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Server Room Temp Monitoring and Notifications?

Cliff posted more than 9 years ago | from the don't-let-it-get-too-hot-in-thar dept.

Communications 93

Supp0rtLinux asks: "Like many businesses, my server room is a standalone environment from the rest of my building. It has its own UPS, its own survelliance system, and its own AC system powered by its own generator. These are separate from the global building UPS, survelliance, AC, and generator systems and are designed to operate even when the rest of the building is down. However, in my current server room and in others I work with, I find that the AC systems generally lack a network-based notification system. As such, while my server room AC failed at 2am last night and temperature climbed to over 98 degrees, no one was aware until after 8am this morning when the audible alarms were heard. How do other Slashdot readers handle this?""I've thought about using some server motherboard with thermal monitoring, but they typically: a) only allow for shutdown at a certain temp, not for warning/email; and b) a well cooled server may not necessarily become excessively hot even if the room heats up. I know some newer AC systems *do* support SMTP notifications, but older ones either do not or are cost-prohibitive add-ons. The very popular Lieberts that are found in the ceilings of many server rooms are a good example of this. Do you know of devices that are network/SMTP capable that can be set with thresholds and alarms and generate emails, pages, or SMS messages when said alarms go off?"

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Here you go (4, Informative)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952781)

Hot Little Therm [] but see the warning about no longer selling them ... great thermo probes, wish they were still selling them. I am glad I have a few extra.

Weather Duck and Power Egg []

These ought to do the trick just fine. A bit of configuring or shell scripting, send email to a cell phone or pager or whatever, you should be happy as a clam at high tide.

There are probably others as well. There may even be source code on sourceforge. Hot Little Therm has software. Weather Duck may also.

WeatherGoose (1)

gabe (6734) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953879)

I second the IT Watchdogs [] products. We have a WeatherGoose hooked up to Cacti [] . Works like a charm.

Re:Here you go (1)

Judg3 (88435) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953895)

I second the Weather Duck, it's a wonderful solution - especially for smaller datacenters.

One note of caution on the Power Egg - they aren't UL listed, and the construction of them seems.. well, not that great. We ordered a couple with L5 30amp ends and after a few weeks decided we didn't want to trust our power to something that hasn't been certified - not to mention the lawyers told us that if there was a fire due to them that it wouldn't be covered. So buyer beware on that!

But our Weather Goose has yet to fail on us, just waiting for a bigger solution to get installed

Code for Weatherduck (1)

Door-opening Fascist (534466) | more than 9 years ago | (#12970466)

We've written some self-rolled C code and Perl scripts to pull data from the Weatherduck, stuff it into a Postgres database, and trigger an alarm if the temperature or humidity get outside a certain range. Here's a link to our CVSWeb [] .

The basic procedure is that you pipe output from monitor into db_interface, and then run alert as a separate process. You can use the CGI script to generate GNUPlot [] graphs from a web form, or you can invoke it directly with graph.

Hope this helps... (1)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952786)

I found a possible low-cost solution to your problem here [] . It's not exactly what you're looking for, but it could be tailored to help out in your situation, particularly if you choose to monitor a HDD with low utilization, and set the warning temp at just a few degrees above the highest temp it normally hits when the AC is operational.

Hope this helps....I'm thinking I might hit up my supervisor for this software as well...there's certainly no harm in being careful.

Re:Hope this helps... (3, Funny)

turtled (845180) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952939)

Man, I don't even go home, I am my own monitor! If I get hot, something's wrong... wait, you mean, you guys actually get to go home?

Re:Hope this helps... (1)

bluGill (862) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953261)

This solution just uses SMART, which you should be watching anyway. I'm not sure if their product is any good, but you should evaluate it. If it isn't a simple ruby/python script can get that info (We have written such things here). You need to be monitoring each drive anyway, since it is nice to replace them before they fail.

Re:Hope this helps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12957041)

If it isn't a simple ruby/python script can get that info (We have written such things here).

A simple example of how to access SMART data from python would save a lot of head-scratching and googleing.

My apology if that's too trivial a question.

Re:Hope this helps... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12959147)

My apology. Found some C code. I guess it's not so trivial.

