In this article, you’ll learn why data centers and edge locations need an automated asset management system to help with asset visibility & management, inventory reporting, overburdened IT manpower, unplanned downtime, and power fluctuations. And even then, simply employing traditional DCIM solutions won’t solve all your problems—they have their own vulnerabilities. Asset vulnerability can appear from seemingly any direction—here’s how to protect your business’ critical IT assets.
IT assets are the foundation of modern business. Considering this, managing these assets is essential to your operations—an increasingly pressing problem.
Don’t let asset vulnerability interfere with operations. Any asset management solution worth its salt should minimally address the following five concerns. Let’s explore these risks further and how to solve them.
Challenge 1: Asset Visibility and Management
One of the biggest challenges is simply ensuring enough asset visibility. Data centers and edge facilities are dynamic environments. Equipment moves constantly. If you want to “see” and know the location of a critical asset with 99% accuracy, automated asset tracking is critical.
Server overhauls, decommissioning, and other changes can all disrupt manually-intensive traditional asset management practices. And whether intentionally or accidentally, employees can easily misplace expensive products, throwing audits into chaos. We hear the same use case from customers. They deployed a team to the floor to swap out servers or switches they thought were in one location and were not. Now the multi-day scramble begins to go find the missing equipment.
Considering all these opportunities for mismanagement, manual processes, poor documentation, and human error all pose a risk of hardware loss—along with the loss of sensitive data. Automated asset tracking with 99% accuracy and real-time reporting will eliminate this vulnerability.
Did you know? RF Code’s suite of automated asset management solutions includes active asset lifecycle tracking, environmental monitoring, and power monitoring. Active asset lifecycle tracking is the ability to get notified in real time when an asset arrives at the loading dock, storage room, commissioned, is moved from one location to another location within your facility through decomissioning all without wires and reliance on human interaction.
Challenge 2: Inventory Reporting
Data centers are dynamic places, with parts in motion all the time. Servers change location as new devices are installed, and old ones are removed. The pace is too fast and the size too large to track assets without an automated system. Manual inventory procedures just can’t give your procurement or finance teams the level of accuracy and accountability they want.
Conducting data center equipment inventory checks manually using passive technology like hand-held scanners and barcodes is a waste of time. The minute a unit is moved following an inventory spot check, the data that your DCIM relies on is irrelevant. Your DCIM will only report what you or your equipment tell it. Your inventory reports will more often than not be disconnected from the reality in the storage room, on the floor, or decommissioning room.
Inaccurate asset inventory data often time results in overprovisioning of equipment. We’ve heard this use case story too many times to count (pun intended). Servers and switches can cost organizations tens of thousands to low six figures to replace. The solution to eliminating this vulnerability is implementing an automated asset tracking solution that feeds your DCIM or BMS continuous and 99% accurate inventory levels regardless of where assets are located in the building.
For compliance and security purposes, automatic reporting is key. Manual reporting runs the risk of losing track of critical assets. With an automated system, as soon as a device moves—with or without authorization—you’ll know.
Challenge 3: Limited IT Manpower
IT labor is expensive, in short supply, and burdened with a laundry list of priorities. Data center operators are being asked to do more with less people. Each moment wasted investigating, searching, or collecting critical asset data through manual processes costs the organization time and money. The biggest vulnerability is the hidden cost of wasted or redirected time to manually solve problems that an automated asset management solution can do. Heads of finance often struggle to appreciate these soft costs because they are not presented with concrete
Not only do these wasted hours hurt a company’s bottom line, but they also take their toll on the prioritization of other projects. When data center IT personnel have to put an important project on hold to work to deal with an unexpected and unplanned asset management issue, critical and planned projects get delayed. In addition, morale in the data center or edge site can take a hit. This is a human resource vulnerability.
A completely automated management system can handle the tedious asset tracking, environmental monitoring, and power monitoring chores while feeding your DCIM with 99% accurate data in real time. Automation reduces the IT teams’ workload and frees them up to focus on priority planned projects.
Challenge 4: Unplanned Downtime
When servers go down without notice, it costs the organization time, money, and in some cases, customers. Unplanned downtime can strike from any source: human error, network or electrical problems, natural disasters, crimes, and more.
