I can hear my parents saying, "If you fail to plan then plan to fail"... or something like that. You know, one of those parental chants that get ingrained in your brain at an early age. So much so that I seem to use it on my own kids now!
Seems mom and dad are always right (I tell my kids that, too) and that 'ol saying holds true for backup server room cooling. It's not a question of what to do "IF" the air conditioning fails, but "WHEN" the air conditioning fails. Because you know it will.
Here are a few things you can do to be prepared for an air conditioning failure.
Open the doorsMany server rooms tend to be over-sized closets with little or no ventilation. Open the door to allow for ventilation. Be sure to open the doors on enclosed server cabinets to help ventilate and cool the internal components.
Turn off non-critical servers and devicesOK, that's obvious to most of you but do you KNOW which servers and devices you can scale back? Identify the equipment with a label or floor plan so the information is easily available and you aren't having to call the IT guys.
Turn on a fanIt may seem archaic but it's a good idea to keep a fan handy. A box fan or oscillating fan will help draw cooler air into the server room OR exhaust warm air from the server room, depending on the temperature outside the server room.
Turn on a portable air conditionerBusinesses with multiple sites and buildings often have spot coolers to cool server rooms during air conditioning failure and maintenance. Many building management companies own or rent portable air conditioners to keep tenants operating efficiently. If you lease space, contact your building engineer/manager to see if this option is available as a service to tenants.
It's time to give in and do what your folks always told you. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Check out10 Tips for Emergency Spot Cooling for a checklist on important things to know when you have a cooling emergency.