By Francis Chu  |  Posted 2004-05-31 Print this article Print

Avocent Corp.s compact, easy-to-use EVR1500 appliance monitors environmental conditions in a server room or data center.

Although the Web-based management interface was sluggish in eWEEK Labs tests, the EVR1500 appliance is worth a look because it can support a wide range of sensors and easily integrates with a companys KVM (keyboard, video and mouse switch) solutions.

The EVR1500 is well-suited for rack-level environmental monitoring in a data center of any size, especially in high-density server farms, where preventing server and network hardware failures is imperative. The EVR1500 is also a good choice for monitoring high-security areas because it can detect motion, vibration and audio conditions.

The EVR1500, which debuted earlier this month, has a small form factor—about the size of a small router. The appliance, competitively priced at $1,195, comes standard with four internal sensors preconfigured to monitor temperature, humidity, airflow and sound levels. IT managers can quickly set up the appliance out of the box to monitor these four environmental conditions in any server room.

For larger server rooms or data centers, the EVR1500 supports eight external analog sensors, six digital input sensors and two digital output sensors. The EVR1500 can be outfitted with a large variety of sensors (sold separately from Avocent or third-party vendors) that can detect everything from vibration and smoke to open doors and broken glass.

The EVR1500 can be managed with a Web browser, which lets IT managers control the appliance remotely and monitor the environments of server rooms or test labs from afar. The EVR1500 supports Microsoft Corp.s Internet Explorer 5.5 Service Pack 2 or 6.0 Service Pack 1 with Java 2 Runtime Environment Version 1.4.2 or later.

The GUI let us configure appliance settings and sensor parameters—but not quickly. We found the user interface to have slow load times in tests, often making configuration sluggish. The appliances KVM input and dual USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports are reserved for future upgrades and werent functioning in the system we tested.

The EVR1500 can also be managed via Avocents DSView software ($750 for one user and $2,500 for up to five), but the software must be installed on the management desktop. DSView is the centralized remote-management software used to access and control data center KVM over IP devices remotely from Avocent. Companies already running Avocent KVM switches and DSView can easily integrate the EVR1500 into the management framework.

We configured environmental thresholds using the Web browser and set the system to automatically report alarms via e-mail, pager and SNMP. Reports can be generated in XML or spreadsheet format. Report files can be exported as e-mail or via FTP.

Technical Analyst Francis Chu can be reached at francis_chu@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.coms Infrastructure Center at http://infrastructure.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.


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