Many parameters are monitored in a data center. Environmental monitoring refers to observing and managing the physical environment of a data center, such as temperature, airflow and humidity. In order to maintain a cool environment for the IT equipment and servers to function in, the monitoring of these environmental conditions is vital.
As data centers have many mechanical and electrical systems there are multiple points of failure. Machines and equipment may overheat. Air conditioning systems may fail or malfunction. HVAC systems may also suffer from vent obstruction and other types of failure. Access control and security are other major concerns in data centers. Unauthorized rack access can lead to many problems affecting the entire business. UPS failure is another threat in the data center environment. Faulty electrical wires and power systems can lead to a fire.
When environmental problems happen in data centers, the business is prone to massive damage and costs. First, it will lead to downtime which consequently leads to lost revenue. The longer the downtime, the higher the lost revenue. Damaged equipment will also need fixing or replacement. The facility itself may also need repairs.
Advantages Of Environmental Monitoring
Incorporating environmental monitors provides data centers with many advantages. Although it can be expensive to install, it will reduce costs and prevent downtime.
Environmental monitoring maximizes the lifespan of your IT equipment. Since it helps you diagnose problems in the system or equipment itself. Environmental monitoring software allows you to control processes and workflow easily. Real-time data can be provided to keep you updated.
Finally, a facility with a good environmental monitoring system is an efficient one. Data centers like this are less prone to inefficiencies that lead to wasteful usage of resources.
Essential Factors in Environmental Monitoring
Datacenter environmental monitoring is vital to track the crucial areas in the facility. This is to maintain the right physical conditions in the data center. As well as ensure the optimal performance of all systems. Here are the essential elements you need to track in environmental monitoring.
- Access Control And Security
Unauthorized access is a serious concern in data center security. Human intrusion can bring as much damage as any other problem in a facility. It is essential to surround the facility with a reliable security system.
This factor is responsible for removing heat waste from the equipment. As well as making sure that the temperature is maintained at suitable levels. Airflow management is vital in reducing costs in data center centers. It is important to have an efficient cooling system so as not to waste resources.
This is as vital as temperature. Too much humidity can cause a buildup of condensation in equipment. Leading to corrosion and electrical faults. While too low humidity can affect the electrostatic charge in the equipment. Causing a threat to static electricity.
Electrical systems need thorough monitoring. Employing a UPS is not all solution to preventing power failures. It is important to watch out for the voltage that goes into the equipment. Electrical short circuits can happen when there is an unplanned power outage. Voltage sensors are essential in this aspect. Monitoring power consumption is also essential to the whole operation of data centers.
Like all facilities, smoke alarms and fire suppression systems are essential in data centers. When smoke is detected in a facility, a power shutdown may follow. Operators may not be able to see the emergency that is happening. An automatic fire suppression system is a big step in preventing major damages.
This is the vital factor in above all elements. Even the slightest temperature change can affect the entire operation. A data center facility needs to have the right temperature for all equipment. ASHRAE suggests that data centers should operate between 64°F to 81°F or from 18°C to 27°C. This is the tolerable temperature for such a delicate facility.
Leak accidents are a major threat to data centers. It can lead to serious damage to IT equipment. Water sensors should be employed in racks and cooling systems. This will also help in detecting high humidity in the facility.
Areas Of Consideration In Environmental Monitoring
The cooling system is a necessity in the data center. It maintains the right environment for the IT equipment. Cooling systems must be efficient to avoid wasting energy costs. Operators must also know the areas of the facility that need more cooling.
Furthermore, the CRAC unit is responsible for maintaining the temperature. As well as humidity and air distribution in the data center. It is important to know if the CRAC unit is functioning efficiently. Here are the certain areas in the facility that need crucial monitoring.
The air pressure sensors monitor the cold air under the floor. They indicate if there is enough cooling in this area. If the cold air is inadequate, remove any obstruction that affects the cold airflow. This leads to a low cold air supply.
Monitor rack temperatures. You can do this by placing a sensor at the rear and top parts of the rack. These areas have the highest temperatures. Hence, you need to track the airflow and exhaust temperature here. Monitor the airflow and intake temperature as well at the bottom of a rack. This area has the lowest temperature in the rack. If your facility has an aisle containment you can put environmental sensors in the aisles. This will allow you to track the cooling zone.
Of course, you must monitor the whole environment of a room. Look for hotspots around the area. Feel the temperature as well as the humidity of the room. You may place environmental sensors in high open areas. Where there is no direct heating or cooling source. This will help you get a neutral feel of the environment.
Tips For Environmental Monitoring
Here are a few more tips for your data center environmental monitoring.
- Incorporate a granular environmental monitor. Place environmental sensors in strategic locations. Do not just scatter them around the facility.
- Utilize environmental monitors with automatic alerts. Nowadays, many advanced technologies allow operators to manage systems anytime and anywhere. IoT edge is a good example of this one.
- Know the facility’s relative humidity. Humidity and temperature are pivotal in environmental monitoring. These are the primary indicators of your facility’s environmental condition.
- Do not forget access and security. Environmental monitoring does not just refer to cooling and power monitoring. But more so in securing your data center premises.
Like all facilities, data centers need to have a suitable environment to operate. Environmental monitoring is the key to making sure that suitable conditions are maintained. It is essential to ensure that all machines. As well as all systems and equipment are safe from physical threats. It is also essential for the safety of data center operators and employees.