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Hardware Thread, Turning servers off for two weeks (Safe?) in Technical; The air conditioning unit in our server room has broken down. The room is very small with 4 servers in ...
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    Turning servers off for two weeks (Safe?)

    The air conditioning unit in our server room has broken down. The room is very small with 4 servers in it and there is no other way to ventilate the room to let the heat out. Currently we have the door open, but this will need to be shut for next 2 weeks for security reasons.

    The site is not in use for the next two weeks, is there any issue with turning the server off for two weeks? I know in the past there was a risk of hard drives seizing up, is this still the case? All of the hard drives are SAS drives and the oldest server is around 6-7 years old.

    I would appreciate some input.

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    Trojan's Avatar
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    Personally I wouldn't shut them down. I would find a way to ventilate that room. I have been in your exact situation some years ago and had to come up with some pretty ingenious solutions to keep the room ventilated.

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    JamesBanks7's Avatar
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    possibly contact a hire company for portable air conditioners ?
    Your finance team should allow the purchase to be made on the ground that this is disaster prevention

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    RichB's Avatar
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    Personally Id see hell freeze over before I would turn my network off for two weeks.

    However two interesting articles:

    Sustainable Computing: Is It Time to Turn Off Your Servers?
    Powering down servers is a calculated risk | Green IT - InfoWorld

    In "theory" there shouldnt be many issues to look out for. Maybe DNS, DHCP leases expiring, hard drives should not be an issue. But we all know theory doesnt always work.

    Could you not get some portable Air Con units and put them in there?

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    Trojan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RichB View Post
    Personally Id see hell freeze over before I would turn my network off for two weeks.
    Hell would have to freeze over and an unnamed deity would have to ride in on a flying unicorn before I'd turn mine off.

    Portable AirCon all the way.

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    There's no way I'd turn the servers off for a period, they are designed to run constantly and two weeks off would risk both the hardware and software ( think of the updates rush if nothing else!). Only solution is to get the air con back on ASAP or move the equipment.

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    I'd love to know what makes people think the servers will break just by being off for two weeks.

    All the articles I've seen on this sort of thing recommend against frequent shutdowns and power-ups, but a one-time off for two weeks and then back on? I cannot see how that is going to cause any more hardware problems that a 2 minute on-off, and Windows is not so fragile that it couldn't cope with the time off, even with AD.

    I'd still be looking for a way to keep running, but to be honest it's more likely you'll get complaints about unavailability than you will technical issues. Even if you think the site isn't going to be used, sods law is that someone will want something. Also if your email is on-site, that will of course cause problems with everyone trying to email you...

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    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTechnician View Post
    I'd love to know what makes people think the servers will break just by being off for two weeks.

    All the articles I've seen on this sort of thing recommend against frequent shutdowns and power-ups, but a one-time off for two weeks and then back on? I cannot see how that is going to cause any more hardware problems that a 2 minute on-off, and Windows is not so fragile that it couldn't cope with the time off, even with AD.

    I'd still be looking for a way to keep running, but to be honest it's more likely you'll get complaints about unavailability than you will technical issues. Even if you think the site isn't going to be used, sods law is that someone will want something. Also if your email is on-site, that will of course cause problems with everyone trying to email you...
    Agreed, I don't think you'll have too many problems at all. Hardware will be just fine, and probably happy for a rest. I've got thousands of servers here that have been off for months, and our startup failure rate is less than 1 in 1000

    If you've got a well confugured software setup I'd imagine things will be fine also.

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    sparkeh's Avatar
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    If these servers host vital services (email, remote access etc) that people are going to give you earache over then I would be looking at ways to keep them on.

    However, if no one is going to miss them then I can't see an issue to turning them off. What's going to happen to them?

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    Norphy's Avatar
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    I agree with the previous two posters.

    As long as you're careful about the order that you take down and bring up your servers, it'll be fine.

  11. Thanks to Norphy from:

    ICTDirect_Dave (11th April 2014)

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    id say no not because the server wont like it but more because id be very nervous about a disk failure, have seen disks go from being fine when in use to being left for a bit which have then developed issues when being spun up again

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    ICTDirect_Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SHimmer45 View Post
    id say no not because the server wont like it but more because id be very nervous about a disk failure, have seen disks go from being fine when in use to being left for a bit which have then developed issues when being spun up again
    I find this odd. Enterprise drives are far more reliable than consumer (and we turn those off and on every day). There's little chance of anything going wrong, if a disc is going to go, it's going to go regardless of it being in use or not.

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    I don't think you'll encounter any problems just turning them off.

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    If a server has been on for 5 years and you turn it off for several weeks the mechanical parts of the server (fans, hard disks, etc) will go from being moving and warm and fluid to being stationary and cold. They also go from being expanded to being slightly contracted. Then you come to turn back on and the bearings and/or bits of rubber/plastic etc in all of the moving parts that are already worn/require maintenance can suddenly fail as they expand under friction/temperature.

    I have seen it happen, old kit working fine for years, power it down for afew weeks and when it comes back up you've got hard disk and fan fails. I would reccomend if the servers are old to keep them on if posible (don't fry them with no air con though..) if the servers are new then the mechanical parts are probably in good condition and should be fine to turn off.
    Last edited by AButters; 11th April 2014 at 12:37 PM.

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    ICTDirect_Dave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AButters View Post
    If a server has been on for 5 years and you turn it off for several weeks the mechanical parts of the server (fans, hard disks, etc) will go from being moving and warm and fluid to being stationary and cold. They also go from being expanded to being slightly contracted. Then you come to turn back on and the bearings and/or bits of rubber/plastic etc in all of the moving parts that are already worn/require maintenance can suddenly fail as they expand under friction/temperature.

    I have seen it happen, old kit working fine for years, power it down for afew weeks and when it comes back up you've got hard disk and fan fails. I would reccomend if the servers are old to keep them on if posible (don't fry them with no air con though..) if the servers are new then the mechanical parts are probably in good condition and should be fine to turn off.
    Fair point. But that's what we do. We buy tens of thousands of servers from all over the world that are between 8 and 3 years old. They've never been turned off until they're pulled from the datacentre, when they're shipped to us, often still in rack cabinets. And as I said, our hdd failure rate is less than one in a thousand when we spin them back up again. the fans and psu components I think or even oless likely to fail. So long as you've got a good manufacturer (HP, Dell, IBM (to some degree)) Then you're likely fine

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