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Environmental Monitoring Reference Guide

By Robert Pavlokovic

Creating a safe and secure lights-out co-location or remote data center facility ensues by incorporating environmental monitoring devices to remotely detect and resolve unwarranted server room conditions.

Environmental monitoring products measure server room and/or rack enclosure surroundings such as area temperature, humidity levels, fluid detection, and real-time video.

Three environmental monitoring manufacturers represented by 42U include NetBotz, Server Technology and Avocent. Below is a brief guide for understanding products each manufacturer produces along with environmental factors each monitoring device measures and detects.

NetBotz

NetBotz environmental monitoring and early detection systems alert data center mangers and IT personnel of possible extreme environment conditions with mission-critical assets. NetBotz early detection products protect server room equipment from environmental factors such as severe heat or coldness, humidity, liquid detection, and sabotage.

The WallBotz 500 is the next-generation environmental monitoring appliance. Consisting of a pod-based architecture, NetBotz provides remote users with tremendous flexibility and expandability.

NetBotz Camera Pods and Sensor Pods can be located as far as 340 feet (104 m) from the base station, allowing coverage of multiple rooms or cabinets. The Camera Pod 120 boasts a surveillance-class camera and audio recording, with multiple resolutions up to 1280x1024 and frame rates as high as 30 fps. A microphone fabricated into the Camera Pod 120 records audio clips for association with picture clips. The base station itself can connect to an 802.11a/b/g LAN network by using a NetBotz wireless card.

Additional WallBotz 500 features and benefits include:

- SSL encryption is standard on the WallBotz 500, providing secure transmission of alerts to prevent potential misuse.

- Sensor Alerts, which now include sound clips and pictures, can be sent via E-mail, SNMP, Text Messaging, FTP, HTTP and Web Services.

Server Technology

Server Technology released the EMCU-1 datacenter environmental monitor as an accessory to the Power Tower XL remote reboot power controller. The intelligent EMCU-1 provides remote measurements for temperature, humidity, water flow and contact closures points for complete server rack control. Linking the EMCU-1 to a Power Tower XL is a required operating procedure since remote management is done through Global View web interface which initiates from the Power Tower XL IP entryway. Additionally, integration with existing Power Tower products does not require the EMCU-1 to have a dedicated IP address. Gaining remote IP management to the Global View web GUI is accomplished via 2 methods - HTML web interface or command line.

Lastly, notification of extreme or above level environment factors can be sent to administrative and IT staff through SNMP traps.

For projects that do not require Server Technology Power Tower remote reboot products, the stand alone environmental monitoring appliance, EMCU-IP, creates remote monitoring abilities without implementing Power Tower power management devices. The IP addressable EMCU-IP provides equal remote environment measurements as the EMCU-1, though; a Sentry Power Tower will not be needed as the initial remote access point.

Avocent

The Avocent EVR1500 remote monitoring appliance measures and notifies users of environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, airflow and audio to protect mission-critical data center equipment from harsh conditions. The Avocent EVR1500 includes 4 built-in environmental conditions with every Avocent EVR1500. In addition, eight external configurable analog sensors, six digital input sensors and two digital output sensors are supported on each Avocent EVR1500 for extensive environmental condition monitoring. Access over IP into the Avocent EVR1500 rack monitoring appliance is permitted though a web GUI or the DSView 3 software piece.

Leveraging existing Avocent enterprise solutions such as DSR KVM over IP switch, SPC remote reboot power strips, or CCM Serial Console Switches provides a complete data canter management package with the addition of an Avocent EVR1500. To accomplish a thorough closed operations center, the DSView 3 software program provides one centralized gateway point for users remotely managing the EVR1500 along with additional Avocent server room accessories.

About the Author:
Robert Pavlokovic is an expert in the KVM and Server Management Industry and is the technical writer for server and data center management topics. He also has a strong background in product testing and evaluation.

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