Text Steffen Maltzan, Michael Siedenhans ––– Photography
A cable fire or a burst water pipe in a server room is the stuff of nightmares for any data centre operator. After all, data centres are the backbone of the digital transformation and our modern society. They need to operate reliably, also ensuring the appropriate level of safety and availability 24/7.
How, though, can the risks referred to above be prevented and any incidents detected promptly, in a way that ensures data centre managers are always kept informed and know everything they need to about the condition of data centre infrastructure? The best solution is a live overview of the overall status in the data centre, from software, hardware and server racks through to cooling systems, power cables and water pipes, along with exhaust air, fire safety and door/locking systems – in other words, from IT to OT.
After all, both aspects must be equally reliable to ensure a data centre is available and operates effectively at all times. Is that actually possible, though? IT administration and facility management teams normally only monitor the system for which they are responsible in the data centre, and they work independently of each other. They don’t pay attention to all the systems by any means. Paessler and Rittal are now creating such an overview by combining their Paessler PRTG and Rittal CMC III monitoring solutions under the Paessler Uptime Alliance programme. This high-performance tool now makes it easy for users to simultaneously keep an eye on their IT and OT, in exactly the way they need to for their work. This is all possible thanks to a central dashboard for IT and OT in the data centre. Users can customise the configuration of this webbased tool, accessing it at any time and from any location.
EARLY FAILURE DETECTION
A comprehensive overview is particularly important when monitoring IT safety. This is exactly where Paessler’s PRTG network monitoring software comes in. Integrating and monitoring IT systems, it can detect failures at an early stage.
This is an important function for data centres, especially now that IT environments are growing. Combining this solution with CMC III from Rittal means PRTG users can now also immediately tell whether there is a cable fire in the server room, a burst water pipe or an open safety door. In such cases, they are instantly notified by an alarm message and can take prompt action. This is all thanks to the Rittal monitoring system, which uses sensors to check and measure all relevant safety aspects relating to data centre OT – from temperature, humidity, smoke and leaks all the way through to unauthorised access and vandalism.
MEASUREMENTS FROM THE ENTIRE DATA CENTRE
PRTG software is one of the most popular IT monitoring solutions in the world. There are currently more than 500,000 users in over 170 countries. It’s easy to operate, has practical functions and offers numerous interfaces for comprehensive solutions providing an IT overview.
Paessler and Rittal have optimised the open interfaces, so it takes just a few clicks for PRTG users to activate the CMC III infrastructure and integrate it into the central monitoring system on the dashboard. In this way, the CMC III sensor measurements from the entire data centre environment are incorporated into PRTG.
Building floor plans and server racks can also be depicted graphically on the dashboard. Equipment and the associated measurements are shown clearly, too. A further plus point is that QR codes generated in PRTG make it easier to assign the various measurements locally. As soon as engineers scan the QR code on the actual device, they can use their laptop or smartphone to see the associated measurements and how these have developed over time.
OPTIMISING ENERGY CONSUMPTION
The greater certainty for both hyperscale data centres and data centre containers even contributes to sustainability – using the central dashboard to precisely measure the power consumed by the integrated equipment and systems can help operators minimise their data centre’s energy consumption.
“This is made possible by combining Paessler’s PRTG software with the Rittal components,” emphasises Helmut Binder, CEO of Paessler AG. “Customers get a detailed picture of the power consumption in their data centre, enabling them to optimise the entire system’s energy usage,” he adds.
The data overview helps data centre operators save money and energy by optimising the consumption levels of their systems and equipment and replacing these with more energy-efficient solutions if appropriate. This means they can always keep track of both safety and sustainability – based on accurate, live data.