Active RFID vs. RF Code Active RFID for Data Centers—There’s a Difference!

Posted by David Haut
Active radio frequency identification by RF Code is the industry-leading method to track and protect data center assets. Learn about RF Code active RFID, and how it differs from passive and active. Designed exclusively for data centers—unlike other active options—it’s made to meet your facility’s unique demands. Learn more here.

Data centers must keep track of their high-priced assets and often turn to active radio frequency identification (RFID) for this purpose. It’s been tested and proven by hundreds of best-in-class data centers and colocation facilities.

But did you know there’s a big difference between RF Code’s active RFID designed explicitly for data centers and colocation facilities and your more one-size-fits-all active RFID solutions?

Expensive servers and switches often move about unpredictably in data centers. Inadequate critical asset tracking can cost millions in wasted time and misplaced assets, and the loss of customer data on hard drives can subject your organization to significant penalties, damaged reputation, and lost jobs. Someone needs to be held accountable for losing or misplacing physical assets.

The technologies for asset tracking have come a long way in offering better protection against compliance and financial risks. While it baffles us that some data centers opt for manual collection of data using barcodes and spreadsheets, forward-thining data center operators have happily invested in active RFID.

Any RFID tracking works by transmitting information about your assets through radio waves, somewhat like music stations or WiFi adapters. However, the business value of these tools varies immensely since the devices have vastly different technical abilities. RF Code active RFID is the best-of-breed solution companies rely on to keep tabs on hardware and pass audits.

How Does Passive RFID Work?

Passive RFID is the simplest of the bunch, using a barcode or tag that receives and reflects signals—but it can’t send its signals. As such, it requires handheld scanners: employees walk around to each server or asset, scanning the individual tags.

a comparison of active rfid vs passive rfid

These cheaper tags may look attractive at face value, but they have minimal functionality that will prove inconvenient in the long run. You’ll spend more on labor than you would’ve had to do with manual procedures since passive RFID’s limited functionality can’t fully automate tasks.

How Does Active RFID Work?

Active RFID takes functionality a step further, emitting a signal directly from the tags themselves. They’re “active” in that they carry their batteries to send data; this contrasts with passive tags that instead depend on readers to do the work of transmission.

The battery makes it feasible for active RFID tags to connect over larger distances than passive RFID. Also, active tags can send out information at any time; passive tags need to be scanned each time you want to find the asset status.

By using active instead of passive RFID, data centers gain better visibility. You can see that servers and other devices you’ve bought remain where they should be—around the clock. This contributes to regulatory compliance since you can tell auditors the status of equipment without having to hunt it down and scan it manually.

The costs of manual data collection are much higher than most people think. Whether using passive RFID, barcodes, or a spreadsheet, the auditing process costs, on average, over $50,000 per year. When you add in the costs of lost assets, reconciliation, searching for misplaced equipment, and other processes, the total can balloon to approximately $700,000 per year.

RF Code Active RFID: What Makes it Different?

Active RFID by RF Code has all the advantages of an active solution—plus it’s designed specifically for data centers. As such RF Code has the only technology built to solve the problems encountered by data centers and co-location facilities.

Lifecycle Management

For example, RF Code’s solution includes lifecycle tracking—complete IT asset tracking from when you purchase the asset to when you dispose of it. The sensors are straightforward to install on servers, switches, storage devices, and other data center assets.

a woman using rfid to track new computers

Bearing in mind the metal doors and other signal disruptors commonly encountered in a data center, RF Code has made sensors that transmit at 433 MHz, to easily reach throughout your facility. All of your assets are covered—all the time.

Did you know? RF Code delivered an ROI for an enterprise data center customer in just 6 days through environmental monitoring.

Mobile Assets

RF Code also tracks mobile assets. When your company purchases mobile devices they can go anywhere. Real-time tracking tells you the location and status of each device; this way, you won’t lose items or need to conduct manual audits.

Environmental and Power Monitoring

RF Code doesn’t just track the location of your assets—it also tells you about ambient conditions, such as temperature, humidity, pressure, and power supply. You can connect this solution with video monitoring for security purposes. And the CenterScape software integrates with data center infrastructure management (DCIM) and other solutions, simplifying the management of your entire facility.

Tailored Data-Center Features

The active tags from RF Code will last for years, surviving alongside your IT assets. A server can tell you in real-time which rack it’s in—a unique advantage of this made-for-data-centers solution. And the readers can handle thousands of asset tags simultaneously, fit for even the largest facilities.

a data center using RF Code active RFID

No other system can compete with RF Code’s automatic and continuous IT tracking. No more over-provisioning—you’ll already know what you have in store. To achieve anything like what RF Code offers using other active RFID would require assembling parts from multiple vendors at great expense. Save yourself the trouble with a ready-made, streamlined solution.

Did you know? RF Code helped IBM save $42 million over five years with real-time asset management.

Upgrade to RF Code Active RFID

Active radio frequency identification by RF Code is the industry-leading method to track and protect data center assets. Designed exclusively for data centers—unlike other active options—it’s made to meet your facility’s unique demands.

With RF Code’s solutions, you can see the precise location and environmental conditions of all the networking equipment, servers, and other IT infrastructure in your data center, at the rack level. Dashboards and alerts will keep you on top of any situation before it becomes a problem.

You might think it’s prohibitive to deploy active RFID tech, but companies using RF Code active RFID see a return on investment within months due to the elimination of different types of hard costs relating to procurement, audits, and automation of manual processes. It simply costs less to know where your assets are at all times rather than wasting hours and hours conducting inventory reconciliation and misplacing and replacing expensive critical assets.

If your goal is to lower risks, slash over procurement, and improve asset utilization and operational efficiency in your data center, we’re here to explain how an active RFID-based asset management platform can help you do that quickly. There’s a reason why more than 50% of the Fortune 500 have turned to real-time and automated asset management. Let’s talk through your unique data center use cases and desired outcomes.