Blog – Server Room Monitoring : Key Considerations

When designing a server room monitoring solution there are a number of points to consider in order to ensure the system is cost-effective, reliable and provides the required functionality.

The key considerations include: Type of sensors, number of sensors, alerting methods, integration with other hardware/software, future expansion and installation.

Type of Sensors

What conditions are you looking to monitor? Is there a particular problem that you are looking to monitor (e.g. unpredictable cooling or potential risk of flooding) or is the requirement more general? A wide-range of sensors are available on the market today and bespoke sensor requirements can be accommodated by some manufacturers if unusual is required! Please see below the most popular sensor types:

• Temperature
• Humidity
• Extreme temperature (-200°C to +500°C)
• Water Leak
• Smoke
• Security
• Motion
• Power Failure
• Dry-Contact for connection to third-party hardware
• Current
• Voltage

Number of Sensors

The number of sensors required will depend on the size of the location, the type of sensor and the level of monitoring required. It is possible to implement an effective monitoring solution using a handful of sensors but additional sensors can provide a greater understanding of conditions and also allow users to pinpoint specific threats. For example, using multiple water leak detectors (and naming them appropriately in the web-browser interface) means that any leaks can be quickly identified and remedial action taken.

Alerting Methods

Whilst logging sensor data can be extremely useful for examining trends and audit purposes, the real power of a well designed monitoring solution is combining monitoring with reliable & effective alerting. Read our blog here about how to ensure you send effective server room alerts. Please see below the alerting options available:

  • Email
  • Audio Visual Alarm Beacon
  • Relay Output
  • SNMP Trap
  • SNMPset commands sent to existing systems
  • SMS text messages
  • Telephone Voice alerts
  • On-screen alerts
Integration with Existing Hardware and Software

In many server rooms there will be existing systems such as UPS, BMS, security and fire suppression systems. Monitoring solutions can integrate with these systems in a number of ways including SNMP, Modbus & dry-contact cables. This integration can be 'bi-directional' as well, with the monitoring solution acting as an input and/or output device. Please see below 2 examples:

As Input Device:

Connect the monitoring device to the ‘battery-low’ dry-contact output of an onsite UPS and receive alerts via the devices alerting mechanisms in the event of the UPS battery reaching a critical level during a power failure.

As Output Device:

Connect the monitoring device to an onsite BMS via Modbus. When a sensor connected to the device enters an alarm state the BMS can take action based upon this. One such example would be to turn off water pumps in the event of a water leak alarm. Switching to back-up fans for cooling when a power failure is detected is another example.

Many users will also choose to integrate their monitoring device(s) with existing monitoring software systems such as PRTG, Solarwinds, Mutiny, etc.  SNMP enabled devices make integration easy and templates are often available for many platforms to speed up the process.

Future Expansion

Your monitoring requirements may obviously change over time but by taking future plans into account during initial implementation it is possible to design a solution that can be cost-effectively expanded with the addition of expansion modules and sensors.

Installation

Monitoring solutions can be found in all shapes and sizes. If there is available rack space then a rack-mounted solution is potentially the neatest solution. However, if rack-space is at a premium or if there are no racks at all in the location, then a smaller unit that can be desktop or wall-mounted may be more suitable. It is also important to consider the availability of power for the device including the presence of a backup power source if necessary.


Jacarta's range of monitoring devices each provide users with a slightly different feature-set that make them suitable for various server room monitoring installations. We are committed to providing our customers with cost-effective solutions that meet their requirements and as such are always more than happy to provide a customised no-obligation solution proposal and quotation (please contact us to request yours).

To view Jacarta Monitoring Devices, please click here.

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