Environment monitoring

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Tue Sep 30 16:00:08 EDT 2003


On Tue, 30 Sep 2003, Mitchel Kagawa wrote:

> This past Friday night after everyone in the office went home our AC, for
> our small 64 node cluster, decided to have a compressor problem and stop
> producing cool air.  On Sat I get a phone call saying that one of our users
> can't access his e-mail (server is also in cluster room).  I wasn't able to
> get to the office until Sunday afternoon and I wasn't able to log into the
> head node to shut everything down remotely. By the time I was able to get to
> the cluster all but 20 nodes had shut themselves down because the ambient
> temperature of the room reached 145 deg.  Thankfully all the servers, raid
> arrays and all but 2 nodes came back up when I hit the power button (after I
> got the temp back to 68).  Our stupid ac doesn't have the communications
> package that cost an extra $5000 cause my company's too cheap to spring for
> it and an extra phone line.  So I was wondering if anyone used one of those
> environment monitoring appliances that e-mail you (before stuff starts
> shutting off) if a temp goes out of a set range or if it detects water, high
> humidity, or movement in the room?  I'm looking at a NetBotz/RackBots here
> (http://www.netbotz.com/products/rack.html) and was wondering if anyone has
> any experience with them or if you have any other (inexpensive <$2000)
> suggestions.  Thanks for any help.

There are two ways to proceed.  I've used netbotz, and yes, they work
fine and would have saved you here.  As you note, a bit expensive...;-)

The cheaper alternative is to DIY.  There are several companies out
there that sell temperature probes that can be read via a serial port.
Buy one, hook it into a serial port of the machine of your choice, and
write a script to sleep/poll the device, taking any action you like at
any breakpoints you like.

You can even add a PC-TV card and an X10 camera (for a total of about
$100-150) and monitor the room remotely to get even more of the netbotz
functionality.  All total should cost you no more than $250-400 to DIY
with camera.  But yes, you have to have some skills here and there...:-)

   rgb

> 
> Mitchel Kagawa
> 
> 
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Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu



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