Recently, I had an IT manager ask me about sound suppression in the data center installation. What could he do that would help with data center noise reduction?
Every Data Center has noise, but excessive noise can not only be stressful, it can affect concentration and produce additional work fatigue. Data Center rooms register typically in the 70 to 80 dB range, an OSHA approved standard. But at this level, normal conversations and phone calls are difficult if not impossible to have. Where action must be taken is when workers are exposed to an average of 85dB or greater; 80dB is a level where productivity and comfort can be at risk.
Data Center Noise Reduction Tips
- Install or replace existing drop ceiling tiles with acoustic tile panels.
- If your data center walls are concrete, add sheet rock, acoustic foam, or acoustic tiling over the walls. This will help absorb sound and will cut down noise in the raised floor environment.
- If budgets allow, replace your older CRAC/CRAH units.
- Noise reduction rack enclosures
- Hot/Cold Aisle Containment
- Noise Canceling Headphones
Hot/Cold Aisle Containment
The containing of server fan noise by enclosing the row with Aisle Containment systems has a great double advantage. The containment walls will help block the noise and help prevent them from affecting the rest of the data center floor. But remember, within the containment area fan noise will be even greater and therefore ear protection should be considered if prolonged exposure is anticipated.
Open Racks to Closed Cabinets
Consider reducing your cabinet footprint and increasing your racks density by adding Inrow closed loop self-contained cooling enclosures. These systems enclose server fan noise and reduce floor footprint space. https://www.42u.com/rittal-lcp.htm
Fan noise is the culprit, and something that we will have to live with until more efficient server systems are created. Until then look into these ideas for a healthier and happier work force.