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Jeremy Porter, Senior Internet Data Center Architect at data center and managed services provider Core NAP, has developed a very low-cost thermal monitoring system for the company’s newest data centers. Porter has bussed a system of low-voltage thermal sensors together over Cat5 cable. The monitors report back to a database that can map data center temperatures in real time. Porter plans to be able to put multiple monitors in cabinets, under floors and in the cable runs above the racks. The sensors from Maxim IC report to USB readers plugged into Linux hosts. The hosts log data to a local Web server, and Core NAP plans to combine that info with Visio maps of the data center.
“We bid out the price to buy some of these thermal mapping products,” Porter said. “The systems start around $1,000 and cost around $100 per sensor. We’re able to deploy our system for well under $25 per sensor, including bus and reader. The software is fully supported in the Linux kernel so we don’t have to write any drivers. When I told management how much it would cost it didn’t take me long to get them to fund the project.”
Porter says Core NAP customers are interested in high-density server configurations, and modern blade servers can throw off hot-cold aisle set ups, so thermal mapping is critical to staying on top of customers’ density demands.