IoT based server room monitoring system

A server crash is capable of disrupting the entire data flow and hampering efficiency of various processes that rely on smooth data transfer for any organization that has a web presence. At the same time, server room monitoring can be a challenging task. With the help of IoT, however, the task becomes quite simple as IoT-enabled server room monitoring platforms provide you real-time alerts about ambient environment parameters such as temperature and humidity with the help of sensors.

IoT enabled server room monitoring systems help you closely monitor the ambient conditions in your server room to help you protect your critical server room assets from damage. Different types of ambient conditions such as temperature and humidity monitoring in server room, power surges, water leaks, flooding, fire and smoke, and chemical material leakages can be monitored with the help of carefully placed sensors in the different server room equipment. Thanks to IoT based server room monitoring systems, you can rest assured about the safety of your critical server room assets and uninterrupted data flows.

All these parameters are measured with the sensors and these sensors (or nodes) send data to the central unit (Gateway) and are connected over Low Power Wide Area Network. The Gateway acts as a bridge between the Wireless sensor Network  and cloud. The data of the sensors is stored over the cloud from where it can be seen on Web Dashboard or a Mobile application.

Different types of Server room environment monitoring:

  • Rack level monitoring
  • Ambient conditions monitoring
  • Water and flood monitoring
Server Room Monitoring

Server Rack level monitoring

According to a study by Gartner, the cost of a rack averages upwards of 70000 USD a year. Any damage caused to rack on account of ambient environment conditions can mean severe economic loss to the company due to unavailability of your online systems and consequent disruption in business. 

Simple monitoring of room level ambient conditions instead of rack level parameters can prove to be a costly mistake. As per an American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)  recommendation, at least 6 temperature sensors are needed for each rack to protect equipment. These should be placed at the top, middle & bottom, front and back of the rack. 

Server rack temperature monitoring is a vital task in keeping a server healthy. Rack temperatures may vary widely from the room temperature. When we monitor the room temperature only, an alarm will be raised by the sensors only when the air conditioning units fail to maintain the desired room level temperature. In such a situation the rack temperature may go up so high that it would be impossible to control it without inflicting permanent damage on the rack equipment.

Impact of temperature on your systems

Although advanced server systems have auto shutdown capabilities to guard against failures when temperature is too high, high temperatures are also known to cause processing errors by computing systems which may affect the performance output overall. Such errors might be unavoidable.

Besides, the excess heat also damages fan equipment, reducing its life. All this not only affects the availability of your online systems, but also hampers your business and credibility in the market. 

It is recommended to use wired sensors for small rooms. Large server rooms/data centers may require wireless sensors keeping in mind the cost concerns since the area that needs to be monitored is large. You’ll be needing significantly less number of IP addresses as about 30 temperature sensors can talk to 1 base unit. 

Ambient Conditions monitoring in Server Room

This involves monitoring of temperature, humidity and other parameters which are essential for the server to work efficiently in the room.

Ambient Temperature Monitoring

Temperature of the server room is an important parameter to consider to improve server room performance. IoT based temperature monitoring system warns IT administrators in case the room temperature shoots above a certain level. It’s a vital task to ensure that the performance of the equipment is not affected by extreme temperatures.

Ambient Humidity Monitoring

The importance of Humidity monitoring in server room. Almost all electronic parts, and even equipment as a whole, are designed to function within a particular humidity range.  High humidity ambient conditions can result in failure of disk drives, thereby leading to causing data loss and unavailability of the server system. On the other hand, low humidity conditions can cause electrostatic discharge, which can result in immediate and complete failure of electronic components.

Hence, it is again important to keep a watch on humidity levels in the server room for safety and high performance.

Motion Detection in Server room

Motion sensors are needed to restrict/keep a watch on entrance/exit to server rooms. It has been observed that many server rooms are left unattended after hours, or even during the day. By installing motion detectors,  IT administrators can stay aware and alert of all activity in the server room.

Smoke Detection in Server room

The installation of smoke detectors in the server room ensures that IT personnel are alerted regarding any fire events in the server room. This can ensure that remedial measures are taken at the earliest to prevent any damage to the server room and it’s equipment. 

Water and Flood monitoring

Though water leakage is less of a threat for server rooms, the building architecture these days with raised floors makes such server rooms quite vulnerable. 

Generally, two types of sensors for water leakage can be commonly found: spot and water snake cable based. Spot sensors work by triggering an alert when water touches the unit. Water rope or water snake cable sensors use a different mechanism of work. They make use of a conductive cable whereby contact at any point on the cable will trigger an alert. The second type is preferred over the first one because of its higher range and accuracy. 

In case the server room is on a raised floor,  one should prefer placing the sensor under the raised floor because water traverses to the lowest point.

Most IoT implementation requires FOTA update to upgrade IoT devices code wirelessly.

Sensor based server room monitoring using IoT is the future of server room maintenance and upkeep. PsiBorg prides itself on being a leading IoT Solutions company for server room monitoring and other sensor based IoT applications.

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