Effective against gray hair: Basler relies on environmental monitoring by Kentix and Paessler PRTG
About Basler Haar-Kosmetik
Based in Bietigheim-Bissingen in Germany, Basler Haar-Kosmetik GmbH & Co.KG has been specializing in hair care and hairdressing supplies for over 40 years. Its wide range of products includes combs, brushes, hair accessories, and skin and body care. What’s more, experienced and aspiring hairdressers alike can sign up for training at the Basler Hairdressing Academy.
Since then, the Basler directors decided to be more proactive by installing the MultiSensor monitoring system from Kentix GmbH. This system monitors all the important environmental parameters in the server and telecommunications rooms, such as temperature, humidity, and Internet availability. The company also uses PRTG Network Monitor from Paessler to monitor (among other things) the status of its IT infrastructure and its Kentix MultiSensors.
Basler’s priorities are clear: its online store must always be running smoothly and its telephone order line must always be available. Its call center employees must be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. So far, the company has been able to achieve this goal – until a power failure on a holiday caused the call center staff to be unavailable for an entire day. The culprit was a defect in the uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which initially (correctly) switched to emergency mode, but which was unable to perform normally once the power came on again. Unfortunately, this resulted in angry, bewildered customers and losses in sales.
“We already had some experience combining the Kentix system with PRTG. This know-how helped us advise Basler Haar-Kosmetik. The installation therefore went quickly and smoothly.”
Harald Flory, Senior IT Consultant at GEMAKOM
All-in-one monitoring for server rooms
Basler’s management and IT teams drew lessons from this incident. In particular, they asked themselves how they could avoid such incidents in the future. It was decided that the following requirements must be met:
- Monitoring of the temperature and humidity of business-critical areas
- Alerting in the event of critical errors such as a power failure or a failed Internet connection
- Different escalation levels, depending on the error and the time of day (working hours or weekend)
- Notifications sent to mobile phones by SMS
The system specialists at GEMAKOM were responsible for evaluating potential solutions. After just a few days, they convinced Basler of the need to install a monitoring system for the company’s server room and infrastructure. Concretely, the managers opted for the all-in-one MultiSensor solution developed by Kentix GmbH, a company based in Idar-Oberstein, Germany. This system monitors the IT environment, recognizes when third parties enter the server room, monitors power supply data, and detects potential errors and fire hazards in the server rack. It also immediately notifies the respective employee(s) if certain threshold values are exceeded.
In this way, the IT team can take action at once. Notifications are sent via email, SMS, or SNMP trap. The monitoring data can be viewed at any time via the system’s software, as well as an app for smartphones. Authorized staff can operate the system’s central control unit via the software, simple SMS commands, or the app.
Based in Idar-Oberstein, Germany, Kentix GmbH develops professional security systems that monitor server rooms and data centers, as well as offices spaces and infrastructures. Kentix monitoring systems are extremely efficient as they incorporate several different sensors into a single functional unit. Kentix products prevent disruptions to operating environments, secure systems against theft and sabotage, and sound the alarm in the event of errors.
Physical hazards monitored with a device the size of a smoke detector
Basler Haar-Kosmetik invested around €3,000 in the KomplettSet PRO from Kentix. This set includes all the components that are needed to monitor a server room and can be expanded at any time. The heart of the system is the Alarm Manager PRO, which acts as a GSM alarm and control center. This is where all the information from the connected MultiSensors is collected. It is mounted in the server room or rack (depending on the requirements), and forwards all alarm and error messages to the respective employees. The configuration is done with software via a local area network (LAN).
The MultiSensors are about the size of a standard smoke detector, and consolidate all the important sensors. MultiSensors record all essential environmental data, including temperatures (-20 to 99°C), relative humidity (0 to 100%), dew points (in °C), the presence of carbon monoxide (CO > 20 ppm), motion (PIR (passive infrared): 360°, 12 m range), and vibration (acceleration).
MultiSensors also detect suspicious activity (sabotage) and come with a connection for leak sensors. Data is transmitted via ZigBee® radio signals (MultiSensor RF) or ethernet (MultiSensor LAN). At Basler, the MultiSensor RF was installed with ZigBee® radio, making the system easy to upgrade and eliminating the need for structural changes.
