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Vizualiiz's LightsOn Solution Uses RFID to Locate Servers

Several data centers are employing the system to view a 3-D map of their facilities, including every rack, shelf and server, and to manage the maintenance of IT equipment.
By Claire Swedberg
Regular inventory checks can also be accomplished using a handheld interrogator, Kelly explains, by simply walking through the racks and sweeping the reader past the servers. In that way, data can be updated in the event that equipment has been moved without management's knowledge.

Vizualiiz's staff currently attaches tags to servers for users. This tagging process can be the most expensive portion of the installation cost, Cartwright notes. As the company continues to streamline that process, it may opt to contract out that task to third-party providers. "We work hard to minimize every single direct keyboard input," he states, "by creating intelligent search lookups that auto-fill fields. And we will continue to look at more advanced technologies to further this automation."

Craig Kelly, Vizualiiz's CTO
Users can also install fixed readers on racks, as well as at doorways, to better manage location data. For example, if a server were input into the system, but was then moved by an individual who had failed to read its tag, the information in the software would be inaccurate. If, on the other hand, an antenna were installed on some racks, or at doorways, the software would receive read data indicating which server was being moved.

Furthermore, Cartwright notes, if active RFID tags were employed instead of passive tags, location data could be tracked in real time. The high cost of active tags, however, would make such a solution more expensive. His company is likely to offer an active RFID solution in the future, he says, if it perceives a need from customers.

"As the cost of active tagging technology drops," Cartwright says, "it could very well fit a better cost model. In general, Vizualiiz is agnostic to the tagging technology used."

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