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RF Code Announces Platform for Tracking IT Assets

The RF Code IT system uses 433 MHz active RFID to monitor the locations of rack-mounted servers, as well as laptops, desktop PCs and other devices.
By Mary Catherine O'Connor
Jan 29, 2008Data is gold, so tracking the IT assets that house data is a vital task for any enterprise. RF Code, an active RFID hardware and systems provider based in Austin, Texas, has rolled out a solution designed to enable companies to verify the location of such assets—even those that are not supposed to be mobile, such as rack-mounted servers.

Mitch Medford, who joined RF Code as CEO in 2007, says the company sees a tremendous market in tracking IT assets. According to Medford, active tags are more reliable, compared with passive tags and interrogators, and offer the ability to call up inventory updates in real time.

RF Code 433 MHz tags are affixed to each server mounted in rack.

RF Code's IT asset-tracking system has three main components: 433 MHz RFID active tags, designed specifically for IT assets; a reader and antenna system that fits into a server rack, to read tags attached to any IT assets installed in that rack; and a middleware layer called Zone Manager, where duplicate tag reads are filtered and business rules are applied before the data is sent to higher-level asset inventory software.

The asset tags come in two form factors. One, designed for servers installed in a rack, has an adhesive strip of plastic that attaches to the top of a server. The active tag juts out, putting it within the range of the reader antennas that run vertically along the rack, one on each side. The tags and interrogator are tuned to minimize each tag's range, to decrease the likelihood that the interrogator will pick up signals from tags on servers in adjacent racks. The Zone Manager software then uses algorithms that analyze each tag's signal strength, to determine in which slot the server is placed within therack. This, Medford says, allows for precise determination of each server's location.

The second tag form factor can be attached to IT assets not placed inside server racks, such as laptop or desktop computers. It can be attached either via an adhesive backing, or through a zip tie.

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