As Frost & Sullivan reported recently, a number of factors are driving the need for better IT asset tracking in the data center. These include government regulations, corporate accountability, compliance mandates, security provisions and even green data center mandates.  One approach to better asset visibility and tracking is RFID.  According to the Frost & Sullivan Senior Research Analyst and report author Nandini Bhattacharya, “RFID can save costs by not only eliminating duplication, but also by preventing theft and loss through real-time tracking."

And the savings are hardly limited to reducing over-provisioning, theft, compliance and asset loss. A quick look at the preliminary findings reported in 2012 Uptime Institute’s Datacenter Survey make it clear that nearly all of the main reasons data center managers are looking at investing in Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) solutions stem from the need for the accurate and dependable asset location data that RFID can provide. Such factors include the need for improved capacity planning and asset visibility, rapid problem identification and downtime reduction, and improved customer service to name just a few.

As important as regulation, compliance, availability, capacity and other factors are, though, there is yet another persuasive argument for better asset tracking.  As Bhattacharya goes on to say, data centers that adopt RFID-based asset tracking solutions “can rapidly locate, identify, and track assets without needing a clear line of sight, thereby reducing manual labor and errors.”

Obviously, we couldn’t agree more.  The elimination of costly, time consuming and error-prone manual processes is the cornerstone of any effective asset management or data center efficiency solution. It’s important to note that only active RFID solutions eliminate manual labor. While passive RFID may provide a number of improvements over less sophisticated asset tracking approaches, collection of data from passive tags still requires personnel to use handheld readers or other collection methods to gather asset data. This replaces one time-consuming and error prone data gathering effort with … well, a slightly less time consuming, slightly less error prone one.  Only the real-time flow of asset location data provided by an active RFID solution truly eliminates manual labor without sacrificing asset visibility.