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Why Your Data Center Needs to Offer Asset Tracking

By: Blair Felter on February 5, 2019

Making the move to a data center can be a nerve-racking event for many organizations and IT departments. Even though colocating servers and other equipment takes the burden of maintaining physical infrastructure off their hands, those assets still represent a significant investment for an organization.

Fortunately, entrusting servers and other equipment with a colocation data center isn’t just a matter of handing over the company’s IT infrastructure and hoping for the best. Today’s data centers implement rigorous asset management policies to provide customers with up to the minute information about the location and condition of their equipment. If a colocation provider doesn’t offer state-of-the-art data center asset tracking, they may have difficulty providing additional optimization and deployment services based on that data.

Where Are My Servers?!?

The most obvious advantage of data center asset tracking, of course, is being able to determine the exact location of equipment at any given time. With RFID asset tracking, each piece of hardware is outfitted with a radio transmitter tag that delivers data to the data center’s business intelligence platform in real time. That means finding the location of any asset is a simple matter of pulling up on a program like vXchnge’s award-winning in\site software.

Every time those assets move, a notification can be sent to alert the customer of changes. This is beneficial for remote hands personnel because it allows them to track the location of key assets at all times and respond quickly to resolve any problems. By combining RFID asset tracking with a versatile business intelligence platform, data centers can also compare the performance history of hardware to its location history, which can help determine the optimal home for every piece of equipment based on power and cooling needs.

What’s Happening On the Data Floor?

But data center asset tracking isn’t just about determining where everything is located. Sophisticated RFID asset tracking sensors can transmit a variety of data. They can measure temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors, helping data center personnel maintain the ideal conditions for equipment. Equipping cabinet doors with RFID asset tracking tags can even send out notifications any time a cabinet is opened, further enhancing security and maintenance efficiency.

Active RFID solutions also reduce the need for ongoing data center asset management efforts. Rather than walking through the data floor to manually scan individual passive tags, technicians can spend more time analyzing the data generated by active tags and monitoring the overall status of the data floor.

Better Data Means Better Deployments

When combined with a business intelligence platform like vXchnge’s in\site, data center asset management enables technicians to deploy hardware more efficiently and with better results. In addition to determining the ideal location for new assets based on historical power and cooling usage trends, RFID asset tracking allows the data center to monitor every step of the installation process. If hardware is being installed in the wrong server cabinet, for instance, an alert will notify personnel immediately, saving valuable time and avoiding potential problems.

When assets need to be relocated or serviced, data center asset tracking ensures that the process is handled efficiently and effectively. With powerful business intelligence platforms keeping track of the process every step of the way, there is less chance of a mistake or an oversight that could create unexpected issues in the future.

Real-Time Security

Perhaps most importantly, RFID asset tracking makes it extremely difficult for someone to access equipment without authorization. If assets are removed from the data floor or if the tags themselves are removed, alerts will go out to both data center asset tracking systems and to the customers themselves. Since RFID asset tracking tags send out more than just location data, it is very difficult to tamper with equipment without provoking an alert of some kind.

While data center asset management may not provide assurances against cyberattacks, it provides a formidable layer of physical security. Combined with additional security measures like biometric scanners and logical security strategies like two-factor authentication, data center asset tracking can help provide the peace of mind that colocation customers deserve from their facility.

As sensor technology continues to improve, data center asset tracking will likely become even more robust in the years to come. For now, it provides colocation customers with a valuable window into the day-to-day operations of a facility and allows them to sleep well knowing their valuable IT assets are in good hands.

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