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Temperature Monitoring

Temperature Monitoring Feature

September 01, 2010

Temperature Monitoring Best Practices for Data Centers

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

In data centers, avoiding downtime is key. Temperature and humidity fluctuations, hot spots, and other environmental factors can wreak havoc on server hardware and cause costly outages. Additionally, increased power usage not only leads to higher operating costs but can be an indication of an imminent issue.

Good airflow is vitally important and must be monitored to ensure air exchange is handled properly, and of course flooding or wetness in a data center could be disastrous.

Nick Larkin of Sensicast Systems has written recently on some best practices for data center temperature  monitoring using wireless sensor networks. According to him, these tools “can be deployed in data centers, providing environmental data and alerts, reducing costs, and ensuring server uptime.”

Some such systems have advantages over traditional monitoring systems, including the following considerations:

Cost savings. Traditional monitoring systems typically require the costly process of pulling wire through the facility. Some wireless architecture, including SensiNet’s, eliminates the need for this.

Ease of installation.
Some technology allows for quick and easy installation -- “SensiNet can typically be installed in a matter of days,” Larkin notes.

Smart sensors can be located virtually anywhere, allowing you to monitor locations that may have been too costly to monitor in the past. Some systems can also be easily re-configured and re-located as monitoring needs in the environment change.

Data connectivity. Some products integrate with many in-place software and/or HMI systems through the use of ModBus TCP, OPC, ODBC, web services or FTP/HTTP Post. SensiNet can also integrate with SensiNet Services, Larkin says, “an off-site, Internet-based monitoring and alarming system.”

Wireless sensor networks provide a data conduit to third-party monitoring systems through the many protocols supported. Collected data can then be used by these applications for real-time monitoring, trending, report generation, and alarm generation, protecting the network from outside factors.

And monitoring critical issues such as temperature, smoke, humidity, power and airflow can help minimize financial loss in the face of disaster and reduce the time required to restore operations, which are key to business continuity.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Erin Monda