Roll your own :) (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952823)

1) Get a digital multimeter with RS232 and a temperature probe.
2) Connect it to a small, well-cooled, Linux box (Mini/ITX would be good)
3) Write a quick perl script to poll the DMM every 10 seconds (or something).
4) If current_temp > max_temp { send_mail(); }

It's cheap, AND you get to play with Mini ITX linux boxes at work :)

Re:Roll your own :) (1)

jrockway (229604) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953113)

Actually, I think the thermal cubes talked about below are a much better solution. And less expensive.

The multimeter solution is pretty geeky though. (And you can... uh... measure the AC line voltage and have the server notify you when the power goes out :P)

Re:Roll your own :) (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953678)

An even easier way would be to mount an extra heat sensor to an existing servers motherboard and and put it in free air.
You could use the lmsensors package to notify you if the heat goes to high.
seems like as good a solution as any.
Other options would be a Dallas one-wire sensor network interfaced to a Linux or windows box. You could have multi able temperature as well as other sensors interfaced to your network that way. Like, humidity or doors. You could also use the digital out to trigger a loud alarm.
Here is a link to a weather station that is uses Dallas one wire sensors. []
If you want an Interesting hack you could use the NSLU as the server. It has two USB ports so you could interface the one wire to one of them and a USB pen drive to the other for logging.
Oh and it runs Linux and has an Ethernet port.
Here is a link for the NSLU-2 []

Nagios + Websensor (5, Informative)

asc4 (413110) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952827)

Re:Nagios + Websensor (1)

Gigabit Switchman (16654) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953103)

Interestingly, I believe these are from a college capstone course design, "product-ized" by the professor... of course, this is just what I hear around the office, and they're a competitor... could just be gossip, you should evaluate their quality and tech support yourself.

Re:Nagios + Websensor (2, Informative)

ComputerSlicer23 (516509) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953143)

I want to second this. We do this, and we also pay the alarm people to monitor the temp and humidity as a backup (about are only problem is that, they didn't call use during business hours because they assumed we knew the room was 15F over the agreed upon high temp). Yes, it's a server room, no one works in there, no one goes in there unless there's a problem or to rotate tapes. Ding bats...

Nagios is wonderful. Everytime we have a new type of error, we write a little script to monitor how fast we are approaching that situation and alert, or we write a script to at least alert when it happens, so Nagios will diagnose the problem nearly immediatly if it's not something you can get early warning on (software mirrors breaking for example).

Monitoring for when crond dies, running out of file descriptors, mirrors breaking, and various other problems we've had over time have been scripted up because there wasn't a plugin for it.


Re:Nagios + Websensor (2, Informative)

TTK Ciar (698795) | more than 9 years ago | (#12957406)

I second this, too. We use Nagios at The Internet Archive, and a trivial Nagios plugin wrapped around /usr/sbin/hddtemp [] which can be used to monitor the temperature of your servers' hard drives.

Nagios can be made to do any of a variety of things when a plugin returns a "CRITICAL" status, like send emails, call beepers/cellphones, etc.

-- TTK

Re:Nagios + Websensor (1)

ace_brickman (883858) | more than 9 years ago | (#12962404)

I remember when we first implemented Nagios. My email system treated it as spam, I got about 16 emails an hour. Boy, was that fun! (university intern at the time, go easy on me)

Sensaphone (1)

Skalizar (676291) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952834)

Google it. They make a device that will monitor temperature, power, humidity, flooding, etc, and call up to 4 different phone numbers in a loop until someone acknowledges the alert.

Re:Sensaphone (1)

bofkentucky (555107) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953599)

It's worthless for IP device monitoring (no dependency "trees", doen't log to syslog) but we like the environmental monitors.

Thermal Cube + Nagios (4, Informative)

saintp (595331) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952871)

Build yourself a couple of Thermal Cubes [] ($3.50 - $5.00 each), and connect them to a box running Nagios [] (which you should be running anyway). Hey presto, temperature monitoring. And you get to play with soldering irons at work, which can be great fun if you act secretive and mutter about overclocking.

Re:Thermal Cube + Nagios (1)

runswithd6s (65165) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952915)

If you don't feel like a do-it-yourselfer, you can buy 1-wire temp sensor boxes from [] We did this recently and have been running digitemp from a cron job to log temp and humidity. I'll have to take a look at the nagios plugins to see if one works with digitemp. Otherwise, we were planning on using munin to do some nice rrdtool graphing.

