Chapter 1: Getting Up and Running

The i5 server needs a certain amount of space as well as a special environment. Both must be provided for a successful installation. The place where you install the server is typically known as the computer room, although the machine can, in theory, be installed anywhere.

Planning Physical Space

In most cases, you will have to make do with whatever space is available for the computer room in an existing building. Whether a building is in the planning stages or you have a choice among several rooms in an existing building, you should plan the location of your computer room carefully.

The Computer Room

The computer room doesn't have to be located near computer users because, in theory, users don't need access to the machinery. Users only need access to their own display stations and printers. However, you should consider placing the computer room somewhere in the administration area because information systems (or data processing) is usually considered an administrative department.

Computer Room Requirements

The computer room should have the following minimal attributes. The room should:

  • Be large enough to contain the i5 processing unit, all racks, tape drives, the system console, the system printer, a desk, a chair, a bookshelf, and a filing cabinet or drawer pedestal. Ideally, room should be available for the uninterrupted power supply unit (UPS) that protects the machines from power surges, spikes, and power failures. The computer room should be large enough to provide room for all these units and plenty of walking space around the units. This walking space is required not only for easy access, but for easy maintenance. It is easy to make the mistake of allowing so little space that you have to walk sideways between the machines.

  • Have its own power supply. For example, the room can have a different power line from the rest of the building to minimize the risk of power problems. You should insist on this feature even if your system is going to be protected with a UPS unit. The UPS unit is mandatory for all i5. Although many units include a built-in battery that can keep the system going in the event of a power outage, the more sophisticated UPS units also protect the system from irregularities in the power supply, such as spikes and surges.

  • Have air-conditioning, with a thermostat that only you can control. This air-conditioning unit should have no effect outside the computer room. This "private" air-conditioning unit ensures that the computer room is kept at a temperature suitable for computer equipment. As a general rule, the air-conditioning thermostat should be set so that the air is kept around 70°F. This temperature provides comfort for both the people and the machines. Humidity is also a major concern if you work in a place where humidity is high. An air-conditioning specialist can recommend a dehumidifier to keep the humidity at a reasonable level in the computer room.

  • Have its own telephones. To work well, the computer room must have its own telephone extension. So that outside calls don't have to go through the switchboard, some companies provide the computer room with a direct line for incoming or outgoing calls. If you think this is a superfluous frill, think about the times when data processing has to stay working after regular office hours and needs to receive important phone calls (possibly from IBM). If your i5 server is going to communicate with the outside world, order your phone line sufficiently ahead of time. Some phone companies are slower than others in installing telephone lines.

  • Have a facility called Electronic Customer Support (ECS), which is described in Chapter 33. ECS lets your system contact IBM electronically through a telephone line. The computer room, therefore, requires an additional telephone line for the use of ECS.

  • Depending on the type of security you need to implement, you might want to consider having a lock on the door to the computer room so that only authorized personnel can enter. This isn't an idle request you make just to feel important. Implementing system security through passwords and object authorities is worthless if the system itself is within reach of unauthorized persons.


Although IBM says that carpets don't usually present a problem for the i5, you probably will want to remove all carpeting from the computer room. Static electricity accumulates in the bodies of people who walk on the carpet, and it is discharged when a person touches a metallic object—such as the computer. This discharge can damage the equipment and can give you quite a jolt.


The best kind of flooring you can provide for the computerroom is a raised floor. Raised floors consist of independent square tiles that sit on metal beams and columns, usually raised about 1 ft (30 cm) from the real floor.

A raised floor gives you added protection against floods because the water will accumulate under it instead of on top of it. Flooding is not an unlikely event. Think of those fire-extinguishing sprinklers hanging from the ceiling and what would happen if they were activated. Of course, floods due to rain are not uncommon in some regions.

Leave It to the Specialist

Most details of the building of the computer room can (and should) be left to a specialist in such matters. This book doesn't attempt to offer guidance beyond the basics. Three other matters to consider are:

  • Cabling. Should you use twinax, twisted pair, or other kinds?

  • Fire Prevention. Have special extinguishers available, but you probably should not install sprinklers on the ceiling. Halon is a safe and effective fire-extinguishing system, but it is not environmentally sound.

  • External Interference. Are large machines close to the computer room that might produce magnetic fields? Is there radio frequency (RF) interference from a nearby radio, television, or radar station?

Laying Out the Computer Room

Unless you are an architect or an engineer, drawing the components to scale on charting paper won't mean much. Instead, consider the following method.

First, draw the walls of the computer room on paper, using a scale that is easy to work with (such as 1 ft = 1 in, or 1:10 in the metric system). The scale should let you include the entire computer room on a single sheet of paper, yet occupy as much of the sheet as possible.

Next, cut rectangular pieces of cardboard (sized to the same scale) to represent the computer room components, such as the computer unit, the racks, the printer, the desk, and so forth. You can obtain the dimensions of the machines from IBM's Planning Guide or use a tape measure and jot down the machine sizes if they are available to you.

Play with the cardboard pieces by placing, shifting, and arranging them in different ways on the drawing of the computer room until you find an arrangement that seems to work well. Only you can be the judge of this.

Now comes the interesting part. Get some masking tape and stick it on the actual floor of the computer room, to delineate the objects as you laid them out with the cardboard mockup. No matter how good it looks on your scale model, there is nothing like reality. You should be able to tell now if your model will actually work out as well as you thought it would.

Repeat this process as many times as needed. It is a lot of work, but it saves you from having to shift the actual machines after they arrive to your computer room. Pushing little cardboard pieces is a lot easier than pushing a rack full of DASD units.

IBM i5/iSeries Primer(c) Concepts and Techniques for Programmers, Administrators, and Sys[... ]ators
IBM i5/iSeries Primer(c) Concepts and Techniques for Programmers, Administrators, and Sys[... ]ators
Year: 2004
Pages: 245 © 2008-2017.
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