In today’s technology-driven environment, the world is reliant on the functionality and availability of data centers. Data centers enable enterprises to run their businesses online and have information storage. Data centers also connect people regardless of distance through emails, Skype and social networks such as Facebook and Instagram. With the increasing use of Cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive, there is a demand for data centers to be more efficient. It is undeniable that data centers play a critical role in today’s information technology (IT) infrastructure.
Because of the large amounts of information they store, data centers have a tremendous responsibility to not only deliver information reliably but to also keep that information protected from a multitude of threats, which these centers are continuously facing. The threats are not limited to hackers but also sabotage to the infrastructure through power supply and telecommunications. Enhanced security measures including competent IT security and controlled access are implemented. Redundant power supplies and data communications connections are installed to combat against sabotage threats.
Data centers also face constant pressure to avoid downtime. Downtime would affect daily business operations and sometimes result in the loss of revenue. To prevent this, data centers ensure that staff are well-trained and carry out maintenance periodically. A stable environment for computer systems is also important. The reliability of the computer system is dependent on the stability of the environment. Stringent controls over temperature, humidity and airflow are necessary to achieve optimal system performance and reliability. Data center environments are constantly monitored, and this includes ambient room monitoring.
Ambient room monitoring gives an overall assessment by measuring the ambient temperature and humidity throughout the facility. The typical ambient temperature ranges between 21 to 23°C which is optimal for system reliability and operator comfort. However, near 22°C is desirable to maintain a safe associated relative humidity level. Relative humidity is the amount of moisture in the air in relation to the maximum amount of moisture in the air at a given temperature. The typical ambient humidity level, between 45% and 50%, was found to be most suitable for safe server operations. Data center equipment is especially sensitive to high humidity levels as water condensation can occur and result in hardware corrosion. On the other hand, at low humidity levels, electrostatic discharge (ESD) is easily generated. ESD creates intermittent interference which can cause system damage or temporary malfunctions. It is also important for preventing cooling short cycles.
These short cycles happen when cold air returns to the air conditioner (A/C) without circulating through the equipment. This results in the A/C registering that the temperature is cooler than it really is and subsequently cycling out of cooling mode, when in actuality the facility still requires cooler air. Temperature and humidity sensors such as Hioki’s wireless temperature/humidity logger, Model LR8514, are usually installed at the potential hotspots (Figure 1) and near A/C units to detect malfunctions. This particular logger is applicable for the task because it is capable of measuring temperature and humidity simultaneously; moreover, its compact size allows for easy rack installation. The logger can be connected to any Android smartphone via Bluetooth to carry out real-time monitoring (Figure 2). The Hioki LR8514 has a large built-in memory of up to 500,000 data, which is suitable for long term monitoring. Furthermore, the collected data can be exported through Smartphones at ease (Figure 3), and can be plotted as graph (Figure 4) for immediate trending analysis.