Re:Thermal Cube + Nagios (1)

draziw (7737) | more than 9 years ago | (#12969314)

Where did you get the DS9097U-09 adapters for $5 each? Looks like they are about $12 qty 1000, and $28 qty 1-25 w/ a 8 week wait, or $34-$52 via re-sellers qty 1-10. It sounds like a great project, but if I can get the adapters for $5-$10 vs $30, I'll hop on it vs waiting. :)


Nagios and Esensors. (1)

ajayrockrock (110281) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952873)

I did this in our server room after the A/C's kept "randomly" shutting off. We use nagios [] and the Esensor [] . It's kinda pricey but it's way worth it. There are scripts that will make it integrate directly with Nagios so there's a TON of ways it can alert you via email/SMS/etc...


Re:Nagios and Esensors. (1)

mozingod (738108) | more than 9 years ago | (#12956216)

We use the same system and it works great. It's already come in hand a few times this year.

mbmon (1)

Piquan (49943) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952874)

Cron job. mbmon [] . 5 lines of Perl.

an real-world appliance (2, Informative)

wwest4 (183559) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952875)

I bought a black box that detects power, humidity, and temperature changes and calls me. It's programmable by DTMF, it's cheap, and you can tweak the threshold parameters to your heart's content. The ones I use were purchased from Microtechnologies, Inc. [] in CT. It woke me up after a bunch of power outages last night. Some might prefer something more exotic or flexible, but this is quick, dirty, and it works (4+ years).

NetBotz (2, Informative)

hab136 (30884) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952883) [] .

Re:NetBotz (1)

Fish Heads (642181) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955088)

Absolutely!! I used NetBotz to great success in my former server rooms for those very purposes.

After having one too many holidays runied by failed air conditioners I bought two of them, one for each server room. They come with temp and airflow sensors, microphones, cameras, all sorts of great stuff. You configure it with a web interface to alert you on various threshholds, from temp to airflow to motion on the camera to loud noises, and it can page you, email you, etc.

I just made sure that it was positioned so I could see useful stuff throught he camera, that air was hitting it for airflow detection, and even hung a flag from one of the vents so I could see the airflow if I wanted. I set temp alerts so I could catch an A/C emergency long before it got to "bake" temps, and put in the on-call pager number to page me.

They paid for themselves numerous times in saved trips and saved gear, giving me time to call facilities management in or deal with power issues, whatever they detected.

Well worth the money!! Highly recommended!!

Re:NetBotz (1)

Spoukie (775267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12972952)

HAHA...I work weekend nights...I am sitting here looking at a netbotz console right now! They are pretty versatile. I like it a whole lot better than relying in Leiberts.

Your servers have heat sensors, yes? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12952904)

Configure your servers to use SNMP to broadcast their current temperature to (two) monitoring systems. Configure the SNMP traps on the monitoring systems to email you when the temperature is out of acceptable range.

Not only will this catch AC failures, it will also catch problems with the server's cooling fans and so on.

We use a box from Sensaphone (1)

eakerin (633954) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952908)

Our Server room has a small box on the wall that mainly monitors our UPS. It hooks up with alarm wire contacts (normally closed/normally open) And also has a temprature sensor. When an alarm triggers it calls pre-programmed phone numbers in sequence, and tells you which alarms are going off (and the room temprature). It also has a noise level monitoring system too, if the noise level gets too high, it will call you and let you listen to the room via it's built in microphone. All you need is a power outlet, and an analog phone line.

This box [] is the series we use. I don't work for them, it's just worked well for us, so I figured I'd share.

Sensaphone (2, Informative)

MikeDawg (721537) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952923)

We use a Sensaphone 1104 (my boss is a real geek). It will dial phone numbers, send pages if certain conditions are met regarding the server room. Sensaphone [] offers many more products that do similiar tasks.

Re:Sensaphone (1)

stevey (64018) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953418)

I've got one of those too.

Ours monitors temperature and water, although sadly the only time the server room flooded (due to a leaky air-conditioning unit) the water sensor wasn't located near the wet areas.

The device plugs into the mains and can be programmed to telephone a list of numbers on alert conditions.

