Server Rack Monitoring System: What it is and Why it’s Important
The primary purpose of a server rack is to house and protect important equipment for your home or business. While the rack itself provides significant safety improvements, there are still risks involving heat, humidity, airflow, and much more. To help provide additional protection, many people use server monitoring systems.
What is a Server Rack Monitoring System?
Server rack monitoring systems are installed into a rack to survey the physical and electrical status of computing equipment. They automatically gather data about the local environment, and report it back through various monitoring and reporting platforms.
Depending on their configuration, server monitoring systems can resolve issues in a couple of ways: they either automatically make adjustments (using artificial intelligence in many cases) or report the issue to a technician who will manually intervene.
Why is it Important to Monitor My Server Racks?
Modern computing equipment is much more durable and long-lasting than it was years ago. Still, this equipment has limitations that need to be maintained. If conditions aren’t optimal, it will have a negative impact on the way the hardware runs.
Processors can get too hot to the point where they disfigure the chip and crash a system. Even if they’re running too cold, processors finish tasks slowly and become less effective.
Environmental issues that don’t immediately impact the hardware can still cause a reduction in the total lifespan of the equipment. A server operating in a rack that is just 10 degrees too warm won’t have any noticeable performance issues or go offline right away. The fans, however, will have to run at a higher level. This can cause them to burn out sooner than they would otherwise, which can be a costly repair in a large server room.
Types of Server Rack Monitoring Tools
There are quite a few different types of server rack monitoring tools that can be purchased. Finding the ones that you need starts with understanding all your options. The following are among the best options to consider:
- Temperature Sensors – Temperature is likely the most important issue that can cause immediate problems. Knowing the exact temperature of a server rack is critical in all situations. This is in addition to an overall data center temperature monitoring system.
- Humidity Sensors – Humidity can have a big impact on the longevity of computer equipment, and how it performs on a day to day basis. Monitoring it closely will allow precise adjustments to be made.
- Air Pressure Sensors – The airflow pressure in a server rack needs to be closely monitored to ensure the environment is kept at optimal levels. This saves time because technicians don’t have to check every fan inside a rack on a daily basis.
- Contact Sensors – Getting notifications whenever someone comes in contact with a server rack can help ensure it is safe. This can help to prevent theft or even alert people to accidental bumps that could cause damage.
- Rack Door Sensors – Having an alert go off whenever a rack door is opened is a good way to ensure no unauthorized work is being performed.
- Vibration Detectors – In areas where earthquakes can occur, these are very popular. They can also be used to determine if construction projects or other work are causing vibrations at levels that could damage equipment.
- Power Monitoring – Monitoring the electrical load of each server rack will help to identify equipment that is running at high-levels when it shouldn’t be. This could be a sign of a hardware issue or even an attack by hackers.
In many cases, it is possible to get one piece of equipment that performs multiple monitoring activities. This will allow you to accurately monitor the entire server from a single device.
How to Choose the Right Server Monitoring Tools
Choosing the right server rack monitoring tools for a given situation can be difficult. On one hand, it’s important to closely monitor everything to provide the right environment in which computer equipment can operate. On the other hand, there are financial constraints to consider like how server monitoring tools can take up room in a rack that could otherwise be used for IT equipment.
In general, it’s a good idea to make sure the expensive computer equipment in your server rack has all the necessary monitoring to keep it safe. Some items, such as security cameras, can be a part of the overall data center rather than each individual rack. Other sensors, such as temperature and humidity monitors, should exist throughout the server room as well as inside of the rack. Looking at what each server rack is housing and the overall environment will help to determine what is needed on a case by case basis. Finding the right balance is difficult but it’s a worthwhile investment.