Real-time data center asset tracking
RFID demonstration projects at HP Labs are proving the viability of the RFID IT asset tracking technology for multiple, dispersed sets of server racks.
RFID tags on each server are read by an antenna array running down each server rack door. Information about the precise slot placement of each server is relayed in real time to a database linked to standard IT management software.
This research suggests that because of its ability to track each server, smart IT asset tracking can allow IT managers to use data center space more efficiently, and to better manage power and cooling.
Another potential benefit is enhanced security, because the technology makes it possible to unlock a rack only to certain personnel at certain times, or when a particular asset is scheduled for removal.
Cable identification and tracking
A second HP Labs project applies RFID asset tracking to the cables connecting sets of servers.
A single rack of servers might have 2,000 identical optical cables running into and out of it; it can take two people three days to connect just 500 of them.
With RFID cable tracking in place, system managers have an accurate, real-time record of where every cable is placed -- making repairs and upgrades faster, more accurate, and easier to plan, manage and perform.
Significantly, both these solutions can be retrofitted to existing systems, and both can be employed while the system is running.