Nearly every data center has some sort of environmental monitoring solution installed. Servers, as the lifeblood of any organization, must be monitored closely to avoid a catastrophic event. Yet, all too often, environmental monitoring solutions are incapable of detecting all of the adverse conditions that can destroy servers.
That's why, when selecting an environmental monitoring solution, it is critical to find one that can report a variety of conditions in real time.
Here are a few conditions that should be monitored by any solution you consider:
Temperature: The solution should be capable of monitoring the ambient temperature in the room as well as the temperature on the top, middle, and bottom of each server rack, around heavy machinery and at various hot spots throughout the facility.
While you might think that ambient temperature monitoring is enough, it is possible for specific equipment to be damaged even when the ambient temperature in the room is static.
Humidity and Dew Point: High humidity and sudden temperature drops can cause severe damage to servers and other IT equipment. Low humidity can also be detrimental. When humidity levels fall below 35 percent, high-voltage electrostatic discharges can occur and damage equipment.
Airflow: The majority of electricity consumed by equipment is converted into heat, which means that air conditioning units need to be running efficiently to prevent a meltdown. By monitoring airflow, data center managers can detect failing fans or units.
Water: An effective environmental monitoring solution should have the capability to alert a data center manager of the presence of water, whether related to a plumbing problem, a sprinkler malfunction, a roof leak, or some other problem. Real-time environmental monitoring tools will help you minimize or negate the impact of a water leak.
Power-Related Issues: Such incidents, which may include black-outs, brown-outs, power surges and breaker trips, can cripple a data center. That's why it is important to have the ability to monitor voltage and mitigate the effects of power issues.
Smoke: The presence of smoke not only causes direct damage to equipment; it can warn of something more disastrous, such as a fire or electrical issue. Even if there are smoke detectors or alarms in the building, what happens when no one is around to hear them? Connecting your alarms to a monitoring solution will alert administrators even after hours.
There are a variety of solutions that can help you monitor data center conditions through a secure Web interface and live video feeds, as well as notify managers of adverse conditions through text messages, emails or other alerts. Be sure to look for the best solution to meet your specific needs, but don't forget to consider a solution that can monitor the above referenced conditions.