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The 7 FAQs About Using a Server Room Monitor

What is the estimated value of the equipment in your server room? Is that number in the thousands...maybe even the millions? Imagine all of that valuable equipment was damaged beyond repair. Imagine the frustrations and the headache of dealing with that aftermath. To top it all off imagine if most, if not all, of that damage was preventable.

One of the most important things you can do to protect your server room is to use effective monitoring. It is absolutely essential to have an alert system in place. That way you'll be notified when something isn't right and can dispatch a technician to fix the problem right away. Knowing what's happening in your server room is the difference between a system running smoothly and a severe outage resulting in lost revenue, giant repair and replacement bills, and angry customers taking their business elsewhere.

Server room monitor in action
The diagram above shows a TempDefender IT device that monitors the temperature of your server room, data center, or remote network site to guarantee maximum uptime.

Don't let a server room outage cripple your business. Check out these frequently asked questions about server room monitors:

  1. Is it important to monitor my server room? Why? Yes, because your equipment is too valuable to leave at risk. Your server room generates a lot of heat, so protecting your equipment from danger like overheating is critical to keeping your business running smoothly. Consider these two scenarios:
    • Scenario A: Without Server Room Monitor

      Your server room starts experiencing a steady rise in temperature because the cooling (HVAC) units stopped working properly. The rise is gradual, and goes completely unnoticed. After several hours of steady overheating, the servers begin shutting down. As a result, some equipment may suffer minor damages. Other equipment may not be so fortunate and may even suffer irreparable damages. These irreparable units will have to be replaced. You're now stuck with thousands of dollars in repairs and lost revenue because of this network outage.
    • Scenario B: With Server Room Monitor

      The cooling units for your server room shut down, causing the temperature to gradually rise. As the temperature begins to rise above normal, your server room monitor sends you a notification (via pager, email, and/or text message) alerting you of the threat. You carefully observe the temperature rising, and dispatch your technician to fix the problem. The technician successfully restores the cooling units, and the temperature then drops to normal levels. Crisis averted.

Don't fall victim to a preventable network crisis. Be proactive in monitoring your network's revenue generating equipment and prevent network downtime. Knowing and controlling the environment within and surrounding your server room are also key factors in maintaining your network's uptime. For a lot of companies, deploying a server room monitoring system that can prevent one instance of a server room shutdown will essentially pay for itself since it'll prevent having to repair or replace any equipment that has been damaged.

  1. What are the benefits of using a server room monitor?

    There are three main benefits to using server room monitoring technology:

    • Prevent expensive equipment damage. Money is hard to come by and budgets are usually tight. This is why it's important to budget for a server room monitoring system if you don't already have one or if you are looking to upgrade your existing one. When you budget for a server room monitoring system, you know the system will pay for itself when it prevents one instance of network downtime.
    • Avoid wasted labor efforts and costly repairs. By deploying a server room monitoring system, you are monitoring your server room 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You'll save time and money by eliminating costly routine checks and windshield time. With a server room monitoring system, you'll only go to your server room when you're notified by a remote telemetry unit (RTU) or Alarm Master Station (T/Mon).
    • Keep customers happy by allowing smooth service. Disgruntled customers that experience slower than normal or outages in service may take their business elsewhere. Along with that, your company's reputation may be on the line. Any customer that leaves a service providing company will usually have something to say. And a majority of the time, that "something" isn't the greatest news which may prevent other potential customers from seeking your company's network services. In a worse case scenario, more customers may decide to leave your company because of this news!

Using an effective server room monitor prevents your business from facing these problems. You'll immediately be notified of the problem via text, email, and/or pager. These notifications come with a detailed message that will tell you what the problem is (HVAC failure), the severity of the problem (if you're using an analog sensor), where it's at, and what time it occurred. This will allow you to dispatch your technicians right away to fix the problem before it gets any worse.

  1. What type of sensors should I look for?

Discrete Sensors (Binary Conditions)

There are two types of sensors you're likely to come across. First are discrete sensors, which are binary sensors - they specify "on/off" conditions. These sensors are effective for notifying you that a problem exists, but provide no details about the severity of a problem. Discrete sensors are great for determining if a server room loses power, but not as effective for measuring the precise temperature of a server room.

