When designing a server room monitoring solution, it is important to make sure the system is cost-effective, reliable, and provides the required functionality. There are a number of specific points that need to be considered carefully . These include:
- Types of sensors required
- Number of sensors required
- Alerting methods required
- Integration with existing hardware & software
- Future expansion
- Installation challenges
Types of Sensors
What conditions are you looking to monitor? Is there a particular problem that you are looking to monitor (e.g. unpredictable cooling or potential risk of flooding), or is the requirement more general? These are the questions that ESIS will help you find an answer to when you ask us about server room monitoring. A wide range of sensors are available on the market today, and bespoke sensor requirements can be accommodated if unusual is required. Following are the most popular sensor types when it comes to server room monitoring:
- Extreme temperature (-200°C to +500°C)
- Water Leak
- Power Failure
- Dry-Contact for connection to third-party hardware
- Air flow
Number of Sensors
The number of sensors required will depend on the size of the premises, the types of sensors, and the level of monitoring required. It is possible to implement an effective monitoring solution using only a handful of sensors, but additional sensors can provide a much better understanding of conditions, and also allow users to pinpoint specific threats. For example, using multiple water leak detectors (and naming them appropriately in the web-browser interface) means that any leaks can be quickly identified and remedial action is easily taken.
Whilst logging sensor data can be extremely useful for examining trends and audit purposes, the real power of a well-designed monitoring solution is combining monitoring with reliable & effective alerting. Read our blog here about how to ensure you send effective server room alerts. Consider using these alerting options:
- Audio Visual Alarm Beacon
- Relay Output (connect to an external system such as BMS)
- SNMP Trap
- SNMPset commands sent to existing systems
- SMS text messages
- Telephone Voice alerts
- On-screen alerts
Integration with Existing Hardware and Software
In many server rooms, there will be existing systems such as UPS, BMS, security, and fire suppression systems. Monitoring solutions can integrate with these systems in a number of ways including SNMP, Modbus & dry-contact cables. This integration can be ‘bi-directional’ as well, with the monitoring solution acting as an input and/or output device. Please see below 2 examples:
As Input Device:
Connect the monitoring device to the ‘battery-low’ dry-contact output of an onsite UPS and receive alerts via the devices alerting mechanisms in the event of the UPS battery reaching a critical level during a power failure.
As Output Device:
Connect the monitoring device to an onsite BMS via Modbus. When a sensor connected to the device enters an alarm state the BMS can take action based upon this. One such example would be to turn off water pumps in the event of a water leak alarm. Switching to back-up fans for cooling when a power failure is detected is another example.
Many users will also choose to integrate their monitoring device(s) with existing monitoring software systems such as PRTG, Solarwinds, Mutiny, etc. SNMP enabled devices make integration easy and templates are often available for many platforms to speed up the process.
Your monitoring requirements may obviously change over time, but by choosing expandable systems to allow for future upgrades during initial implementation, it is possible to design a solution that can be cost-effectively expanded with the addition of expansion modules and sensors.
Server Room Monitoring solutions can be found in all shapes and sizes. If there is available rack space then a rack-mounted solution is potentially the neatest solution. However, if rack-space is at a premium or if there are no racks at all in the location, then a smaller unit that can be desktop or wall-mounted may be more suitable. It is also important to consider the availability of power for the device including the presence of a backup power source if necessary. Finally the device will need some form of communications, such as wired internet connectivity or 4G cellular, to make sure it can send alarms out and be accessed remotely for routine monitoring.
ESIS specializes in data logging and server room monitoring systems, and is the leading supplier of industrial electronic equipment in the Australian market since 1971. Choose from our wide range of products to best suit your requirements.
Contact us right away to discuss your needs.
Article Courtesy of Jacarta.