Technology is taking over in just about any professional field out there. That means that as more computers and electronic parts add to the mix, it is becoming increasingly important to handle all the noise that comes with the equipment.
It can be pretty annoying if everything else is silent around the home or office, but the server rack is making a lot of noise. The good news is that there are more solutions than ever out there, and people are coming up with creative ways to handle this noise, so it no longer becomes a problem.
Here are a few solutions that will make the work environment just a little bit quieter like it was in the past.
1. Purchasing a Soundproofing Cabinet
The easiest way to take care of sound coming from IT equipment is to purchase a soundproofing cabinet. They are readily available in stores and online, but the problem is that they do cost a decent amount of money.
Some people do not want to deal with any complicated procedures, so they are willing to make that investment. Others might stay away from an investment like that, and instead, try to handle things in alternative ways.
The good thing about a soundproofing cabinet is that it keeps everything pretty compact. There are different sizes available, depending on how much equipment needs to go inside.
Take a look around and see if any fall under a certain price point. It is the fastest solution, and a quality cabinet will last for years as long as it goes under no abuse. Based on reviews, it is relatively easy to find one that does a great job with controlling sound.
2. Building a Soundproof Server Rack
Some people take a look at a typical soundproof server rack and do not see how it is that complicated to make themselves. If a person is just a little bit handy, they can put together something that works pretty well. Not only can it help with soundproofing, but it also helps with temperature control and overall organization.
If a person decides that building a soundproof server rack is the way to go, they need to be strategic about it. Do not make it too complicated, or else it becomes more of a hassle than just purchasing one instead.
All it takes is a combination of wood, glue, screws, and hinges. It is very satisfying for some people to have the ability to build things themselves, and even though it takes more time, it could save some money in the end.
Building a server rack from scratch is not considered a good solution for anyone who is not particularly handy. There are just too many things that can go wrong, and wasted time and material starts to add up. All of a sudden, a person is spending hundreds of dollars putting something together that they could purchase for a lower price.
Ultimately, a server rack is essential to have as a great base to help with soundproofing. Sometimes, the cabinet itself does enough that people do not care about anything else. Others will still want to add more soundproofing material so that things are as quiet as possible.
3. Soundproofing Material for the Server Rack
Now that the rack is taken care of, it is time to look at different shelving material to help with soundproofing. There are a few different options out there, and as long as a person realizes that more material usually means more heat, everything will be fine.
To combat the heat, there are opportunities to add cooling fans that will help tremendously. The last thing a person wants is equipment to overheat to the point that it does not function properly.
Mass loaded vinyl
There is a lot to like about mass loaded vinyl with numerous types of soundproofing projects. It is a material that is very high density, offering outstanding flexibility just about anywhere. It is so great at providing soundproofing qualities that it is mostly used in industrial settings.
Simply cut mass loaded vinyl into any shape to create a very thin type of sound barrier on a server rack. To keep everything in place, glue works in most cases. Make sure no air gaps are forming that will contribute to sound leaking.
As strong as mass loaded vinyl is, it can tear if it is pulled and tucked at a little too much. Be careful with the initial application process, and throw away any scraps that do end up getting a tear in them. It is pretty much useless to try to put mass loaded vinyl back together that is compromised.
Sound Deadening Mats
Mess loaded vinyl and sound deadening mats share a lot of the same qualities, with mats being a little more durable in certain situations. If a person is worried about standard mass loaded vinyl not holding up over the long haul, it might be better to invest in these mats.
The application process is virtually the same, and the results are hard to argue with as well. Some people use just one layer, but there is no reason to stop there if extra soundproofing is needed. Double or even triple them up for the best results.
Rubberized Undercoating Spray
For a thin, versatile option for soundproofing, it does not get much better than rubberized undercoating spray. Not only does it do a great job helping sound, but it protects the surface from any rust forming. Anyone who is considering a metal server rack should think about rubberized undercoating as an option.
The application process is not the most enjoyable, as there is a pretty strong smell one must endure. Once that is taken care of, everything is pretty much good to go.
There is an option to add more soundproofing material, but this is a good starting point if a person needs it. The paintable surface that is now available allows people to customize their rack as much as they would like.
