5 Key Active RFID Use Cases for Your Data Center

Posted by David Haut
Active RFID is the most cost-effective and powerful method to track data center assets over time, enabling real-time audits and lifecycle management. This blog will explore five ways RF Code’s active RFID can automate and vastly improve your data center asset management outcomes.

Data center managers and technicians face increasing pressure to secure their infrastructure. At the same time, you need to keep costs down and maintain regulatory compliance. How can you juggle meeting all of these goals at once? Active RFID can help.

Active radio frequency identification (RFID) sends real-time information on IT assets, including environmental conditions and power use. This data will help you conduct automatic and accurate audits at a minute’s notice while also decreasing the cost of asset management—and potential risk.

Active RFID’s efficiency makes it a simple solution to address multiple operational challenges. You can instantly locate devices anywhere while continuously-updated dashboards and reporting provide detailed ambient insights. And should anything go awry, the system will alert you to unusual activity before it becomes a crisis.

Let’s explore five ways RF Code’s active RFID solution can help your data center.

servers using active rfid in a data center

1. Data Center Audits

Audits are necessary to understand your assets’ situation for financial and legal reasons. At the core, an important part of an audit is the process of ensuring that physical assets are where they should be. With error-prone and time-consuming methods like using spreadsheets or manual barcode scanners, you’re wasting resources that could be saved with automation.

RF Code’s active RFID reduces audit time and lost assets. As an example of just how much, consider the case of IBM.

IBM wanted to cut the costs of doing inventory for audits as well as the reconciliation time. By automating with RF Code, IBM managed to cut asset reconciliation time by 80% and time wasted searching for lost assets by 94%. They also eliminated extensive manual inventory costs and improved their asset accuracy from 71.7% to 99.7%.

The costs of these long, manual audits are just too much to bear these days—tally up the labor hours and it’s one of the big problems in asset management [[link to Data Center Asset Management: Key Strategies to Optimize Your DCIM [pillar]]. Manual data collection for an average facility can cost over $50,000, and when you add in reconciliation and related costs it can reach over $700,000.

On top of the wages, consider the inaccuracy of manual methods. These processes are not the most precise. They often fail to account for at least 15% of assets! As you likely know, these IT assets are expensive and can easily cost a data center operator millions of dollars if lost, damaged, or stolen.

Active RFID streamlines the audit process by automatically tracking assets in real-time. Instead of having to walk to each asset and manually find it, the asset’s tag instantaneously transmits its status. You can immediately see which assets are present, and demonstrate to the auditor on demand that you can precisely identify each asset’s physical location.

2. Asset Locatability

Having accurate and timely knowledge of your assets' location is operationally important. You've invested a lot in those assets, and knowing their location complements tracking their performance and safety. Better information on any of these measures reduces unnecessary expenditures. The quality of data you have on asset location, therefore, impacts your bottom line as much as monitoring assets' performance and environment.

Did you know? With RF Code active RFID for data centers, location sensors, rack locators, and dedicated readers eliminate even more tracking communication flaws by sending data directly to your DCIM.

RF Code active RFID ensures a single up-to-date source of truth for critical assets in your data center. This works for all of your servers, switches, and any other devices that you tag.

RF Code’s active RFID solutions work together to alert you when assets are in unexpected locations or offline. View each tag’s whereabouts in the CenterScape application, so you can easily verify that it matches the asset's physical location. And unlike alternative technologies, this technique works both on- and off-network.

Any location changes are noted within the CenterScape software. RF Code guarantees a minimum of 99% accuracy—so you’ll know that your assets are always where they should be.

Active RFID for asset management

3. Lifecycle Management

The more the economy continues to digitize and automate, the more our reliance on data will increase. In the data center, this translates into a need for data throughout the entire lifecycle of IT assets. It’s no longer enough just to track equipment while it’s in use.

Lifecycle management encompasses the entire chain of custody, documenting who touches a device at any time. It tracks where the device goes, from procurement through decommissioning. Any action involving the device is stored automatically, providing a higher level of accountability than just the asset’s ability to be located during use.

Did you know? RF Code active RFID differs from other products by delivering complete lifecycle management. With RF Code, you can detect location changes in real-time—from port to floor. No part of the lifecycle is out of reach. By contrast, regular active RFID only detects assets once they’re on the floor.

4. Environmental Monitoring

Environmental monitoring produces real-time data on your temperature, humidity, air pressure, and related measurements surrounding each asset with an RF Code RFID tag. As well as tracking live data feeds on ambient conditions, you can look at longer-term trends to diagnose budding problems.

Check-in on an asset and its immediate surroundings at any given time via a detailed CenterScape dashboard; RF Code will send out an alert if sensors detect any conditions outside of custom preset thresholds that data center stakeholders set. Forewarned is forearmed—an early notification can help prevent a temperature spike or a leak from ruining hardware, for example.

RF Code provides rack-level information on temperature and humidity. This is much more precise than manual error-prone systems, letting you pinpoint any servers that may have unusual temperatures threatening to shut down hardware or throttle performance.

Environmental monitoring has another important use besides protecting hardware: protecting the planet. Data centers can make substantial improvements to their sustainability. For example, by monitoring IT temperature you can run a facility with less cooling and still not worry about overheating equipment. Cooling is one of the main users of data center electricity, producing harmful emissions during generation. Each degree of cooling safely made unnecessary contributes to environmental efforts.

5. Dashboards and Reporting

Active RFID produces a vast and varied amount of actionable data, more than any manual process could generate. But at the same time, such an avalanche of data can quickly overwhelm your team if not organized helpfully.

With CenterScape from RF Code, you don’t even have to worry about information overload. The system automatically sorts data into straightforward, easy-to-read dashboards, addressing topics such as dwell time, storage time, location, ambient conditions, and more. Analytics with convenient data outputs simplifies the efficient maintenance of IT hardware.

Deploy Active RFID with RF Code

Active RFID from RF Code is the best active RFID solution designed specifically for superior data center outcomes. Close to 100% accurate and automated critical asset data can significantly improve workflows and confidence in your real-time decision-making. It can vastly improve the quality and accuracy of data that feeds your third-party or homegrown DCIM. In addition to superior asset visibility throughout the entire data center, sensor network expansion to include continuous environmental and power monitoring provide the same real-time asset conditions and alerts, empowering your entire data center operations to work more collaboratively to sustain the efficiency and longer lifecycle of critical physical assets.