We had a really tight budget at our firm. Our data center had always been on the warm side, cooled by a number of floor fans scattered around the room. It worked, but could have been better.
We ordered a dozen new machines last month, all high-end multi-way Xeon boxes. It was going to take a while for our vendor to assemble and ship them, so we put off the cooling problem for a while. Then we started losing money.
The machines had been paid for. We were stuck with them. But the IT budget dried up almost overnight.
So here we were with a dozen beastly boxen that, based on our early tests, raised the temperature of our datacenter almost 15 degrees farenheit. Resolved to get things down to level than where they started, I started trolling junkyards for anything I could find. I ended up constructing a massive cooling system for the cost of renting a large truck to haul stuff around.
A local restraunt had dumped it's old freezers, most of which were still somewhat operational. These puppies had heat exchangers larger than the most obese tech on my staff (and that's pretty big). We got four of them in total, almost 100 square feet of cooling area.
Other junkyards yielded a large collection of fans and fan blades. We found more than enough to provide fannage to the heat exchangers.
All this stuff was a great find, but we still needed a way to get the air moving. Our datacenter had ducts to the building's cooling systems, but they were inadequate for our needs. Luckily, our datacenter was on the first floor, on the south edge of the building facing an undeveloped grassy lot. A couple hours of sledgehammering later, we had a more than adequate ventilation duct to the outside world. It was nice having a "window" in the server room for once, much less one large enough to allow two lanes of traffic.
My staff gathered all the tools they owned, and we went to work on the hole. As a hole, it was highly functional. It was definitely rough around the edges, however. Using all manner of scrap metal, we assembled a solid edging for it that would allow mounting of the heat exchangers. Those went up without too much trouble. I was originally worried about the remnants of the wall being able to support them, but one of my cleverer techs rigged up a set of trusses that supported both the wall (it was sagging at the upper end) and the heat exchangers.
All the fans went in without too much trouble. We had to be careful with the power cords. With condensation to one side and searing heat to the other, it could really be a recipe for disaster. We mounted some PVC piping in there to keep the cords in place. It's held up fine.
The cooling monstrosity that stuck out the side of our building was ready to go in less than a week. I purchased some bottles of fine champaigne for the start-up party. The countdown started at ten. At five, I hit the switch for the fans. They started humming nicely. At zero, the switch for the exchangers. They also started nicely. Within minutes, cool air had flooded the room and it was only getting colder. This was only one problem. The other was with the amount of heat we were pumping out the other side.
In all the construction frenzy, nobody had considered the notion of a temperature control. Within half an hour, the server room would have been freezing. We shut it down earlier, however. Just before the fire department showed up.
The lot outside our heat exchangers had actually caught fire. It's been relatively dry here this summer, so it's really not too surprising. Once the firemen had coated the sea of flaming grasses and underbrush in foam, one of them came over to expect our cooling system. He immediately labeled it as "dangerous," me as "irresponsible," and the entire project as "an exercise in stupidity."
The building owners (we lease the space) were notified of what we had done. It never occurred to me to ask permission to cause serious structural damage. I'm now in major trouble with upper management (they're in a different building across town. they had no idea this was going on). The city is considering a lawsuit against me personally for spearheading this project because it endagers lives or some bullshit. Even worse, an editorial in the paper the other day labeled me as an enemy of mother Earth for burning all that grass (and a few trees). Don't even get me started on the nearby preschool that was downwind of the fire.
In conclusion, find a professional to do it for you. Don't make the same mistakes I did.