Environmental Monitoring

Today's data centers and server rooms are complex and handle an immense workload.  Anything that happens within them is more than likely to affect the whole organization.  As long as things appear to run smoothly (the network is up and bandwidth is not taxed, the servers are accessible and users are not complaining), all is good and seems to be under control.  But do you really know what's going on above your ceiling tiles, under the raised floor or within the rack?

Environmental conditions are, according to research, the biggest threat for the operational status of data centres: 23% of data centers experienced downtime more than 5 times in the last 12 months as a result of IT environment issues and of the remaining, 61% experienced downtime 1-4 times due to the same factor.  Downtime due to environment conditions is estimated to cost $50-$100 billion each year in total; this cost includes replacement of damaged hardware, data loss and costs to restore or recreate it, loss of sales and services, loss of man-hours, etc.

In addition to the above facts and figures and as indicated by Forester Research, a re-action to any incident is not effective as it costs too much downtime (with all consequences).  Insurance and recovery plans (both of which should of course exist) are just band-aids after a disaster and never cover all of the extended cost.  So a pro-active, automated, approach is required.  This opinion is even emphasized by certain facts such as:

  • If cooling is lost, temperature will rise from 20oC (ideal IT environment temperature) to 30oC (threshold at which equipment starts to get damaged and MTBF, mean time between failures, gets lower) in about 8.6 minutes
  • For every 7.5oC rise in temperature above 20oC, servers lose about 50% of their reliability
  • The average data centre has 72% of its cooling capacity entirely bypassing computer equipment
  • Human error and omissions remain the #1 threat to data center uptime and availability, primarily because humans react slower and with significantly less consistency than computers; thus you cannot rely on humans to monitor environment and re-act on abnormalities
  • Failule of a primary or backup air conditioner is the #1 cause of overheating and environment caused downtime.

Despite of all the above, environmental monitoring remains the most overlooked issue in data centers and servers rooms. But that until a disaster strikes for the first time.  A disaster has the name of the IT manager written all over it (for not taking precautionary measures) so after it hits for the first time, environmental monitoring becomes a top priority for IT managers.

There are 5 simple steps to prevent a disaster caused by envrionment conditions:
  1. Installation of monitors for immediate detection
  2. Automated alerting to responsible IT staff
  3. Automatic shutdown and action procedures
  4. Fast and appropriate response by staff
  5. Review, analyze and plan future prevention.

Simplex offers the world leading products of AVTECH in the Cyprus market. AVTECH products include environment monitors (RoomAlert) and sensors as well as software which provides logging of monitors and sensors and SNMP monitoring of servers, network devices, services, web pages and many more. AVTECH products are used by the White House, the U.S. Pentagon, the United Nations, NASA, most branches of the U.S. government and over 80% of the Fortune 1000 of the New York stock exchange companies.

AVTECH offers several RoomAlert monitors all of which are powerful, scalable and extendible through the addition of extra sensors.  They are all UL, FCC and CE certified, easy to install and use, reliable and available in rack, wall or ceiling mount models.  The wide range of available products ensures that there is a right model for your data centre, no matter how small or big is.

So what will you do when disaster strikes? Quit, run, panic, cope or rejoice. We feel confident that after reading all the above you will not ever have to answer the question; you will simply contact Simplex now.