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Leading Environmental Threats in the Data Center
1. High operating temperatures in plenum spaces; above the plenum and in front of racks on cold aisles; inside IT racks, especially if fully enclosed, affect assets. ASHRAE recommends between 18°-27 C° or 64° - 80° F for data center temperatures.
2. Humidity affects assets. Low humidity leads to electrostatic discharge (ESD), damaging electrical components. High humidity causes condensation. ASHRAE recommends between 40% - 55% for data center humidity.
3. Water or fluid can damage electronic systems and cabling.
4. The position of rack doors and room doors directly relates to air flow/cooling and access control.
5. Air Handler or CRAC Failure can jeopardize data centers. Not all have network monitoring and management capabilities, particularly older units.
Sensor Placement Best Practices
For cold and hot aisles, sensor quantity varies, depending on goals and budget. For closed racks with doors, place sensors on the inside of the door. For open racks without doors, convenience and secure mounting location matter most.
A good location for open racks is the left or right side of the rack, without interfering with the equipment "U" space. Mount sensors consistently from rack to rack, row to row. Place additional temperature sensors in plenum spaces as needed.
Door Position Sensors
Dry Contact Sensors
Shortcomings of Traditional Environmental Monitoring Solutions
The cost is of a wired solution is substantial. Assuming a typical appliance costs (all figures, USD) about $800.00 and each environmental sensor costs about $99.00, a 250 rack data center costs:
Aggregation appliances are scale-limited, with a finite number of ports for external sensors. Adding sensors requires more appliances. Expansion is restricted to appliance port availability.
Appliances consume valuable rack space and require power and Ethernet connections.
Lastly, the cost to deploy a wired monitoring solution is high. Assuming a rate of $100.00 per hour, 30 minutes to install an appliance and 15 minutes to install a wired sensor, costs for a 250 rack data center:
Advantages of Wire-free Environmental Monitoring Solutions
Not all wire-free sensor solutions are equal. They must have:
Wire-free sensor solutions typically feature one or more RF receivers in the data center, easily covering at least 2,000 square feet.
Placed on the IT rack, small sensors are simply "stuck" to the rack using adhesive. Deployment time is fast.
Wire-free solutions cost much less than wired ones: between $40.00 and $90.00. RF receivers cost between $1,000.00 and $1,300.00. The best wire-free solution RF receivers easily handle 2,000-4,000 sensors and cover thousands of square feet.
Assuming an RF receiver costs about $1,000.00 and each sensor costs about $79.00, costs for a 250 rack data center:
Wire-free means no consumption of valuable rack space: RF readers typically mount to the ceiling. There's a very high sensor-to-RF receiver ratio, enabling massive scalability.
New sensors are added without wiring connections and cabling restrictions.
More than one RF receiver can receive the RF broadcast from each sensor. Having multiple RF receivers with the same coverage zone eliminates the single point of failure of aggregation appliances.
Above all, wire-free is cheaper to deploy. Assuming a rate of $100.00/hour, 30 minutes to install a receiver and 5 minutes to install a sensor, estimates for a 250 rack data center:
Environmental Monitoring Software "Must Haves"
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