The unit also has backup batteries which will allow it to make a call in case of power outage - although in our case with a digitial phone system I suspect that wouldn't work ..

Simple to use, and reliable for the temperature sensing at least.

Re:Sensaphone (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 9 years ago | (#12997324)

Yep, when I was a consultant we used these at most of our clients. They would call a list of numbers which was great for rotating duty and they would tell you exactly which monitored condition had tripped the alarm.

Alarm Companies (3, Informative)

Some guy named Chris (9720) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952925)

Alarm companies will sell you a monitored service to do just what you want.

That's what we use.

Re:Alarm Companies (1)

gfilion (80497) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955013)

Alarm companies will sell you a monitored service to do just what you want. That's what we use.

That's what we use too. Best of all, if I don't answer the phone, they'll send the police over to cool down that server room!

Re:Alarm Companies (1)

Some guy named Chris (9720) | more than 9 years ago | (#12972075)

Amen to that. Damned if I want to deal with it!

WeatherGoose (1)

OneFix at Work (684397) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952968)

We bought a WeatherGoose for one of our server rooms. They are fairly cheap ($399 for the unit) and have many accessories that can be purchased as well as leads for "homebrew"/specialty sensors.

The WeatherGoose has a builtin web server that has (among other things) an xml feed...this makes writing scripts to interpret the data a breeze...not to mention it has a builtin "pager" alarm that will email and address whenever an alarm is tripped (high temp for instance)...

IT WatchDogs []

Tie it into your main building alarm system (1)

sakshale (598643) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952970)

Have whomever is in charge of building maintenance install a temperature sensor and remote monitor connection to the building alarm system in your computer room. I did that at the last four facilities I managed. It is a hassle free solution, the monitoring company can be given a list of people to contact -- with a specific order for contacting them.

That way, you can go on vacation! Too many homebrew solutions end up being dependent on the sysadm being available. Vacations are nice! Try to remove anything that prevent you from taking one.

Have a plan for when the alarm goes off. (1)

Myself (57572) | more than 9 years ago | (#12956281)

Vacations are nice! Try to remove anything that prevent you from taking one.
That also removes anything preventing them from giving you a loooooong vacation too. Remember: If your job is so automated you can do it from the deli, your job is also so automated they can do it from Delhi.

And a note about contact lists: If you have more than two people getting the notifications, you should have a 'war room' voice bridge set up, so all the involved people can call in and figure out which one's going to get out of bed, etc.

If you're really slick, you'll give this number to the alarm company, so they can "remind" each groggy responder of the number, and so someone at the alarm company can join the bridge and provide updates while you're driving in to the office. (Ask your local Asterisk geek to set up such a thing, or try a service such as Mr. Conference [] .

Re:Have a plan for when the alarm goes off. (1)

sakshale (598643) | more than 9 years ago | (#12961149)

"That also removes anything preventing them from giving you a loooooong vacation too. Remember: If your job is so automated you can do it from the deli, your job is also so automated they can do it from Delhi."
That is the least of my worries. Too much of sysadm work is hands-on and cannot be done remotely. I run two sites; one in California and one in Pennsylvania. I have done as much as I can to allow remote administration of the other site, given financial and time constrants. However, I still need someone local to walk into the room, look at front panel lights, swap out bad cables, etc.

(It sucks when the ethernet cable to the hub that has your serial console concentrator on it dies... as happened this week.)

Re:Have a plan for when the alarm goes off. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12997454)

It's your own fault for not having an analog modem hooked up to the console server =)

Sensatronics (1)

Kraken137 (15062) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952988)

Check [] They sell very neat network-attached environmental sensors which are very easy to work with.

(Friend works for them)

Re:Sensatronics (1)

toygeek (473120) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955093)

Yep. We use a model E4 ( onitor.php [] ) and it works really well. One of the admins here wrote a program so we could monitor it via MRTG, and also set boundaries so it'll page us if it goes out of bounds. Works very well, we've never even had to reboot the little thing. Not expensive, either.

Digitemp rocks (2, Informative)

the_maddman (801403) | more than 9 years ago | (#12952997)

I use a combo of digitemp, Dallas One-Wire temp probes, RRD, and some Python to glue it together. [] for the software, [] to get the hardware.

Serial interface, and you can run sensors hundreds of feet away over cat5. Just remember to test the alerts if you roll your own system.

