Struggling with server closet monitoring? Don't worry, you're not alone! Many MSPs face challenges like temperature spikes, human error, and blind spots that can lead to costly downtime. But fear not, solutions are here! Introducing Sentry by RF Code, your all-in-one fix for these common obstacles.

Server closet spaces have unique monitoring needs. Site personnel must carefully control these environments to ensure temperatures and humidity levels remain within safe ranges. Security and access management also both a serious monitoring concern.

Despite well-developed knowledge of best practices, many managed service providers (MSPs) still struggle with unexpected and time-consuming challenges that are avoidable. This addresses common obstacles to effective server closet monitoring—and submits cost-effective solutions to overcome them.

Challenge 1: Temperature Spikes

Temperature spikes occur when confined server closet spaces experience sudden heat surges. They’re typically caused by inadequate cooling or ventilation at the room or rack level, HVAC system failures, electrical circuit overloads, and external factors like extreme heat or human error like leaving doors or windows open.

MSPs commonly experience outages resulting from heat-related issues; these problems can also result in equipment damages and failures, data loss, and costly system downtime. The cost of one server could be thousands to several thousands. Interviews with MSPs suggests these issues routinely follow from a combination of inadequate server room monitoring practices, lack of visibility or alerts in these rooms, logistical challenges, and human error.

Modern IT room and server monitoring technologies offer real-time visibility and alerts to prevent or mitigate physical equipment issues. Advanced IT room monitoring solutions offer Thermal imaging capabilities that provides real-time heatmaps of the room and down to the server level. They can automatically detect and alert MSPs on hotspots, heat surges and other sudden or unexpected temperature changes in the room.

Challenge 2: Human Error

The human element plays a major role in server closet monitoring. These IT rooms are often not secure due to the multi-purpose nature of these rooms that also function as storage or utility closests. Non-technical personnel have access to these rooms placing boxes or equipment adjacent to the rack, bringing food and beverages into these rooms, leaving doors ajar, or manually changing the thermometer in these rooms. Some mistakenly kick or disconnect cords and wires. Mistakes happen, but the MSPs only find out after equipment fail. The time to diagnose and fix the issue could further disrupt the business or increase costs. All avoidable if the MSP has the ability to see what is going on in these IT rooms and receive in-depth real-time alerts.

At RF Code, we’ve received a wide range of operational horror stories from MSPs. Consider, for example, how the CTO of one medical services support company told us about human personnel who were tasked with manually monitoring more than 300 server rooms. Given that high volume, it’s no surprise that the facility has experienced widespread outages due to both heat-related issues and human error.

Clients managing much smaller operations have still reported outages related to human error. MSPs monitoring as few as one to three server rooms have experienced service interruptions related to staff oversights.

Many aspects of server room operation and IT asset monitoring depend on the human element. Errors can arise from failure to follow proper procedures, accidents, and security breaches, network misuse or overload, and neglecting the site’s environmental factors.

Remote thermal imaging tools offer potent adjuncts to human monitoring. These technologies reduce the risk of error and make it easier for site personnel to detect and address oversights before they lead to costly downtime.

Challenge 3: Blind Spots

In server closet monitoring lingo, “blind spots” refer to unknown, overlooked, misunderstood, or under-monitored elements that can lead to risks, inefficiencies, and vulnerabilities. Some common examples relate to:

  • Power Monitoring. Inadequate monitoring of power consumption, distribution, and backup systems can result in power outages or failures, impacting server operational quality and longevity.
  • Network Monitoring. Insufficient monitoring of network traffic, performance, and security can make it difficult to detect and respond to issues such as bottlenecks, anomalies, or security breaches in a timely manner.
  • Environmental Monitoring. Neglecting to monitor environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, and airflow can lead to overheating, equipment failure, and service interruptions.
  • Asset Tracking. Failing to maintain accurate and up-to-date records of hardware and software assets, including their configurations, licenses, and warranties, can hinder troubleshooting, capacity planning, and resource optimization efforts.

Compliance and regulatory factors can also lead to blind spots, especially as relevant regulations and best practices change.

When personnel cannot actively diagnose or understand issues occurring in server rooms, they often cannot determine whether the problem can be corrected remotely or whether it requires an expensive site visit (truck roll). Truck rolls that aren’t actually necessary cost a lot of money. Those costs lead to financial inefficiencies that eat away at site profitability.

We’ve documented many instances in which unnecessary site visits led to soaring costs for MSPs. In one case, a tech services manager at an outsourced IT support company agreed to a customer’s request for a site visit. Upon investigating, personnel determined that the problem could have been corrected remotely. Another MSP described similar experiences but with multiple truck rolls.

Between fuel, insurance, vehicle mileage, and the hourly wages of deployed personnel, truck roll costs add up quickly. Upgrading closet server rack monitoring strategies and making a simple investment in effective remote monitoring tools can dramatically reduce truck roll frequency and eliminate many of the excess costs.

So What’s the Solution? Sentry by RF Code

Sentry, RF Code’s remote server closet monitoring tool, checks all the boxes for MSPs looking for a fix for these problems. It’s affordable, user-friendly, and easy to install; it also provides powerful and precise monitoring capabilities down to the rack level, empowering personnel to monitor environmental conditions, network performance, and site security from centralized, remote locations.

RF Code’s Sentry system monitors temperatures and server room conditions with pinpoint precision. MSPs can monitor temperature changes in real time, receive instant alerts if conditions change, and take immediate corrective action. This proactive approach, rather than only finding out about temperature spikes after the infrastructure is rendered immobilized, can functionally eliminate temperature-related downtime and hardware incapacitation.

On a related note, it the pinpoint remote viewing capabilities also help curtail the human error component and uncover blind spots. Your team, no matter how good they are, cannot physically be everywhere at once. But with Sentry, they can have eyes everywhere, at least.

“The RF Code device [Sentry] has been a great asset for us as an MSP because it enables us to do more with less people. And it enables us to maybe worry less about these kinds of things because of the dependability of the device.” — Jim Burke, COO at Links Technology

Human error often results from personnel being overworked or spread too thin. RF Code’s extensive monitoring and tracking capabilities help MSPs shine light on blind spots and eliminate inhibitors to peak performance. Now, human staff can spend their time on more productive tasks, instead of on physical site monitoring that can’t even cover every corner anyway.

See What RF Code’s Sentry Can Do for You

Sentry helps MSPs achieve higher customer satisfaction rates and build client confidence in their services. The automated, centralized, plug-and-play technology supports increased profitability by cutting down on unnecessary truck rolls and making more efficient use of human resources. MSPs can also promote their use of Sentry’s advanced remote server closet monitoring capabilities to build competitive advantages by attracting a larger and broader client base.

To learn more about RF Code’s remote IT room monitoring solutions, please register for a self-serve Sentry demo or arrange a live demo.