A Ruberized acoustic foam (Amazon) makes for a pretty lightweight addition to help with soundproofing. It is usually not good enough by itself, but it does help if the rack is already very heated. There is no additional heat that comes with acoustic foam, and it is pretty cheap to try out.
Even if it does not work, there is always a need for acoustic foam in other locations around the home. Do not be afraid to go with that as an option.
Acoustic sealants, Green Glue, Damping Compounds, and More
If the server rack is made of wood, one of the best ways to silence everything is to use a damping compound. This works perfectly when doubling up on the panels being used. Put in the compound in between will make for a much more enjoyable day to day life.
Green Glue is far and away the best and most famous option out there for something like this. There is also the opportunity to go with other options out there from competing companies. The good news is that there are more options than ever for damping compounds, and it is pretty inexpensive.
Once the compound is added, everything will last and look as good as new for years. A server rack will stay looking sharp for a long time in this scenario.
What if Soundproofing a Server Rack is Just Not Working?
If the soundproofing methods are providing enough assistance, there is the option of just moving to a dedicated server room. This helps out a lot for obvious reasons, as there is nothing better to get away from a sound quite like moving it to a different part of a home or office.
Unfortunately, this is not always the most feasible thing to pull off for people out there. Some are going to try to do whatever possible to make it work, but smaller setups might not have that level of flexibility. There is always going to be a bit of separation that takes some getting used to at first, but it might work better in the end.
Keep in mind that a dedicated server room is going to be very noisy, and it can also get very disorganized if things are not set up correctly. Take the time early on to make sure everything is properly handled. Do not rush to put a server room together, because it is going to end up complicating things in the end.
The same rules apply to a server room that would apply to a server rack. If it is still very noisy in there and can be heard elsewhere, soundproofing the walls, floor, ceiling, and more makes a lot of sense. They are even advanced methods such as using damping compounds, decoupling, and more.
This is the option that a lot of bigger companies will go with, because it just makes a lot of sense in the end. Instead of having everything loud and cluttered near the main office area, a dedicated room can make things much more enjoyable for everyone. If they are ever any repairs needed, it is easy to step into as well.
How to Control the Heat Inside a Server Rack or Room?
Things get very heated when there is a lot of IT equipment running near each other. Most equipment is built to handle a certain level of heat, but it is always worth investing in ways to keep things relatively cool. The last thing a person wants to deal with is equipment not working as it should because of too much heat.
The easiest method is to invest in cooling fans to help out with temperature control. Cooling fans are very easy to install just about anywhere, and they can be positioned to target particular areas.
Some people will purchase cooling fans online, or even go with server racks that have them included already. This is the easiest method, and one suggested to those who might not want to go the do-it-yourself route. For others, making a purchase online will allow for some pretty inexpensive fans to start out with. (source)
Make sure to put them in the right locations, and spread them out as much as possible as well. The entire rack area needs to be cooled off to keep temperatures down. If there is a specific spot that gets particularly heated, make sure to target that very well.
If people are still worried about the temperature, or they want to see the changes, put a thermometer inside and see the difference. Many people are surprised to see just what a few smaller fans can do.
Remember, most of these fans run very quietly, but they do add to the overall sound as well. This is where soundproofing gets put to the test. The material should be able to handle fans just fine, especially if they are correctly installed.
Is it Worth it in the End to Make a Soundproof Server Rack?
Computer companies try to do what they can to make their products quiet, but is sometimes a challenge for them as they try to push the limits as well. There will never be a computer that is 100% silent, so getting a soundproof server rack makes a lot of sense.
The prices continue to come down for just how much a server rack costs, so more and more people are going with one already made. Maybe it is worth it to some to try out for a few techniques on their own at first, but be prepared to spend a decent amount of time to get the right set up.
Another option is to do a type of hybrid, where a server rack is purchased, but additional soundproofing material is added later on. This can give people the best of both worlds, especially if the noise is becoming particularly problematic.
Finally, do not overlook the opportunity to use a dedicated server room if possible. It is definitely a great solution as equipment starts to add up. Businesses love using dedicated server rooms, and even individual homeowners are moving that way.
Soundproofing might seem difficult at first, but it is pretty straightforward once a person reads up on all the different options out there. Most people are striving for a tranquil work environment so that they can focus on what they need to get done. If the work environment becomes just a little quieter, it is easier to see results in the end.