If you want to know more, let me know I'll see what I can do.

Check your router (1)

acaldwel (741921) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953033)

Larger routers have thermal sensors... Long ago in a job far far away, I wrote a simple script to SNMP poll the router and then send an E-mail if the temp got too high. -Adam

We just use... (1)

wolf31o2 (778801) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953037)

We just use Nagios along with a temperature sensor and a custom-written Nagios plugin. It cost us about $200 in parts and about an hour's worth of labor to write the plugin.

Of course, there is always the esensor [] , which happens to go on sale tomorrow.

One approach (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953047)

Just hire a security guard and post him at the door. Give him orders to shoot to kill if this guy [] tries to enter the server room.

Re:One approach (1)

Spoukie (775267) | more than 9 years ago | (#12972967)

HAHAHA "I'm Mister Green Christmas, I'm Mister Sun I'm Mister Heat Blister, I'm Mister Hundred and One They call me Heat Miser, What ever I touch Starts to melt in my clutch, I'm too much!" Man, I used to love watching that show every year!

Netbotz (1)

fiori (45848) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953052)

Out of the box monitoring for everything including an equipment cabinet door being openned. []

Re:Netbotz (1)

Chanc_Gorkon (94133) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955615)

Yeah we use these. They also have a very bad camera in them.

Temperature Monitors (2, Informative)

Gigabit Switchman (16654) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953055)

My company (Disclaimer: I am an engineer, not a sales guy) makes products designed jsut for this! Ethernet-based (or serial-port based) and work with MANY software options including Nagios, or we have a perl script for data collection that you could hack to send you email if you like do-it-yourself. Here's the device I recommend [] . There are some homebrew-ish solutions out there, but we sell to thousands of very happy customers, and provide everything from the basics to lots of bells and whistles. SMS messages are the most commonly used notification method, though a few prefer pagers. Hey, you can even contact one of the engineers directly for tech support. ;-)

Re:Temperature Monitors (1)

Gigabit Switchman (16654) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953129)

And I should preview... -also supports SNMP with or without traps, another model adds humidity and leak detection, etc.

Re:Temperature Monitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12953620)

Holy fucking hell...

You want HOW MUCH for a sensor? Cripes....

Re:Temperature Monitors (1)

linuxwrangler (582055) | more than 9 years ago | (#12955284)

After a server room AC failure following routine maintenance I went and bought one of these units the next day.

Extremely easy to set up. I just poll it via http with a script and update an rrdtool graph. I generate a pager alert if the temperature is too high.

Next day the AC failed again (on a Friday evening no less) but the pager called me when I was just a couple miles from the office. Disaster averted.

Re:Temperature Monitors (1)

slasher999 (513533) | more than 9 years ago | (#12956571)

I started off monitoring this device via http as well, but did from within Perl so I could set limits and do email notification. I found that using SNMP was simpler as it required a bit less guess work in locating the correct string. For a couple hundred bucks, you can't beat it for a four probe sensor with SNMP support. A real enterprise class solution IMHO.

Security system. (1)

Bozzio (183974) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953069)

At my work we have a remote with delicate equipment, including an atomic clock, which needs constant temperature monitoring. The problem is that this is all in a mobile lab (in a modified truck, basically). So, our solution is simple enough:
- have the AC kick in automatically when it's too hot,
- have the heater kick in when it's too cold
- if for some reason these systems don't kick in, a temperature sensor installed and monitored by the security systems sets off an alarms.

So, for us, the same security company that monitors movement and access also monitors temperature, and calls us at home (or on our cells) if for some reason the room temperature is out of control.

Though this may be annoying, it works well.

Re:Security system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12953158)

sorry, "remote" should have been "room" in the previous post.

Environmental monitoring (2, Informative)

mknewman (557587) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953208)

APC sells a monitoring board that goes in some of their UPSses and will do SNMP. Even if you don't need a UPS get one, hook it to your network, and you have your monitor cheaply. Marc

Re:Environmental monitoring (1)

compwizrd (166184) | more than 9 years ago | (#12962787)

they also have a standalone rackmountable unit, that has two temp/humidity probes and a couple contact pairs for alarms.. put one of those on the server room door, and it'll page you everytime someone opens that door.

