Environmental Monitoring - A Storage Essential Page 2


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Keeping Cool

So, how can environmental monitoring help protect physical storage assets? Taking Balsamello's example, the smoke detector would not only have set off the sprinkler system, but also could have executed a script to automatically shut down the equipment in the event of a fire.

As another example, you could place one right next to your Symmetrix DMX 3000 to make sure that the air flow is going right where it is needed to cool down those 576 hot disk drives holding 84 terabytes of your mission-critical information. The same device could ensure that the air flow is neither too moist (corrosion) nor too dry (static electricity problems).

In Halter's case, after considering the probes from both NetBotz and AKCP, he bought a dozen AKCP SensorProbe2 units from top U.S. environmental sensor distributor Javica (Sanford, Maine) — four for each of FMS's three data centers — since they were simpler to install and more compact. Initially, he just got them to monitor the temperature, but later added humidity monitoring.

He placed the devices in the locations most likely to be hot spots so he could monitor for any problems. He's also now using them for ensuring better cooling in the design of a new server room.

"Since we can measure the temperature as we move things around, we have been able to correctly place the racks and space them properly," he explains.

Rather than managing the probes separately, he ties them into his existing Hewlett-Packard OpenView for Operations (OVO) software. He configured it for two temperature thresholds. Crossing the first results in an e-mail warning, while the staff is paged by the software to alert them to take immediate action when the second threshold is exceeded.

"The system lets us know when the air cooling performance starts deteriorating so we can take proactive steps to correct it," says Halter. "It's better than waiting for a fan to fail before doing something about it."

That financial firm with the flooded server could tell you just how much better it is.

Feature courtesy of Enterprise IT Planet.

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