Environmental monitoring products are of great use in today’s technologically advanced world. They help you to monitor the condition in your server room, data centers, racks, or any other area that requires protection of the resources. The environmental factors that are often monitored include humidity, temperature, water leaks, smoke, power spikes or power surges, chemical materials.
Environmental monitoring enables you to keep a check on these parameters and in case of any emergencies you are being notified. The monitors can also alert you in the case of probable damage due to hacking, human errors, or any other malicious activity.
There are three basic elements of an environmental monitoring system that are, a base unit or a hub, sensors and probes, and network connectivity and integration. The base unit comprises one or many integrated sensors along with ports for connecting external probes. It also has an Ethernet port with software for remote configuration and graphing. This software may also be used with current network management software.
Environmental monitoring for racks in the server room is essential for the safety of business-related data. The chief goal of the server rack is to accommodate and safeguard necessary devices for business as well as home. Even though racks are installed to protect the equipment, there are still risk factors involved like humidity, airflow, heat, and so on. To add an extra layer of safety the rack environmental monitoring systems are used.
What is a Server Rack Environmental Monitoring System?
When we talk about server rack environmental monitoring systems, they are fitted into a rack to examine the physical and electrical condition of computer devices. They have the capacity to automatically collect data about the local environment and convey it to other monitoring and reporting platforms.
Based on the configuration of the rack environmental monitoring can solve issues in various ways: they mechanically can make alterations with the help of artificial intelligence or directly report the problem to an expert who will manually resolve the issue.
Why is it Important to Monitor My Server Racks?
Now comes the question, that why is it important to have rack environmental monitoring? The answer focuses on three main aspects which are mentioned below:
Modern computing devices are reliable, sturdy, and enduring as compared to the past. Nonetheless, these devices have certain limitations that are required to work upon. If the environmental conditions are not ideal, it will have a negative influence on the functioning of the device.
Another important need for rack environmental monitoring is that it helps to assess and alert in case of temperature changes. With respect to processors, if they get too hot to an extent that they damage the chip or even collapse the system. Even in the cases if the processor is too cold, the speed of the processor will slow down and it will become less effective.
There might be certain environmental conditions that can indirectly have an impact on the hardware which can lead to a drop in the entire lifespan of the device. A server rack that is only slightly warm might not have a direct effect on the performance of the processor. Now the fans will have to run at a higher speed. In the long run, it can lead to burnout in fans, which can further lead to extra expenses on the part of the business.
Rack-based environmental monitoring characteristically offers the following:
1) Combined environmental and power system assessment
2) Rack-based accumulation of numerous data center environment sensors
3) Enhanced operational productivity of the data center cooling system
4) Projecting trending of environmental data
5) Warning of security or environmental problems on a rack-by-rack basis
Types of Rack Monitoring Tools
Rack-based environmental monitoring tools come in various types. You can select from the range that best fits your needs. To find the one that you require, you need to have an overview of the options available. You can take a look below at the description for the available options:
Temperature Sensors: Temperature-related issues is the most common problems that are observed in server racks. If not assessed on time, it can lead to technical and financial loss. Thus, monitoring the temperature of the server rack is crucial all the time.
Humidity Sensors: Humidity can greatly affect the long life of computer devices and equipment and their functioning on a daily basis. Therefore, it requires close monitoring and adjustments as per the need of the server racks.
Air Pressure Sensors: The airflow pressure in a server rack is another environmental factor that requires close monitoring to maintain a proper level of the surroundings. It helps the technician by reducing their work of checking the racks and every fan inside a rack regularly.
Contact Sensors: The contact sensor works when someone comes in contact with the server racks to notify the concerned personnel. They provide safety to the server rack to avoid any kind of malicious activity like theft and at the same time alert the people in case of an accidental crash that can lead to damage to the equipment.
Rack Door Sensors: The rack door sensor ensures that whenever the rack door has opened an alert is generated. This helps to avoid any kind of misuse of data and restrict unauthorized entry to server racks.
Vibration Detectors: The geographical locations prone to earthquakes generally use vibration detectors. Similarly, vibration sensors can detect any vibration related to construction projects around the facility or other work that can lead to vibrations which in turn can prove to be detrimental for rack devices.
Power Monitoring: Power monitoring allows for an assessment of the electrical load for every server rack. It helps to recognize if there are any fluctuations that can lead to damage to the equipment. It can also indicate any hardware problems or any activity by hackers.
Fluid Detection: Any fluid infiltration can lead to damage of computer equipment and device in the server racks. This is often ignored in server room monitoring. A properly place fluid or liquid monitoring system can prove to be beneficial in alerting the personnel to take action immediately and reduce the amount of damage that can be due to the flooding.
The rack-based environmental monitoring system can perform almost all these functions. In a single device, you will be able to correctly monitor any environmental condition in your server racks.
Now let us look at a few important features of the rack environmental monitoring systems.
Features of Rack Environmental monitoring
- It should monitor temperature and humidity in a rack along with the assessment of the data obtained from the contact sensor device.
- The rack-based monitoring system can be easily mounted on the rack or in an enclosure.
- It should be able to safeguard the crucial devices and equipment from humidity, smoke, heat, intrusions, or water leakages.
- It should be easily connected to any wireless device or network management software.
- It should be able to display real-time environmental data on the computer.
- It also combines all the data received from the rack environmental monitors and displays it on a single page.
- It should display colorful graphs of humidity/heat trends, to recognize areas for immediate action.
- It should provide an immediate notification or alarm the concerned personnel in case of an emergency.
- It should have functions that are easy to navigate and work with.
- In case of a power cut, it should be able to restore the data and provide it for further processing.
- It could be useful for monitoring multiple racks at a time.
How to Choose the Right Server Monitoring Tools
It might be difficult to select a server rack environmental monitoring system. If we look at the two aspects, on one side it is necessary to monitor the environmental conditions to provide an optimum and correct environment for the computer device and equipment to function. Whereas, on the other side, there might be issues with respect to finances which can be one of the major problems.
Nonetheless, it is necessary to have a good rack-based environmental monitoring system to ensure the safety of the expensive computer devices in the server rack. Some of the necessary features include security cameras that can be a part of the entire data center and not only of a single rack. Other tools like temperature and humidity monitoring features, should be installed throughout the server room as well inside the racks. Thus, it is necessary to ensure the right balance to make the investment worthwhile. Based on the types of equipment placed in the server racks and the total environment, it will easier for you decide the type as well as features required for your rack environmental monitoring.
Rack-based environmental monitoring is an essential part of the server room management strategy. Real-time monitoring of humidity, pressure, temperature, and so on enables the authority enough time to take any action in case of a potential threat to the computer devices and equipment. It allows improving the efficiency of the professionals to regularly enhance their facilities reducing operating costs.