An Entertaining Solution... (1)

cjsnell (5825) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953224)

You can get a lot more than room temperature monitoring, if you want. I use a Davis Instruments [] weather station to monitor server room temperature as well as outside temperature, wind speed+direction, humidity, barometer, etc.

I use the Davis Weather Monitor II station, which can be picked up [] for about $350. Controlling the station from *NIX couldn't be more simple. I use the Device::WxM2 [] Perl module to pull data from my station. I wrote a small daemon that stores the data in RRDtool [] data files, as well as Perl Storables (a representation of a Perl data structure stored in a file). Another daemon monitors the current readings from the storables and sends e-mail to my pager if things go awry.

I even wrote an Asterisk AGI that speaks the weather to the caller. Call 1-866-859-7359 for a demo.

APC Environmental Management System (2, Informative)

kashou (84729) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953317)

Why reinvent the wheel [] ? --kash

Re:APC Environmental Management System (2, Insightful)

USFJoseph (659363) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954814)

I have to agree with this. We use the APC and it's onderful!

simple (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953379)

switch them off on your way out

AKCP products (1)

brundog (675895) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953486)

I use these products from AKCP. The Sensor Probe [] line is inexpensive and does the job. Web interface. Customizable thresholds. Also can monitor things like humidity too.

sensorsoft (1)

npietraniec (519210) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953554)

I've used this before. jeez. learn to use google.

You probably already have the capability! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12953598)

I've thought about using some server motherboard with thermal monitoring, but they typically: a) only allow for shutdown at a certain temp, not for warning/email

All my UPSes that have ethernet cards monitor temperature, and can send email when the temperature exceeds a specified value.

Even if your UPS doesn't have ethernet, you must have a computer connected to the UPS by serial or usb cable - how else do you shut down the servers in an orderly fashion :). The UPS software can probably send pages and/or email.

All of my dell rackmount servers monitor temperature at many points in the case, and can send email when the temperature exceeds a specified value.

Solaris temperature monitoring/notification (1)

xmas2003 (739875) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953659)

I hacked up some Perl code a while back to use the built-in prtdiag command on Solaris for those machines that provide temperature data -take a look at gettemp [] if that is helpful to 'ya.

One nice thing about host monitoring is that if you lose a fan or have some localized cooling issue, you will know about it this way, rather than via a whole-room temperature monitor. There are certainly scalability issues with doing per-host monitoring though.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12953712)

"I've thought about using some server motherboard with thermal monitoring, but they typically: a) only allow for shutdown at a certain temp, not for warning/email;

What operating system are you using that can read the temperature itself but won't allow programs to read the temperature? With Linux you can just # cat /sys/devices/platform/i2c... to get the temperature from a shell script that can then go on to email, IM, page, etc.

and b) a well cooled server may not necessarily become excessively hot even if the room heats up.

Then what's the problem? Surely it's not a problem until the servers become excessively hot? Keep it in perspective here.

rely on hdd temperature (1)

dtfinch (661405) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953790)

This can vary depending on your disks and other hardware, but to check the temperature of a hard disk I can type "smartctl -a /dev/hda | grep Temperature". If I were to parse that, I could make a cron job to notify me when a disk gets too hot. Disk temperature is your greatest concern, right? A broken AC is not the only way to fry a disk.

APC Environmental monitoring and MRTG (2, Informative)

darkone (7979) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953870)

I use an internal APC environmental monitoring card, which costs about $150. There is an external version for about $250 USD. d=29 []

I am using the internal card in an APC MasterSwitch, which allows me to control the power, and SNMP/web monitor the temperature (and create MRTG graphs). I also have a script which watches the temp and pages me at x degrees.

RS-232 Thermometer and SMS / email (1)

bobek (755987) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953987)

We use a couple of simple serial thermometers ff&c2coff=1&biw=1152&q=rs-232+thermometer&btnG=Sea rch&meta= [] and a custom build app to read the serial port and feed the temp into our alerting system which handles our thresholds. This works well for us. I also recommend two aircons with one set to kick in when the temperature gets too high (i.e. when the other fails)

Another (1)

hrieke (126185) | more than 9 years ago | (#12953995) []

This plug and go package has everything you need to protect rooms and equipment from temperature problems using a network enabled Windows NT/2000/XP/2003 machine. All software runs as Windows services.

