Four Things to Listen for in your Server Room

Posted Sep 13, 2011

Climate Guard’s built-in sound level logging can help identify changes in equipment behavior and abnormal events in your server room.

Sounds like Trouble
Evidence of a problem in the server room can take many forms. A change in background noise is one of the hints that something may be abnormal. Monitoring audio levels in the server room can help IT professionals spot trouble and take action before it’s too late.

Climate Guard automatically logs audio levels using its built-in microphone. As with other sensors, Climate Guard can alert personnel if sound levels become abnormal. Here are four things to listen for:

1) Increased fan speed
Servers and other equipment often use variable speed fans that will run at higher speeds as conditions become adverse. An increase in background noise level may indicate that one or more fans are running fast. This could be due to a cooling or ventilation problem, or other equipment issue.

Here’s an example of a chart from Climate Guard showing a sharp increase in background noise during a time when the server room AC unit had failed.

2) Loss of one or more fans
Whether your server room’s background noise level is a gentle hum or a load roar, a drop in background noise may mean that one or more fans have stopped running entirely. Once you have established what the normal level of background noise is, you can have Climate Guard send an email if the audio level drops below that point. This gives IT personnel early warning that there may be a cooling problem – before waiting for the temperature to rise.

3) Activity in the server room
In addition to door contacts and motion sensors, audio levels are a useful way to watch for activity in the server room. This helps build a more complete picture of what kind of activity has taken place.

4) Abnormal events outside the server room
Conditions that affect the server room don’t always happen inside the server room. However, Climate Guard’s microphone can pick up background noises due to abnormal activity in other rooms (such as maintenance or renovation work), as well as outside the building (such as thunder). This information helps IT correlate external events with changes in the server room. For example, noise from a renovation project in the next room might correspond with a telecom outage, helping IT determine the source of the problem.

With Climate Guard, audio level logging works right out of the box with no additional setup or hardware required. See Climate Guard in action today with our live demo. (Username: demo, Password: demo)