Intelligent asset tags keep real-time inventory

Raritan (Somerset, N.J., U.S.A.), a supplier of asset tracking technology, last week announced the availability of the intelligent Asset Management Tag and Sensor for improving data center asset management by providing accurate, real-time information on all IT assets and their locations.

Raritan (Somerset, N.J., U.S.A.), a supplier of asset tracking technology, last week announced the availability of the intelligent Asset Management Tag and Sensor for improving data center asset management by providing accurate, real-time information on all IT assets and their locations.

Raritan's new intelligent Asset Management Tag (AMT), the size of a small mailing label, adheres to a server and connects to an Asset Management Sensor (AMS) attached to a rack rail. The tracker tells operators the unique ID of the server and exactly where that server is located in the data center, down to the 1U level in a rack. The tracker also indicates any moves or changes. If the server is moved to a new location in the same rack or to a different rack, its new location is automatically recognized when the tag is connected to the sensor at the new location, says Raritan.

Accurate records on where servers are located in racks and the power chain associated with servers are not always available, according to Raritan. In larger data centers up to 25% of IT assets can go missing because of difficulty tracking IT assets, says the company. This translates into underutilized rack space and capacity, contributes to ghost servers, as well as wasted time locating equipment.

Raritan's new asset management tracker provides visual guidance to help with equipment adds, moves, changes, reconfigurations or repairs, according to the company. The sensor has RGB LED lights at each one rack unit (1U) to indicate what action should be taken. For example, a green light might indicate the available location for a server installation. This location could have been chosen by asset management software, which takes into account not only open space in a rack, but also sufficient electrical power, cooling and network connections. According to Raritan, an installer can quickly find the correct space by looking for color-coded indication lights among rows of racks. Different colors can be used for other change-management processes. For example, a red blinking LED could be used to indicate a server maintenance request.

"Even modest-size data centers have an enormous number of IT assets, from servers to storage to networking equipment, that need to be tracked. Often this is done ad hoc, using Excel spreadsheets and Visio diagrams, and becomes very labor intensive,” says Herman Chan, director of Raritan's Energy Management Business.  “There are some software programs available that are designed for the purpose of tracking IT equipment. However, if just a few moves, adds or changes are not recorded it can make the asset tracking system inaccurate and not useful. It quickly becomes challenging to know which assets exist in the data center and where they are located. Efficient data center management begins with smarter racks."

Each Raritan Asset Management Tags contains a unique ID chip and scannable ID barcode. Associated with the unique ID is the IT device's asset record — where a variety of information can be stored, including serial number, repair records, maintenance agreement and lease terms, according to the company. At the rack, the tags are connected to sensors that will sense the tag's unique ID, as well as the connected asset's physical location within a rack, and provides that information to Raritan's software or third-party asset management tools.

Inventory information collected by the new Asset Management Tag and Sensor system can be updated in Raritan's database. This can track data center assets, as well as map physical relationships between devices to easily see how everything in the data center is physically connected. With its "Search, Place and Reserve" capability, users can quickly and easily search for and reserve space, power and network connectivity for all IT assets, according to the company.