Automated environmental monitoring can help predict and prevent certain downtime events in your data centers or edge sites. For example, active environmental monitoring at the rack and server level alerts you to overheating equipment at the moment it is happening, so you can thwart the issue from escalating into something bigger and costlier. Real-time environmental monitoring on the data center floor makes it possible to anticipate and act before you enter crisis mode—instead of reacting after the fact.
Most data center outages cost over $100,000—and can even climb into the millions. In addition to the financial cost, there’s also a reputation hit. Installing active environmental monitoring sensors on servers to monitor and alert you to hotspots or servers that are overworking is a small price to pay if the goal is to maintain uptime and comply with Service Level Agreements.
For example, American Greetings uses RF Code environmental monitoring to track temperatures. They can monitor temperatures and humidity levels to ensure that servers don’t suffer damage—and save money with the reduction in unnecessary power usage!
Challenge 5: Power Usage Fluctuations
Real-time power monitoring is critical in today's ever-changing data center environments. RF Code's wire-free AC voltage, smart PDU connecting sensors, and CenterScape platform dramatically reduce TCO by eliminating the wires, IP address allocation, and network administration costs associated with power monitoring.
Uneven power supply tracking can damage pricey hardware. It also reduces the efficiency and capacity of rack allocations and works against environmental goals to reduce energy consumption and emissions. Data centers often track energy use with manually-collected asset data, but these outdated recordings are imprecise and threaten reliability by providing incorrect feedback.
The Solution: Continuous and Automated Asset Tracking
Data centers have relied on manual and passive tracking measures for too long; these outdated methods simply cannot account for the wide range of potential asset vulnerabilities one might encounter. Not to mention that from inaccurate data to human error, there are some things DCIM just can’t fix. So, what’s the solution?
Businesses need an active RFID solution to keep on top of their servers around the clock and address risks before they become a problem.
Did You Know? RF Code solves this dilemma with wire-free automatic tracking platform CenterScape. CenterScape provides IT managers with detailed environmental and asset-specific data, so you have eyes on your servers 24/7.
Active RFID readily replaces labor-intensive and error-prone methods such as bar code scanners and clipboards and offers many other benefits such as:
- Omitting periodic or inaccurate data
- Sending asset managers real-time, live reports
- Displaying accurate inventory and ambient data
- Simplifying maintenance for technicians
- Decreasing outages
- Providing managers with better accountability and planning information
- Extending the lifespans of hard drives, IoT devices, racks, and other equipment
RF Code’s wire-free, real-time asset tracking and environmental monitoring solutions contribute critical data to DCIM applications, ensuring the greatest possible business value.
The majority of the information DCIMs receive is entered manually or captured through point-in-time methods. We estimate that most IT asset inventories and rack-level temperature readings are only 80% accurate—meaning tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars are at risk!
Automating the collection of asset location and environmental data in real-time is key to solving for this conundrum. By eliminating as much manual entry or point-in-time data as possible, RF Code’s suite of data center solutions feeds DCIMs 99% accurate data in real time.
Businesses and governmental agencies are already using RF Code solutions to mitigate asset vulnerability and save money. For instance, IBM has partnered with RF Code to trim millions of dollars in operational costs. Instead of wasting money on ineffective asset tracking and lost equipment, the company now benefits from instantaneous global knowledge of IT assets and their conditions.
Innovate IT Asset Tracking With RF Code
In an increasingly dispersed and decentralized IT landscape, asset vulnerability poses an ever-greater challenge. Traditional manual or passive RFID solutions are inefficient or obsolete in modern contexts. The solution? It’s time to turn to more advanced active RFID asset tracking solutions, like CenterScape from RF Code.
Did you know? CenterScape offers existing integrations with some of the leading DCIM, ITSM, and BMS platforms. CenterScape will keep you informed on server locations and rack conditions, and can also integrate with proprietary DCIM platforms.
Unplanned downtime can harm customer experience and your bottom line—but smart IT asset tracking lets you plan for and prevent these problems. With environmental reports detailing unusual fluctuations in temperature and humidity, you get granular visibility at the rack or server level.
No other solution is as affordable, easy to use, and accurate. Automated asset tracking prevents vulnerabilities from becoming disasters. Are you ready to stop worrying about the next looming crisis? Let’s discuss your use or schedule a demo to see just how much time and money a complete and automated asset management solution like CenterScape can save your business.