It can alert you via email, pager and run commands when temperature goes outside your set limits.

The graphing tool allows you to graph temperature data from a web browser.

This package includes the ST6105C Sensorsoft Thermometer, RWME Remote Watchman Enterprise software (three monitored item limit), RWMS Remote Watchman Device Server software, F1000 Velcro fastener, printed Quick Start Guide and User Manuals on CD.

Product may not be as it appears in the image.

Shipping weight: 0.68 kg (1.5 lbs).

Inventory Status...
Sku: ST6105C-ESPAKpad$399.00

APC (1)

pretoris (442079) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954798)

APC makes some environmental monitoring units. Here's a list of them from their site: []

They monitor temp and humidity among other things and include customisable relays, threasholds, remote access, and email monitoring.

IPSentry (1)

MeanMF (631837) | more than 9 years ago | (#12954801)

IPSentry [] is cheap and easy to set up, and it can monitor a lot more than temperature and humidity. It has a ton of ways to notify you, and you can write your own notification modules in VB if you want.

Sensatronics and Perl (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12956326)

The company I started working for this year bought a Sensatronics temp monitor that supports up to four probes. The manufacturer didn't ship software with it that would allow alerting, so I wrote an app to do so in about 150 lines of Perl. Since the device is accessible via SNMP, this was pretty simple using the Perl SNMP module. Notification is done via Net::SMTP and scheduling is done via Windows Scheduler (Windows shop, Windows solution). We're now up to about ten of these devices in various sites, all using my app for alerting.

For other factors, put a camera on a Weather Rock. (2, Funny)

Myself (57572) | more than 9 years ago | (#12956341)

My local nature center has a very accurate environmental monitoring system. There's a rock outside a window, and a guide which reads:

This is the weather rock.
If you can't see the rock, it's night.
If the rock is wet, it's raining.
If the rock is white, there's been snow.
If the rock is moving, there's a tornado.
If the rock is gone, there was a tornado.

Now, pair one of those babies with a nice Axis network camera.... (1)

grattwood (533456) | more than 9 years ago | (#12956348)

At work we use the sh2+ from [] . I coded a custom plugin for BigBrother, and we now have temperature and relative humidity with paging and trending.

The one thing I'd tell you to do is the trending. It's great to be able to look at the RRD plots and say, "I see the temperature goes up 3 degrees at night, I'll have to talk to the facilities people".

KMC (1)

gremlin_591002 (548935) | more than 9 years ago | (#12956523)

KMC makes a small digital control board with a built in web server and the ability to talk to an SMTP server. Their Weblite product can easily be set up to control any AC system. It's got 8 inputs so you can monitor 8 temp/humidity/airprove swithes, really anything you want and any alarm to SMS,Email,etc. Built in graphing and logging. Their product line is perfectly capable of running an entire building, very modular. Easy to program. Anybody that can hack together some Perl can program this stuff. Just be careful, short cycling and AC system gets stupid expensive very quickly [] Disclaimer: I work for a contractor that distributes and installs KMC systems.

use your ups (1)

figital (576803) | more than 9 years ago | (#12957343)

Most of the larger, APC ups's have temperature sensors that you can query with snmp. Surely this can also tie into nagios...

digitemp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12959321)

Temp monitor (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 9 years ago | (#12959356)

I had a live cam site, where they'd turn up the heat to crash the machines they were using, so they didn't have to work. They were Windows machines. All it took was putting a thermistor into a little housing, so it plugged into the game port. I wrote a little QuickBasic program to read the value, and report it back. It took a little math to figure out the value to temperature conversions.

I'm sure it could be done in Linux too, but the machines I was working with were Win98 workstations. If you can read the value of a game port axis, you can read the thermistor. It was just a couple bucks for parts, and a few minutes of programming. You could wire the termistor to anywhere you'd like. Mine sat right on the game port, but if you want the ambient temperature of the room, you'd probably want it a bit farther away from the machine(s).

You'll need to find the pinout for a game port, to figure out where to put it. It wasn't very hard to do. Pinouts are available all over the Internet.

Nagios tools (1)

kylegordon (159137) | more than 9 years ago | (#12960798)

Check the front page of Nagios [] for network based environmental sensors that plug straight into your network.

