With 700 girls and 150 staff on the Glen Iris campus, and a 1:1 HP tablet computer to student ratio from year 7 up, the school found that its domestic class split system air conditioning units used in the school’s server room were “running out of grunt” with temperatures in the room fluctuating from 18 deg C to 30 deg C. The recently installed enterprise grade system meanwhile keeps temperatures between 20 and 22 deg C, which reduces the load on the servers according to Greg Plum, Korowa’s IT services manager.
He acknowledged that the school has experienced a “quantum leap” in terms of the demand placed on its server room in recent years after embracing virtual desktops in many of the classrooms. The school’s server room hosts 20 physical servers and a blade unit which is host to 70 blade PCs.
The split systems; “Weren’t coping with maintaining the temperatures. On cooler days it was too cold and on hot days they were too hot,” he said.
The challenge for many schools according to Mr Plum is that; “You don’t get a direct visible outcome in terms of operational outcome.” But he said that the reliance of many schools on technology in the classroom, meant that that inadequate cooling in the server room could introduce risk in terms of systems downtime or failure.
Holding off on enterprise air conditioning may in any case be a false economy, as according to Mr Plum, the $40,000 cost of the Emerson Network Power system which has been installed at the school by local contractor Honeylight Consulting, is comparable to the cost of some split systems, and the operating costs are probably lower as it only operates for part of the day.