Three environmental factors must be considered when you are purchasing a cluster: how much power it requires, how much air conditioning is necessary to cool it, and where it will be housed.
Power and Electricity
When you purchase a cluster, getting caught up in how fast it will be and how many machines you will get is easy, but without adequate electrical facilities, even the fastest, most powerful cluster is just a bunch of expensive metal boxes. Power should be a forethought instead of an afterthought.
Most end-users do not have an unlimited amount of power, so knowing what you have and need before configuring a new system is important and can save you time and money. For example, imagine receiving your cluster and then not being able to plug it in because the power hasn't been installed or the plugs are the incorrect style or amperage. Also, if you can have larger amperage receptacles or even 3-phase power installed, fewer power distribution units can be used, which can save hundreds — or even thousands — of dollars.
Cooling / HVAC
Heat is the enemy of every computer! To ensure optimal performance of your cluster, adequate cooling is required. Advanced Clustering recommends that all systems be kept between 68°F-72°F and not to exceed 78°F.
Heat is measured in British Thermal Units per hour or BTU:
- 1 watt is approximately 3.4 BTU/h
- 1000 BTU/h is approximately 293 W
Air conditioning capacity is measured in tons:
- 12,000 BTU/h is equal to 1 ton in most North American air conditioning applications
Space to House Your Cluster
Most personal office space is not a suitable place for a cluster. Generally, the power and air conditioning are not adequate, and unless it is built to be low noise, the cluster will be too loud for anyone to sit near for extended periods. Imagine 32 hair dryers running at one time and you will have a fairly accurate idea of the noise and heat produced! If possible, housing your Apex Cluster in a computer lab or computing center is ideal. We understand that this is not always possible and we will work with you to determine any necessary room alterations.