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Kell adds remote monitoring and control for portable servers

Kell Systems has launched a remote management system specifically designed to monitor and control the environmental conditions of its server enclosures.

Kell Systems is based in Buckinghamshire, and claims to provide companies with a real alternative to building a dedicated computer room. Its range of “Portable Server Environments (PSEs)” are essentially a server cabinet that looks like a cupboard. Kell describes them as "air-cooled acoustic server rack enclosures."

The advantage of this approach is that a server rack can be sited in an open-plan workspace, without the worrying distraction of noisy servers, or the need to go to the expense of building a climate controlled room.

"It is our outrageous noise reduction capabilities that are our key feature, not the looks," said Tim Walsh, founder and CEO. "We achieve a 98.5 percent noise reduction, which means you can have these things sitting right next to you in the office."

"It has taken us four years to design it," Walsh told Techworld. "Anyone can make a box surrounding a server, but getting enough air into the enclosure without the sound getting out, that is the challenge that we have had to be overcome. We really are the only company of its kind."

Indeed, Kell boasts a blue chip customer base including Adobe, BAE Systems, BBC, Google, NASA, NATO, Rolls Royce Aerospace, Shell and Walt Disney.

And Kell has now launched what it calls an "EnviroBot", which comes in a single 1U rack-mount device, to remotely monitor and manage these PSEs, including cabinets situated offsite.

Using a single web interface, EnviroBot gives a system administrator the ability to securely control remote power management functions, allowing for example, individual hardware devices to be powered on and off by remote command.

The EnviroBot also monitors critical environmental elements of the PSE installation in real-time, sending an immediate email alert to the administrator if an "abnormal" environmental event is detected. This could for example be if a UPS switched over to battery power, or if the server enclosure is broken into.

Environmental aspects can also be monitored including, server enclosure humidity levels, internal and external enclosure temperatures, cooling fan system status, UPS status and intruder detection.

Walsh says it is this ability to do all the above in a single device that makes EnviroBot stand out from other environmental monitors such as APC NetBotz and NetCommander, both of which can be used in Kell’s PSEs.

"With Netbozt, what you don't get is the ability to cycle a server if a server locks up. You need a separate device in order for Netbozt to control power, which can be an expensive bit of kit," said Walsh. "With EnviroBot, you get environmental monitoring, remote control, and power management in a single box, controlled by a single interface. We don't know of any others who have put it all in the same box."

Walsh also pointed out that as standard EnviroBot has a second temperature sensor. "Other products monitor the temperature around the device itself, but this doesn’t tell you the temperature of the room itself."

"For example, by just monitoring the rack, you can't tell if the room's air conditioning has failed," said Walsh. "The second temperature sensor of EnviroBot monitors the air coming into the rack, so you can monitor the room temperate. With other products, this is a separate device."

The EnviroBot has two models. The EnviroBot 12M master unit with 12 x IEC320 power outlets, 1U rack-mount, costs £1,245 (excluding VAT). The EnviroBot 12S slave unit connects via RS232 to model 12M, adding 12 x IEC320 Power Outlets and costs £895 (excluding VAT).

Meanwhile an entry level PSE starts at £1,300, and ranges up to £3,300 depending on rack size.

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