Jakarta SP2 (1)

verycoldpenguin (874449) | more than 9 years ago | (#12961612)

We sell clusters, many of them I include an SP2 temperature sensing device. [] This can detect temperature (duh) and other things, like water or contact sensors. The sp2 has 2 sensors, you can get more others. The sp8 may be more your thing. The sp2 can email, snmp trap sms etc. etc. etc. on configurable limits, a warning and an alarm. You can also query it via snmp (what I do) and web pages etc. where you get a history of the temperature. Personally, I use one temperature sensor in my server room. I also connect one to the clusters, I use email warnings if the room goes too high, and can shut down the cluster nodes if it gets serious.

Roll your own via serial port... (3, Interesting)

cr0sh (43134) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965571)

If you have a spare serial port on a server not hooked up already to a UPS for monitoring, use it. Go down to Home Depot or Lowes and purchase a cheap Honeywell round thermostat, and hook it up to the serial port so that it connects CD & DTR or CTS & RTS together when the temperature rises to over whatever temperature you select. Mount the thermostat near wherever the main A/C thermostat is, and label it or cage it appropriately so that nobody touches it (or "fix" it so that it can't be easily mucked with). Write a cron job or equivalent to sense when this event occurs, and if so, send an email and/or begin the shutdown procedure.

Yeah - this may be all low-tech and homebrewish, but it is essentially the exact same thing that a UPS does (albeit with temperature sensing and not voltage level). Also, you can't sue a company if it fails, but considering nothing is being currently done, and you have already had a failure - this would be the easiest and cheapest way to go (a few hours worth of time and a few dollars for parts, tops)...

AKCP sensorProbe (1)

Echo|Fox (156022) | more than 9 years ago | (#12965664)

We picked up an 8 sensor model of the AKCP sensorProbe a while back. I don't recall it being particularly expensive and it seems to work very well. It's got 8 ports on it, into which you can plug a variety of different sensors. Sensors can be things like temperature, water, AC voltage, smoke, motion, etc. The sensors all terminate in normal RJ45 connectors, so it's pretty easy to reuse existing wiring infrastructure to get your sensors wherever you need them.

It has a web interface for configuration with all the pretty graphs you might want. Notifications are handled via email. We've got the emails going to a box running sendpage to send us SMS messages to our cellphones as well. SNMP is also an option.

I'm reasonably happy with it and would say it's at least worth a look. The specific model we have is here [] . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12966413)

We use these NETIC Sensors [ [] ]
They are excellent. Tiny, LINUX based, including TCP/IP stack, Web server, email, SMS and full SNMP functionality.
We have one for ambient temperature/ humidity, and one in every server rack.

APC Environmental Monitor (1)

lotsofgadgets (723829) | more than 9 years ago | (#12976903)

The APC environmental monitor AP9319 does a nice job of monitoring temp and humidity. I added the second sensor to monitor both under floor temp and room temp. In addition the unit has dry contact inputs which I connected to a waterbug leak detector. I like the apc unit since it is self contained and has a built in webserver and supports SNMP. It also will email alerts directly from the monitor. I have been sucessful in integrating the SNMP output using cacti go graph temperature trends in our data centers and telcom room.

Read my article in an upcoming issue of MAKE (1)

psyconaut (228947) | more than 9 years ago | (#12981638)

I'll show you how to build a PC (Linux/Windows/Mac) temperature sensor for less than $20 in parts.


Netbotz monitoring appliances (1)

efutch (155454) | more than 9 years ago | (#12981678)

We use Netbotz [] monitoring appliances for our server rooms, both the main datacenter and the alternate. We get SMTP mail, pagers, and cells...and the system has SNMP MIBs, so you can get MRTG graphs of the temperature, humidity and all enviromental variables.

You can get models with cameras, motion detectors, etc.

PCMeasure Ethernetbox (1)

Random Walk (252043) | more than 9 years ago | (#12983742)

PCMeasure [] sells a device that can be hooked on the network and provides data from one or more temperature or humidity probes.

We are using one of them, together with a simple Perl script that runs on a Linux PC. The script reads out the data from the Ethernetbox, sends Email alerts, makes nice graphs with RRDTool, and even will run an automatic shutdown if the temperature gets critical. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12988241) []

Works great and cheap at $129.
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