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Environmental Monitoring Practices and Potential Problems

by Stuart Berry October 22, 2018

Monitoring Environmental ThreatsLast time, we discussed how temperature, humidity, and other factors can have an effect on data centers, telecom switching sites, and other POP sites. Here, we are going to look at some common vulnerabilities in general monitoring practices.

Usually, three groups of people monitor environmental threats to data center and switching site equipment: network administrators or operations managers, security personnel, and maintenance employees. Network administrators will be there to protect the equipment. Often, particularly in a small or mid-sized business, monitoring of equipment may be performed by staff onsite or visiting equipment in remote locations. However, by doing this, they may be putting critical business operations at risk.

Damage caused by the environment can often go unnoticed or incorrectly blamed on other causes. Condensation, rust, and heat damage is usually hidden inside machines, out of human sight.

The frequency and quality of a site check will inevitably vary. Even if procedures and schedules are in place, adherence to those procedures and schedules may not always be maintained.

Environment threats may occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But staff are not always in the equipment room, especially on nights and weekends. Depending on staffing levels and schedules, environments can be unmonitored up to seventy percent of the time during an average week.

Without a log of changing conditions, (temperature and humidity levels constantly increase and decrease), managers cannot identify problems caused by these changes. These problems can continue for days or months, while time and money is wasted investigating false causes and solutions.

As soon as you have people checking on equipment or performing maintenance, you can produce further problems where they hadn’t existed. An individual may adjust the air conditioning or heat and forgets to reset when they leave. Or moved or bumped equipment, or other objects, changes airflow and causes hotspots.

An effective server environment monitoring system addresses the weaknesses in the current practice of having personnel monitor the environment. What is an effective solution? This will be the subject of our next post.

Stuart Berry
Stuart Berry


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