Detailed monitoring data
A Kentix KomplettSet PRO was installed in the company’s server and telecommunications rooms by Basler’s building services staff and the experts from GEMAKOM. Thanks to the system’s plug-and-play functionality, it only took one day for the setup (including administrator training) to be complete. The MultiSensors and Alarm Manager PRO could be mounted on the wall, the ceiling, or even in the server rack. The staff then connected the devices via modular/patch cables. A SIM card (from a cell phone provider) was also required to control the system remotely and receive alarm messages by SMS.
The experts used the PC software to configure the Alarm Manager and MultiSensors with threshold values for a variety of measuring points. All collected data can be retrieved via the web server built into the device. A sleek web-based dashboard displays all statuses and allows the system to be armed or disarmed.
Using the logbook function, admins can trace the last 100 operations in the system. This information is never lost, not even in the event of a power failure. Moreover, the IT staff can view the history of MultiSensor measurement data as a graph and save the data as a CSV file. The web interface was also used to configure users and specify the recipients of alarm messages. During this configuration, the IT team stored the mobile phone number and email address of the respective users, and defined the actions they are allowed to perform. In addition to the IT team, the members of the building services staff at Basler Haar-Kosmetik are listed as authorized users, and therefore also receive critical alerts by SMS in the event of problems such as a power failure.
PRTG sensors keep an eye on the network
The team at Basler decided physical monitoring wasn’t enough, and therefore wanted to take extra precautions. Upon the recommendation of GEMAKOM, the technicians also installed the network monitoring tool PRTG from Paessler AG. GEMAKOM has been offering a combination of PRTG and the Kentix system for some time now. Today, PRTG software monitors Basler’s entire IT infrastructure (e.g., availability, bandwidth, loads, etc.), as well as the telephone system, UPSs, and Kentix MultiSensors. PRTG uses SNMP to collect information from the Kentix MultiSensors, and processes this data like all other monitoring values.
Threshold values, alarms, and the like can be managed and triggered from one central location. In the event of a failure or an exceeded threshold, the monitoring tool immediately sends a warning by email and/or SMS. If the alert gets resolved by itself, the employees are immediately informed so they don’t have to initiate countermeasures or make an unnecessary trip to the office.
“The Kentix system is a comprehensive solution for our IT and TC systems that actually exceeds our requirements,” declares Andreas Deis, a member of the IT department at Basler Haar-Kosmetik. “Our IT team is thrilled with its intuitive operation and straightforward maintenance. From an economic point of view, the system has also been worthwhile as the overall investment is much lower than the eventual costs of downtime. We’re extremely satisfied and plan on setting up MultiSensors in other critical rooms. We also envision using the system with an access control system.”
“We already had some experience combining the Kentix system with PRTG. This know-how helped us advise Basler Haar-Kosmetik,” summarizes Harald Flory, Senior IT Consultant at GEMAKOM. “The installation therefore went quickly and smoothly. The only hiccup was a bug that affected the sending of SMS notifications, but an update helped resolved this issue within a day.”
The hair of the IT team and call center staff at Basler Haar-Kosmetik is no longer turning gray when thinking about the stability and security of their systems. The all-in-one Kentix solution keeps track of all potential physical threats to the server rack and server room, while PRTG monitors the IT infrastructure and immediately sounds the alarm if a MultiSensor fails or malfunctions. The notification functions of both solutions can be used to define authorized users who can promptly take action in the event of an emergency. Thanks to detailed alerts, employees immediately know where the malfunction or failure lies, allowing them to troubleshoot with pinpoint precision and save precious time.
Founded in 1992, GEMAKOM GmbH is a system integrator that also specializes in telecommunications and IT. Among other things, GEMAKOM provides solutions for telecommunication systems, audio & video conferencing systems, and VoIP. In terms of IT, customers can choose from security solutions, unified communications systems, and server systems. The system experts also offer consulting, project planning & implementation, service, and maintenance.