A server room is an important area for many small- to medium businesses that is set up to house computer servers and other equipment. These rooms may have been originally designed specifically for this purpose, or they may have been created as the need for one came up. Either way, a good server room will provide an environment where computer equipment can safely operate in one location so that networking and other activities are made easier and more effective.
In ICT communities, most people consider a server room to be a relatively small area, i.e. a store room or office space. When a room gets significantly larger than that and begins to house computer equipment, it can become a data centre. Technically speaking, however, a server room can be virtually any size.
Server rooms can also be just about any shape. In many situations, a server room likely served another purpose such as a storage area, print shop, or office space. Because of this, the room may be laid out in a non-standard way. The reason this is important is that it can impact the planning for managing the environment, including airflow and cooling.
When small businesses are growing and start to need computer servers and other equipment, it is not uncommon for a business to designate a specific area to place them. In most situations, this is a small, temporary, out of the way location that will really only be able to house a small amount of equipment. Keeping computer equipment operating properly is not the specific purpose of the design of these computer closets.
The design or upgrade of an area to a server room need to adhere to standards, i.e. Uptime Institute and TIA 942 - (1)(2). With a specific design, you can avoid problems that can come with a new server room. A server room must have some, or even all, of the following design aspects added in order to allow technical equipment to operate properly:
Precise Environmental Control - A server room should have sensors throughout the area that measure both temperature and humidity. the environmental control systems should also be able to keep the entire room at the desired levels.
Airflow Planning - Servers and other computer equipment generate a lot of heat. A good airflow plan helps to avoid hot spots and eliminates heat from the area so it doesn't cause damage.
Fire Suppression System - If a fire occurs, you don't want to have to spray a server room with water. The water would damage all the equipment, resulting in a huge disaster. There are quite a few options for this type of system including Inergen systems, Novec systems, and FM-200 systems. These are all designed to extinguish fires while keeping computer equipment safe.
Cable Management Solutions - Server rooms can end up with kilometres of cables. Designing the room to allow cables to properly run through ducting and trays on the top of the racking, through the ceiling, or under the floor, helps to keep cabling tidy and manageable.
Redundant Power Sources - Having redundant and back-up power sources is important not only to ensure the equipment remains up and running at all times, but also to avoid power surges that could damage the servers and other items in the room.
Physical Security - Server rooms house expensive equipment. In addition, the stored data in these rooms can be invaluable. Having the necessary physical security in place to keep it safe is essential.
DMARK Location - Server rooms typically have multiple data circuits coming in, often from multiple different telephone companies. Having one location (the DMARK point) where the telco's responsibility ends and passes off to the business is important.
Once a server room is physically set-up and ready to go, it is time to start installing the actual equipment. Of course, each server room is going to have different things housed within it based on the needs of the company that is setting it up. The following are among the different things you'll find in most server rooms today:
Server Racks - Server racks are installed within a server room and used to house the physical equipment. These racks provide physical protection, improved temperature control, and many other benefits.
Computer Servers - Of course, this room is going to house servers. These could be stand-alone servers, blade servers, or even equipment for virtual servers. Housing all of them properly is crucial to ensure they run correctly.
Routers & Switches - Routers, switches, and other networking equipment are essential for sending, receiving, and routing the data that comes in and out of the server room.
Network Cabling - Server rooms will often have multiple types of network cabling including copper and fibre optic cables.
Cable Management Equipment - Starting from the server racks, and along the entire path that cables run, it is important to secure cables in place. Cable management equipment includes zip ties, installed eyelets, and a variety of other items to guide and protect cables.
Designing or retrofitting a room to operate as a server room is a major undertaking. When done properly, however, it will give your business a centralised location to keep a wide range of equipment safe. It also makes it easier to manage the physical computer equipment and software used to power your business.
An increasing focus on security coupled with the growing threat of nefarious activities means that the need for quick and effective response has never been greater. This demand is, in turn, driving a requirement for managed real-time alerting, event correlation, analysis and auditing.
Rapid response time is crucial, and employees monitoring a Security Operations Centre (SOC) or Command Centre must have all the necessary tools to react quickly to situations when they arise. In some cases, a SOC employee may need to actively monitor CCTV security cameras and be able to quickly dispatch security officers to a physical location. Every second count when a threat must be quickly found and negated.
A Security Operations Centre (SOC) provides a central location to deal with a variety of security issues on an organisational and technical level. A SOC is a centralised unit, supervised by on-site staff, which allows real-time monitoring and controlling of events for your organisation.
Maintaining an efficient Security Operations Centre requires certain processes and resources, and the DCS Security Operations Centre (SOC) provides the needed security expertise, threat intelligence and automation, resulting in a higher level of efficiency being achieved. This, in turn, assists our clients in responding to incidents faster and much more successfully, without having to invest in the dedicated manpower, equipment and operational costs to establish a dedicated, in-house Security Operations Centre (SOC).
Our intelligent 24/7 Monitoring Services and our advanced alerting services provide full contextual analysis behind issues and our accredited experts manage the noise and identify events that matter.
There is a range of services provided, such as collecting, analysing and storing audit logs to securely transmit data back to SOC for analysis and mitigation, and providing full contextual analysis behind raw event data. We also assist you in achieving compliance with increasing legislation, while offering them more effective identification and mitigation of security risks, coupled to expert advice in managing configurations, changes and migrations.
Our team will work with you to determine and design the best surveillance system and help you determine what Security Operations Centre (SOC) solution will be best for your business requirements.
DCS embarks on a variety of projects as part of our business activities. Some projects revolve around installing new- or upgrading equipment, while others allow us to meet customer deadlines for service work. The critical path of a project provides us with information regarding its key tasks. We analyse critical paths to create an employee work schedule. In our view, the critical path is the most important component of the project schedule.
Creating a critical path involves identifying all of the tasks necessary to complete the project and determining which tasks control the completion of the project. DCS creates a critical path by detailing each task required and identifying which ones rely on the completion of other tasks. The critical path consists of the series of tasks that take the longest to complete, and thus sets the maximum length of time required to complete the project.
Understanding the critical path of the project allows our project managers to prioritise which tasks require a greater focus. Those tasks falling along the critical path directly impact the ability of DCS to complete the project on time. Any delay in these tasks set back the project completion date. Tasks not on the critical path may be delayed without affecting the completion date of the project. For this reason, critical path tasks incur a higher priority in the use of our resources.
The critical path also gives DCS the ability to assign deadlines to each task. Our employees need to complete each task on the critical path by the deadline to maintain the project schedule. Tasks along the critical path determine the deadlines required. The deadlines assigned to critical path tasks must coordinate to facilitate completion of the final project on time. After assigning these deadlines, we assign deadlines to the remaining tasks.
The critical path method has three main benefits for project managers:
Helps reduce timelines: If, after the initial analysis predicts a completion time, there is interest in completing the project in a shorter time frame, because it becomes clear which task or tasks are candidates for duration reduction. When the results from a critical path method are displayed in a waterfall format, it is clear to see where the tasks fall in the overall timeframe. You can visualise the critical path activities (they are usually highlighted), as well as task durations and their sequences. This provides a new level of insight into your project's timeline, giving you more understanding about which task durations you can modify, and which must stay the same.
Compares planned with actual: The critical path method can also be used to compare planned progress with actual progress. As the project proceeds, the baseline schedule developed from the initial critical path analysis can be used to track schedule progress. Throughout a project, the project manager can identify tasks that have already been completed, the predicted remaining durations for in-progress tasks, and any planned changes to future task sequences and durations. The result will be an updated schedule, which, when displayed against the original baseline, will provide a visual means of comparing planned with actual progress.