Network systems are created to perform complicated tasks and process large volumes of information. These processes are rather power-consuming, which results in noisy operation of IT equipment. In the article, we’re going to define the most common reasons for the noisy functioning of network systems and list ways to cope with this problem.
Noise is a natural side effect of data center operation when hundreds or even thousands of devices work together. Sound can become a real point of concern for employees if IT systems are placed next to their workplaces. According to noise regulations, 80 dBA is the standard equivalent sound level in workplaces. If the level of sound is higher, it can distract employees from their duties and cause workflow to slow down. Besides, noise may signal some failures in hardware operation and become a reason for damage or malfunction.
Causes of Excessive Noise
Note that there are several causes of excessive noise. While some sounds can be natural, others may be reasons for system examination for proper performance and initiating maintenance practices. So, here are the most common causes of extra noise:
- Equipment vibration. When being in operation, each device emits sound. Moreover, complicated tasks make hardware work even more noisy. Thus, vibrations of all devices are taken together, which leads to excessive noisiness that can disturb.
- Fan noise. Fans are used to maintain the required temperature and climate in server cabinets and racks. They can work noisily in various cases. If fans are deteriorated and can’t support the load. If too much dust settles on fan blades, it leads to hardened spinning and functioning. If the power and capacity of fans are chosen incorrectly, it makes them work faster than they are designed to.
- Poor insulation. While noise emission is natural, cabinets should be insulated when placed in offices or installed next to employees. If noise isolation is performed improperly, it won’t absorb sound, and employees will hear excess sound.
Anyway, each case requires prompt reaction and solving to avoid aggravated problems.
Selecting a Quiet Server Rack
If everything works properly and accumulated sounds of functioning devices come as the cause of excess noise, you need to approach the issue of selecting a proper server cabinet. Give preference to solid constructions produced from soundproof rack materials. Solid enclosures do not let the sound go through since no gaps are found in their constructions. Thus, there is no way for noise to leave the body.
If you need a soundproof server rack, look through the Sysracks catalog. The distributor offers a wide palette of solutions for different premises and needs. Models of different constructions are available. Managers consult clients and help them make the right choice.
You can also reinforce a rack design with soundproof solutions. Such techniques help improve the ability of server cabinets to absorb sound, not let the sound leave the enclosure, etc.
Sound Reduction Techniques
Yet, even if you have a simple thin-wall cabinet for IT equipment, it doesn’t mean that you need to buy another furniture piece. Here are the most effective ways for server cabinet noise reduction.
Firstly, note that all means fall into active noise cancellation and passive noise reduction. They allow for reinforcing cabinet resistance to sound:
- Acoustic Damping. The staff can apply additional layers of soundproof materials to cabinet walls to make them thicker and improve sound-absorbing properties. When passing through such materials, the sound is dampened. These are rubber sprays, foam panels, etc. They come as ideal noise barriers.
- Vibration Dampening. If hardware vibrates during operation, install additional anti-vibration mounts and apply other measures, which will help prevent and reduce vibration.
- Airflow Management. In many cases, fans become the cause of excessive sound, since they spin and produce much sound. Keep in mind thermal dynamics and ensure proper airflow to reduce the need for noisy cooling fans.
- Quiet Fans. Perhaps, your fans are too outdated, and it’s time to replace them with new, advanced models. Install fans with quieter, more efficient characteristics.
- Noise Absorption Panels. Add special acoustic panels that absorb sound within or around the server rack.
- Enclosure Seals. If you do not have a noise-cancelling server rack and use a non-solid body, make sure to add special seals to prevent noise leakage.
- Cable Management. Poorly organized cables lead to airflow obstruction and vibration. Make sure to wire them neatly to prevent such failures.
In addition, equipment positioning does matter. Depending on the place of fastening, equipment may interact, exchanging heat or promoting the airflow if its management is carried out correctly.
Materials for Noise Reduction
The following materials are commonly used to reduce server noise:
- Acoustic foam is a thick layer of lightweight foam that dampens sound perfectly.
- Rubberized coatings are applied to the inner sides of rack panels. Substances are sprayed on the panel surface. When freezing, substances form a durable and well-absorbing rubber surface.
- Mass-loaded vinyl panels can be used to dampen sound.
Measuring Noise Reduction
Make sure to make noise measurements before and after the task to analyze how well it is done. The procedure is essential to guarantee the level of ambient noise is within the norms of decibel ratings. If we speak about premises, where employees work, this measure is obligatory to guarantee their safe and effective stay in their workplaces. Special sound level meters are used to measure the level of noise in premises.
Now, you know how to soundproof a server rack and how noise may signal severe hazards. Thus, choosing the best strategy for your case helps design and accommodate a well-functioning network system that does not disturb surrounding people.