Learn how to reduce costs, leverage existing infrastructure and increase granularity in DCIM solutions by implementing battery-free RFID sensor tags.

Data Center Infrastructure Management is a hot topic for data centers. As discussed in a previous post, cost savings for increasing room temperature just one degree can reach 1%, 2% and even 4% of the power budget, which is very significant for data centers.

DCIM solutions so far included RFID systems as a way of tracking assets through the facility. By embedding a UHF RFID tag in each of the assets (mostly servers), DCIM solutions can easily track where an IT assets is, what kind of maintenance it received over time, the amount of times is has been moved, the locations it has been placed at and so on.

RFID system for DCIM applications

RFID system for DCIM applications

On top of that, DCIM solutions usually include a separate system for environmental monitoring. These systems are usually active wireless sensor networks including temperature, pressure and humidity sensors to be able to control infrastructure environment without impacting the life of IT assets.

In order to simplify the solution, reduce costs and leverage the existing infrastructure, EPC Solutions Taiwan, Inc. has developed an RFID system that includes battery-free sensor tags.

The solution implements three temperature and humidity tags per rack to control environment conditions at three different heights. An RFID reader is placed in the rack and a flexible cable antenna is laid out to read all RFID standard tags plus RFID sensor tags.

A single system for asset tracking and environmental monitoring

This system has several advantages over other current solutions:

  • A single system simplifies the DCIM solution
  • It leverages the existence of RFID infrastructure (readers) without requiring other expensive wireless network system
  • It provides the user with more granularity. More sensors are deployed in the data center so the environmental data is more detailed. Allows for a detailed temperature control depending on asset position inside a rack (temperature is generally higher in assets placed in high spots than bottom spots).
  • Reduced maintenance costs. RFID sensor tags are wireless and battery-free. This means they require no maintenance in contrast with active wireless sensors, which need periodical battery changes.

EPC’s RFID system is a great solution for DCIM applications that should always be considered when implementing this kind of solutions in data centers.