Tactical Advice

Review: Tripp Lite Environmental Sensor

The Tripp Lite Envirosense monitors temperature and humidity in the server room.
Environmental Awareness
Tripp Lite Envirosense

Noisy hardware and air conditioners and low temperatures make many server rooms unpleasant to occupy. IT managers tend to do as much as possible using remote connections from other locations and seldom need to step into the server room. However, if problems occur, administrators need to know about them before the servers stop responding.

Tripp Lite Envirosense fills that need. The environmental sensor monitors temperature and humidity in the data center and has inputs to control and monitor alarm, security and telecom devices.

The small Envirosense box has a 12-foot cord that plugs into the optional SNMP web card in a Tripp Lite uninterruptible power supply or monitored power distribution unit. Once connected, the same SNMP software that monitors the UPS or PDU can also monitor Envirosense. I tested it with the Tripp Lite Smart500 1U Rack/Tower UPS.

Administrators can also use a browser to connect to the SNMP web card to configure Envirosense, view temperature and humidity information, and set up whether sensor contacts should normally be open are normally open or closed. They can also enter email addresses and other information for notifications and actions to take if alarms are tripped, such as shutting down servers in the event of a fire or flooding.

Advantages

With Envirosense, administrators don’t need to brave the server room to check temperatures or humidity. A less obvious advantage is that SNMP traps can be set to automatically message someone if the temperature rises, the humidity becomes excessive or if water, smoke or fire trip the sensors. The sets of actions available to respond to alarm conditions are thorough and flexible and afford a greater comfort level for managers, especially if the facility is not staffed around the clock.

Why It Works for IT

Envirosense can greatly increase data center physical security by notifying an administrator if someone enters the room or in the event of environmental problems. The software makes it simple to set up alerts, which can be sent via email, SMS or other messaging systems. If it’s after hours and no IT staff are on duty, someone will be alerted to a problem rather than discovering it in the morning after it’s too late to fix.

Disadvantages

Envirosense includes temperature and humidity sensors, but the other inputs are simply dry contact sensors that detect an open or closed circuit. The administrator or building maintenance staff will need to run wiring between the appropriate sensors and the Envirosense unit.

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About the Author

Logan Harbaugh

Logan G. Harbaugh

Logan Harbaugh is a longtime technology journalist, with experience in reviewing a wide range of IT products including network operating systems, clustering, load balancing, NAS and SAN systems, traffic simulation, network management and server hardware.

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