Sentry enables IT teams (in-house or outsourced) to monitor unstaffed remote IT and edge locations from their desk.
Sentry is an all-in-one monitoring solution that enables IT teams to see what is happening inside remote IT rooms and edge spaces without needing to be there. Today, IT and data center teams are using RF Code products to monitor, track and protect millions of IT hardware assets globally.
That’s the quick pitch. It’s a reasonable introduction, but you need more to get a feeling for what anyone who has used Sentry experiences.
Spoiler alert - Sentry is not another server or network monitoring tool!
Read on to understand what Sentry is and how you can use it.
Sentry and modern distributed IT
More business-critical IT equipment than ever resides outside of data centers and is found inside manufacturing plants, retail stores, hospitals, bank branches, mines, power plants, water utilities and more.
Sentry was created because modern IT is more distributed than ever. Enterprises have more remote IT and edge locations than they can effectively monitor with the resources they have. Service Providers face the same challenge.
In the real world that means more surprise incidents or outages at distributed IT locations that have IT teams tied up in long investigation and resolution efforts with travel to the remote site hoping that luck is on their side.
Now multiply the problem by 10 sites, 100 sites or more and it’s a very disruptive and expensive problem. Hope is not a strategy and it won’t solve the problem.
Sentry is the necessary addition to the modern monitoring toolkit because it does something that network and server monitoring tools don’t – it monitors what’s happening inside rooms and spaces where distributed IT equipment operates.
By design Sentry does not perform server management or monitoring because there are plenty of tools that do that. Instead, Sentry monitors what is happening in rooms and spaces. It’s very good at detecting motion and monitoring temperature and humidity and providing meaningful early warning and real of what’s happening in the environment.
At scale, Sentry can help you monitor every distributed IT location centrally, without needing IT staff on site.
Sentry monitors motion, temperature, and humidity
Sentry combines live video, motion detection, ambient temperature sensor, thermal imager and humidity sensor in a single device. Customers place one or more Sentry devices in each room or space they want to monitor and choose wired or Wi-Fi connection.
Users can see the information from every Sentry device in one convenient place – Sentry Vision. Users access Sentry Vision from their web browser or from the available mobile app. From Sentry Vision users see in real time what is happening at each monitored location, including alerts and live video stream.
What you see in the image above is the convenience users experience from monitoring all distributed IT locations with Sentry. In this example five (5) locations are being monitored and you can see recent events for the two (2) locations, including motion, temperature, and humidity.
Motion detection with live video
Motion events exist because it’s not possible to watch live video 24/7 waiting for something to happen. Motion events conveniently notify users when something has happened, so IT teams are free to do other things when nothing is happening.
Users see motion events on a timeline, which makes it easy to quickly answer questions like, “was I expecting someone to be in the room today?”, or “what happened in the room leading up to and at the time of the incident?”. Users can instantly access a video of the motion event from anywhere.
IT teams understand the importance of event correlation, and with Sentry’s timeline IT teams can correlate motion, temperature and humidity events quickly and visually. For example, visual correlation can show you that after motion was detected in the room the temperature and humidity increased.
Temperature with thermal imaging
Maintaining ideal temperature is important for three reasons:
- To prevent temperature related damage and outages
- For sustainability
- For cost efficiency, aka to save money
Sentry monitors temperature in two ways - because monitoring room temperature alone is not enough. Room temperature monitoring provides macro temperature conditions and thermal imaging provides micro temperature conditions.
With 768 thermal monitoring points thermal imaging can alert users to problems that can’t be detected by monitoring room temperature only. The image below provides a good example.
In the screenshot above it is clear that the temperature around the IT equipment is not ideal, while the temperature is ok in other areas of the room. With this clear picture and early warning alerts, informed action can be taken to prevent the IT equipment from failing and to improve the cooling in the room.
Humidity is the invisible enemy of IT equipment. Sentry makes humidity visible so that IT teams can effectively manage humidity and be notified when humidity levels are outside the ideal range.
Because no two locations are the same Sentry provides flexibility with location based policies (also known as Policy Overrides). Users can set discrete humidity alert thresholds that are ideally matched to the needs and conditions of each location.
In addition to humidity, users can also override policies for Thermal Imager, Room Temperature and Motion to match the needs and environmental conditions of each location.
Customers say Sentry pays for itself in this way
Let me leave you with the surprising way customers tell us Sentry pays for itself.
Simply, customers use Sentry to avoid travel and to avoid sending technicians. With Sentry our customers like that they can get eyes on what is happening at the location without traveling there. Without spending a dime on travel or sending a technician.
Customers talk about using the live video stream to guide non-technical resources at a remote location through investigation and resolution tasks in real time. They tell us it is a far superior solution versus trying to use video chat on a mobile phone.
That’s why customers say Sentry pays for itself the first time they can avoid traveling to or sending a technician to a remote location. The cost of travel and specialist technicians far outweighs the cost of Sentry.
Visit the Sentry page on our website to learn more and try the self-guided demo.
I’m Brett Arnott and I head up product, engineering and strategy at RF Code (official title is VP of Product, Engineering and Strategy). I have been on both sides of IT - in-house and outsourced - and I know the pain of the hearing the words, "why didn't you know about it?".
Sentry is the pain reliever and let's you see things in distributed IT rooms before they become horribly painful surprises.
From time to time, I write about our products, our technology and our customers.