sound Meter by Smart Tools co.  Very simple app but it uses the microphone in your phone to determine how much noise is in your area.  Where the person would be sitting I measured 60db.  The same as a conversation at about 3ft away from you.  Right next to the AC compressor I was getting about 70db which is about same as busy traffic or a phone ringtone.  Neither of which are at a level where it is harmful to your hearing.  However one might go crazy hearing the drone of fans every second of the day.  So I will get some headphones.  Hell I will have the company buy us BOSE noise cancelling headphones if I have to in order to save our sanity.

    Now about that efficiency.  Considering we are right now sitting in the middle of the users we support I think we would actually be more efficient in there.  Surprising right? We would be behind a locked door so it would easier to funnel tickets to us besides walk-ups.

     So could one or both of us sit in the server room until the new building is done.  Yes we could.  Are we right now after I presented my thoughts to management?  No. Management decided that we don't need to this at this time without even hearing about my thoughts or what I had done.  So more or less it was just a time waste.  At least it was a fun research project.  Got to feel all sciency with my noise level reading app.
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About Richard Nihells

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