IoT adds smarts to IT asset monitoring

Organizations are using IoT sensors to monitor equipment performance and environmental conditions in data centers.

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The Internet of Things (IoT) is beginning to play a key role in monitoring and maintaining internal IT systems and environments. With many IT pros working from home because of the coronavirus pandemic, IT teams are leveraging networked sensors to gauge the performance and condition of servers, storage systems, network devices, and other technology components.

IoT can help organizations not only evaluate how well equipment in data centers is performing and when systems need to be updated or repaired, but also monitor environmental conditions and events such as air temperature, humidity, and water leaks. IoT systems can also help organizations detect intrusions that could result in downtime or data breaches.

"This is happening more and more as IoT adoption is [becoming] mainstream," says Laura DiDio, a principal at research and consulting firm ITIC. "IT and security administrators are now more comfortable and secure deploying, configuring, and using IoT on an ongoing basis." At the same time, organizations recognize the need to monitor physical assets such as servers, routers and switches in data centers, the cloud, and the network edge, as well as the desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile phone devices used by employees and contract workers, DiDio says.

The market for IoT tools that can monitor IT assets (as well as many other devices) has attracted major technology vendors including Cisco, Dell, HPE, Huawei IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, and Schneider Electric, along with IoT specialists including Digi, Gemalto, Jasper, Particle, Pegasystems, Telit, and Verizon.

IoT is often deployed in existing physical systems to increase the contextual understanding of the status of those systems, says Ian Hughes, senior analyst covering IoT at research firm 451 Research. "Compute resources tend to already have lots of instrumentation built in that is used to manage them, such as in data centers," he says.

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