Just the Facts Part 2: Data Center Environmental Monitoring Defined

RJ Tee
December 10, 2018

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In our previous post on intelligent PDUs, we dedicated a blog to defining what it means to be an intelligent PDU.  In this blog, we will discuss one of the characteristics of intelligent PDUs in more detail: data center environmental monitoring.

Intelligent PDUs provide the support network that gives more rack-based data.  In addition to power quality or capacity data, intelligent PDUs can be outfitted with data center environment sensors that collect additional information required for the management of the data center.  Besides power, feedback on the operation of the cooling system is of utmost importance, but so is the physical security of the rack itself.

The original data center environmental monitoring systems were standalone devices that provided simple reporting over a telephone line.  They were able to provide alerts if the room was over a set temperature threshold, or if there was water present under the floor.  These first systems were improved over time to support additional monitoring points, and to include feedback on more environmental and security parameters. 

When intelligent PDUs brought power monitoring to the rack, it provided an opportunity to consolidate other rack-based monitoring and control functions.  That was quickly followed by the additional capability of providing sensors to collect different data points, including:

1)  Temperature and humidity

2)  Airflow

3)  Leak detection

4)  Door intrusion and security

5)  CCTV

6)  Smoke

7)  Vibration

After information from data center environmental monitoring sensors is collected by an intelligent PDU, it can be accessed through the rack PDU’s monitoring system.  The data can be aggregated and used within the intelligent PDU software, or passed along to a DCIM or other building automation system.  Rack-based environmental monitoring typically offers the following:

1)  Consolidated environmental and power system monitoring

2)  Rack-based aggregation of multiple data center environment sensors

3)  Improved operational efficiency of the data center cooling system

4)  Predictive trending of environmental data

5)  Alerting of security or environmental issues on a rack by rack basis

Adding more sensors and monitoring capability to an already intelligent PDU gives you more visibility into your racks.  Armed with knowledge about environmental conditions, your intelligent PDU can help you become more proactive in maintaining not just loads and power, but temperature, humidity and security.

Servertech Cx and Data Center Standardization