For example, say you want to detect the presence of water in your server room. You place a discrete water sensor on the floor. When the floor is wet, the water sensor will report to your RTU. Your RTU will then notify you via text, email, and/or pager saying it has detected water in your server room. You've been informed of the presence of water in your server room, but you have no idea of knowing how much water there is. Now you're left wondering if there's an inch or foot (or more) water flooding your server room!

Analog Sensors (Precise Readings)

That's where the power of analog sensors comes in. Analog sensors are able to provide continuous output for what's happening in your server room. A good analog sensor (accurate within 1 degree) can provide you with precise readings of your server room. So you're never in the dark about the exact status of your server room.

For example, you deploy an analog temperature sensor in your server room to monitor (you guessed it!) the temperature. You can pre-configure the temperature sensor with 4 thresholds (Major Lo, Lo, Hi, and Major Hi) to report to your RTU the severity of the temperature in your server room. Meanwhile, your temperature sensor will continue to send you readings of the temperature to your RTU which can be accessed and viewed on the web interface. If the readings fall within the Lo or Hi thresholds, you may be a little concerned and may want to keep paying attention to the rate of temperature. If the readings happen to reach the Major Lo or Major Hi thresholds, you know you need to dispatch a technician as soon as possible to fix the problem.

  1. Is a monitoring system good enough if it features one notification method?

One notification method just doesn't cut it. You need versatility - because you should never be out of the loop when it comes to your server room. Your server room monitor should provide you with at least two types of notifications. With multiple notification methods, you're always on top of what's happening in your server room.

Most notification methods are via text, email, and pager. Other notification methods include voice and VoIP.

If you limit yourself to one notification method, you may be putting your server room in danger. For example, you only want to be notified by your pager. What will happen if you forgot your pager one day? What if on that same day, your server room happens to overheat? Since you limited yourself to one notification method, you'll have no way of knowing that your server room is overheating and is on the verge of a thermal shutdown until it's too late. You'll know of the overheating problem when you have access to your pager again or when you show up to your server room. This is the same as putting all of your eggs in one basket and losing everything when it's tipped over.

With two or more notification methods, you'll have a backup in case the other methods fail. Say you wanted to be notified via pager, email, and text message (SMS). If you forget your pager, but have access to email you can still receive your notifications via email. If you have no internet access, but have a cellphone you can receive your notifications via text message. Avoid the problem of putting all of your eggs into one basket by not limiting yourself to one notification method.

  1. For a truly effective monitoring system it needs to be very complex, right?

Wrong! Monitoring your server room shouldn't be a hassle - and it certainly shouldn't give you headaches just trying to set up your alarms. Your server room monitor should have a user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI). You don't have the time to waste on training employees on complicated interfaces, and you certainly don't have the resources to deal with confused employees trying to figure out needlessly complicated alarms. There's no excuse for anything more than easy-to-use software and setup. Avoid the headaches and frustrations.

  1. What should I expect with tech support?

You should expect a lot! When it comes to your valuable technology, you shouldn't settle for anything less than 7x24 tech support. Anything affecting your server room monitor can happen in an instant (e.g., natural disasters). Your server room monitor should come with tech support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week because you never know when you'll need support operating your monitoring system.

  1. Where can I get a server room monitor that is truly effective?

You're a professional and you only use the best of the best, that's why I recommend you take a look at the TempDefender IT. This device is compact, easily mounted, and supports the key features of an effective server room monitor. The TempDefender IT is housed in an industrial-grade metal chassis - so you know it'll stand up to the challenges of your server room.

The TempDefender IT
"Your server room guardian...the TempDefender IT"

TempDefender IT: Designed to protect your equipment rooms from unseen threats...

Are you ready to experience just how easy your job can be with the TempDefender IT? Just imagine the peace of mind you'll have every single day knowing that nothing will happen in your server room without you being the first to know. It's a good feeling - one you simply can't afford to not have.

Give the server room monitoring experts at DPS Telecom a call at 1-800-693-0351 or email them at sales@dpstele.com. They can help you with any questions or concerns you may have. If you're concerned with prices for budgetary purposes, they'll even provide you with a free quote. They can also provide you with a free Return-on-Investment (ROI) analysis so you can see exactly how much money you can save with the right server room monitor.

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