Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Doors for server rooms are a basic element of physical protection for server rooms and UPS rooms. They ensure optimal conditions for the functioning of network devices and servers, provide fire protection, and ensure access to the rooms is only for authorised individuals. Properly selected and precisely fitted doors are the guarantee of the security of the data collected on the servers. This guarantee is particularly important for the protection of personal data, bank details, data related to the technology of production plants, business trade secrets, medical records, and other relevant information, the loss or theft of which may have severe consequences. Due to obvious reasons, the doors cannot protect the servers against hacker attacks, but they can protect the servers physically against unauthorised access, flooding, and destruction by fire. They ensure proper conditions for the functioning of server rooms.
What are the relevant properties that characterise doors for server rooms? Here are some of them:
Server rooms should be closed by doors with increased anti-burglary resistance, which ensures a high level of security for server rooms. The doors should be resistant both to breaking and attempts of unauthorised opening—that is why it is crucial to have not only a robust construction but also door locks and door inserts with a high protection class. In discipline-specific designs, server rooms are mostly equipped with anti-burglary steel doors of RC3 or R4 class, in accordance with PN-EN 1627:2012. The doors of this class are intended for the protection of rooms with a medium or high risk of burglary, and they truly function as a perfect closing to the server rooms.
The dimensions of the clear opening should ensure free access to the devices and, primarily, the installation and possible exchange of server cupboards. The most frequently used are one-leaf doors with a clear opening width of 900 mm and a clear opening height of 2000 mm or sometimes a width of 1000 mm and a height of 2100 mm. The projects with double-leaf doors with a clear opening of 1400 mm when opening both door leafs can also be found.
The doors protect the servers and other network devices against fire and the high temperatures of fires. Pursuant to Art. 212 Sec. 6 of the Minister of Infrastructure Decree on technical conditions and location related to buildings, server rooms require a separate structural fire protection separation. Therefore, specific guidelines for preparation of a server room recommend the usage of fire-rated doors, most having a fire resistance class EI60. A special door leaf insert along with high-temperature gaskets make fire-rated doors, when closed, an efficient barrier against the spreading of fire and temperature increases.
The proper sealing of a door leaf on its all edges is particularly important for server rooms for several reasons. First, it is necessary to ensure an effective gas extinguishing system. The gas extinguishing system is activated by a fire panel. Thanks to special valves, the fire panel releases a fire extinguishing agent and distributes it via lines and nozzles in designated places. To extinguish the fire, a server room should be filled with gas and kept at the proper concentration for the gas-retention period. Therefore, an effective gas extinguishing system requires the usage of doors with increased tightness. Second, sealing the doors to a server room tightly ensures proper thermal conditions. Finally, it prevents dirt, dust, and other pollutants from entering from the corridor into the server room.
The doors should ensure entrance to the server rooms only for authorised individuals. For this purpose, the doors are equipped with the elements of access control. It is usually an electric door strike in cooperation with the main lock latch, electric door strike in cooperation with an additional lock latch installed above the main lock, or an electromagnetic bolt or electromagnetic lock installed on the upper edge of a door leaf. In more advanced projects, the doors are equipped with electromechanical locks. The elements of the doors’ equipment cooperate with a controller with a proximity card reader or a PIN keyboard. A properly designed, executed, and configured access control system for a server room combines the function of opening the doors with authorization and user identification as well as an entrance registration system and—in the case of two-way access control—exit registration system. It is worth mentioning that due to safety reasons related to access to doors to a server room, they should be equipped with a door closer so that the doors are not left in a partially closed position.
Doors equipped with electrical locks usually have an integrated handle and bolt usage monitoring function, as well as an alarm signalling attempts to break the doors and sabotage the system. Doors with mechanical locks may also be equipped with reed relays installed in the door frame and door leafs. A good practice is also to monitor the position sensor of the bolt. In the case of access control with the use of an electromagnetic lock, a sensor transmitting information about power condition and closed position can be used.
In spite of the fact that the doors for rooms intended for data processing are usually interior doors, their heat transmittance value is a truly important feature. The presence of servers and other electrical devices in the room causes high heat emissions, so the space is air-conditioned in a way that maintains the optimal temperature and humidity for the proper function of these devices. Doors with good thermal properties have a beneficial influence on the maintenance of the proper temperature inside the server room.