Resilient and space efficient server room design delivers real benefits

George Spencer Academy

George Spencer Academy and Technology College is a leading education establishment based in Nottingham. The college has a national reputation for excellence in the education of young people and the training and accreditation of teachers and is a centre of research and innovation in effective learning.

It is this forward-thinking approach that encouraged the Academy to become innovative with its IT infrastructure management.


The college required a resilient and best practice design server room which would be long-lasting. With the original room resembling little more than a cupboard, the new room was left as a shell by the main building contractors, in order for 2bm to design and fit out the area as a new server room.

The objective was to provide a new computing centre that meets the agendas of high resilience, low PUE and efficient use of the available space on site.


“George Spencer needed a facility that would excel in terms of performance, reliability and space,”says Phil Dixon “With the intent to use the new room as a hub for our IT Support centre and securely house other local school’s servers, it is critical that the facility is high performing and resilient not just for George Spencer, but for our customers too.”

With the existing space constraints on site, the 2bm project team needed to find an alternative solution to the norm; a space efficient method to maximise the limited space.


SAR Racks

The installation of 2bm’s SAR racks ensures the space is utilised as much as possible by providing an impressive 208u within just a 1500mm footprint; essential in a room with space constraints such as this. Aside from maximising space, the racks improve server performance and reliability. The meshed doors aid airflow via the central infill sections but moreover and critical to this project, the SAR rack improves cable and power management.

Phil Dixon comments, ‘For me the SAR rack was the obvious choice as the design of the rack is easier to work with because of the central cable management. Its design in turn makes for a much better management system.’

N+N Redundant Cooling Solution

2bm installed a bespoke cooling system incorporated into the cold aisle contained area, enabling complete control over the temperature of the facility and fully separate hot and cold air paths to provide maximum energy efficiency.

The cooling system is controlled by a purpose made control panel helps to maintain an optimum environment in which the servers can work to their best without over-heating. The airflow management system kicks in automatically when the room reaches a pre-set temperature in order to bring it back down to a comfortable level should the IT load fluctuate or a cooing unit fail.


The facility now has 8x more power protection than the previous facility to support the blade technology! To ensure the data centre maintains a continuous flow of power to the servers, an efficient Generator and UPS power back-up system has been fitted to automatically take the load of all the servers in an unlikely event of a grid power failure.

The installation of both solutions enables the data centre to boast the lowest chance of losing connectivity to its servers by ensuring the load of all the servers within the data centre is maintained for an indefinite period of time.

Aisle Containment

Cooling efficiency is improved within the design of the room through the implementation of aisle containment to separate the hot and cold airflow. Through the installation of a bespoke cold corridor; 2bm closed the cabinet rows at the cold side by constructing a roof and set of doors. Due to the constricted space, 2bm maximised the space by building the corridor so it backs up to the far wall of the room and fitted a singular set of doors at the other end of the corridor to allow access.

Fire Detection & Gas Suppression

2bm supplied and installed double knock fire detection and inert gas fire suppression system to cover the IT cabinet room. A fully flooded gas suppression system reduces the oxygen level within the protected space so a fire cannot be sustained, whilst still maintaining oxygen levels within the room to support life.

Environmental Monitoring

The installation of 4 interSeptor Pro’s allows for 8 temperature and humidity sensors to be installed in each cabinet. This out the box solution prevents incidents before they happen through the extensive monitoring and alerting functionality, with members of staff receiving email notifications of potential changes in the environment as they happen.

The new data centre provides 4x more capacity than the previous facility, allowing not only greater server space, but also better security and maintenance abilities.

In brief 2bm’s design includes:

› Separate IT and power distribution environment

› Dedicated server room power supply

› Server room mains distribution panels

› Dual rack power supplies to provide an independent

› A & B supply

› N+N resilient cooling solution utilising latest inverter

› technology for energy efficiency

› Low energy lighting

› New UPS system to provide constant power

› New standby diesel generator

› Double knock fire detection and suppression system

› New modular suspended ceiling

› New anti-static vinyl flooring

› SAR rack installation with cold aisle air separation

› Dual A & B in rack power distribution

› Email alerting environmental monitoring

› Access control through swipe card entry throughout entire building

› Technical room clean upon completion


With the new data centre fully operational, it is an asset to the George Spencer Academy. Through pushing our own network and infrastructure into the city, George Spencer is proud to boast the fact that the new facility is now supporting 30+ schools.

To have completed such a project to this standard and within this time frame is a job well done by the 2bm team, who continue to live up to and surpass the high standards they set for themselves.

Phil Dixon - ICT Network Infrastructure and Services, George Spencer Academy

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