The British summer can provide something of seasonal headache for IT managers. So far this year we've seen torrential rain in some parts of the UK whilst elsewhere heat waves have struck and the mercury has soared to the mid-30s. When the summer sun does take its grip, IT managers are feeling the heat and throwing caution to what little breeze there is. When it comes to managing their IT - particularly those IT managers trying to do everything on-premise - the challenge of keeping things cool is not easily met.
An overheating laptop or server will very quickly become less efficient and users and whole businesses can experience a 'go-slow' as a result. As such, IT managers are turning to some unusual cooling methods for their server rooms, which were uncovered by some field research on behalf of www.Rise-Partners.co.uk. These include:
"I'm IT's biggest fan"
By far the most common ad hoc measure for keeping a server room cool is opening the door and pointing electric fans at the hardware. Rise also found instances of IT managers opening windows onto the outside world where possible to encourage a breeze.
"Pack it in"
Some IT managers are taking the 'cool box approach' and putting hardware up on ice packs from the freezer in an attempt to bring its temperature down.
"Shut it down!"
One of the most counter-productive tactics seen involved shutting down a number of servers in the server room, hoping to reduce the soaring temperatures affecting those left on.
The issue with all of these solutions is they throw up far more problems than they solve.
Steve Holford, marketing director of Rise, a provider of infrastructure-as-a-service, said: "There are two types of people in this world: those who should manage server rooms and those who shouldn't. If you want to know how to spot the latter they're probably walking about in hot weather with some ice packs and electric fans."
"Leaving doors or windows open to a server room is about as bad a breach of security best-practice as I can think of and ice packs are just asking for condensation problems. As for switching off servers, they either need them or they don't! Switching them off must have some other negative impact elsewhere within the business, or is an admission of a greater inefficiency year-round."
"Ultimately though, this kind of fire-fighting - almost literally - is a complete waste of an IT manager's time and money. They should be outsourcing their server needs now to companies who can provide proper cooling systems, guaranteeing year-round performance."
"In hot weather the last thing any of us need to be getting hot under the collar about, is our IT," added Holford.