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How IT Managers Streamline Data Center Asset Tracking with RFID

An increasing number of IT managers are adopting RFID for data center solutions to track, manage and secure data center assets. But it’s not about chasing the latest tech trend – they’re actually getting results. In this post, we’ll examine why IT managers value RFID technology and how they’re using it in the real world to streamline data center asset management.

Before RFID, asset tracking was a time-consuming and expensive process. Traditional systems, like barcodes and serial numbers, required people to locate and enter identifying information manually – for each and every device. RFID tag and reader technology lets you do the same thing, but in much less time.

This is because it does all of the hard work for you.

For businesses with serious data center footprints – and grumpy IT staff – this could mean literally thousands of hours, and tears, saved over the course of a year.

Types of RFID Tags

IT managers have two options when choosing an RFID solution for data center assets: Passive or Active RFID tags. Passive RFID tags have a limited range, typically less than 10 meters, and draw power from the reader. Active RFID tags utilize a built-in battery that allows them to be read over longer distances, typically between 10 and 100 meters.

So, which one is better for data center applications?

Passive RFID tags are ideal for the majority of data center solutions. This is because the optimal reading range for data centers is 7-10 feet, which is right in the passive RFID sweet spot. But also because Passive RFID tags are about 5x cheaper, and last quite a bit longer than active RFID tags, which have a limited lifetime of 3-5 years.

Let’s take a look at a few real-world benefits – things that are actually happening today – that have IT managers obsessing over RFID.

Asset Maintenance

RFID makes asset maintenance more efficient and less wasteful. It does this by helping IT Managers track routine upkeep to ensure employees are performing the optimal number of inspections. This reduces expensive equipment failures and saves money and time by preventing employees from conducting unnecessary inspections.

Asset Auditing

Most companies are required to conduct data center audits – in which they verify and report on assets – for legal, accounting or compliance purposes. Audits typically occur one or more times per quarter. This is where that manual effort really costs you – unless you have an RFID solution in place to streamline everything by doing all the heavy lifting.

Asset Depreciation

RFID helps IT managers track asset depreciation rates, and monitor the current value of equipment, in real time. This makes CapEx (capital expenditures) planning easier and more accurate because you can manage life cycles, anticipate budget requests and allocate capital for future equipment purchases.

Asset Leasing

RFID can help monitor which data center equipment is in use – and which isn’t. This means IT managers with OpEx (Operating Expense) equipment can cut costs by pulling underused hardware – which drains ROI on the lease – out of rotation.

Asset Energy Expenses 

By 2020, U.S. data centers will annually consume 140 kwH of energy and emit 100 million metric tons of pollution. That’s (1) insane and (2) immediately forgettable when you consider that these numbers are expected to double every four years. And demand for data center computing and energy is only increasing. Because of this, IT Managers are under pressure to both reduce energy consumption and increase data center output. RFID can help by enabling IT personnel to track which computers are in use, optimizing the number of computers to meet current computing needs while reducing unnecessary energy usage.

Asset Security

Most of the RFID tags used in data center asset tracking applications are passive RFID tags, as opposed to active RFID tags. Passive RFID tags can be tracked with handheld or portal readers, which are placed near the data center entrance to track equipment as it passes through the “portal.” In addition to tracking new equipment as it enters the data center, portal readers can help IT personnel monitor assets that leave the facility.

Conclusion

Data center asset management is complex and resource-intensive. Luckily, RFID can make it so much easier and less painful. With the right passive RFID tag and RFID reader, IT Managers can simplify asset tracking and auditing, reduce expenses and energy consumption, and monitor equipment security. And if that weren’t enough, here’s even better news – ROI is achievable and very likely within 1-2 years.

Need the exact RFID asset tracking solution your data center requires? Vizinex can help. Contact us today with your RFID questions.

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