Monday, November 01, 2010

Server Room Monitoring - Not Just for the Big Boys

Even small server rooms can benefit from environmental monitoring devices.  Proper server room monitoring can provide warning of impending disaster that threatens availability and up-time.  Temperature sensors can alert IT professionals of over-heating situations, humidity sensors can alert to overly dry/moist conditions, fluid detection  sensors can alert to flooding conditions, and intrusion/security sensors can help protect data and valuable IT investments from theft.

Temperature Monitoring
Probably the most widely monitored metric, proper operating temperature plays a crucial role in server availability and up-time.  When a cooling failure happens, it does not take long for temperatures to rise and mission-critical equipment to fail.  With real-time monitoring, IT professionals can be instantly alerted via e-mail, audible alarm, or other advanced alarm notification system to take immediate action.

Humidity Monitoring
While temperature is closely watched, humidity is often over looked in the server room.  Of concern to IT managers are dry conditions that can lead to a build up of static electricity, as well as overly humid conditions that can lead to condensation buildup.  To combat electrostatic discharge, cooling systems often add moisture to the conditioned air.  Add too much water vapor, though, and IT equipment will collect condensation that may lead to rust and electrical shorts.  Real-time monitoring can provide IT professionals and facility managers the information to get the balance right.

Fluid Detection
Little needs to be said about the dangers that fluids pose to IT equipment, yet many small server rooms ignore this ever present danger.  Safe from flooding on the third floor? Not from the burst pipe on the fourth.  Properly placed fluid detection systems can provide advanced warning of liquid infiltration, allowing ample time for mission-critical systems to be protected.

Security/Intrusion Monitoring
Physical security is paramount to any serious data security program.  Beyond external building security, server rack intrusion detection and server floor monitoring offer another level of security that is just as important as firewalls and virus protection.  If an intruder can physically access the servers, no data is safe.  Intrusion detection systems and camera monitoring solutions can provide another deterrent to data and equipment theft.

Server Room Monitoring Available for All Budgets
Stand-alone sensors need not require huge initial investments and can actually reduce IT expense in the long run when the replacement cost for expensive server room equipment is taken into account.  Moreover, many of today's state of the art server room monitoring systems do not need additional computer hardware or software systems and can often be integrated into existing building management and  network monitoring systems.

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