Server Room Temperature Monitoring using SNMP Sensors

server room temperature monitoring
5 min

Server Room Temperature Monitoring is always a hot topic for MSPs and IT administrators. Afterall, the server room hosts some of your most critical networking equipment including the server. Many of you want to know what is the best tool for server room temperature monitoring.

In our opinion, Domotz is the perfect network management software for server room temperature monitoring. You can easily configure the software to send alerts when SNMP temperature and humidity values rise or fall. 

To help you understand more, find below a five-step guide on how you can easily set-up Domotz and SNMP sensors for server room temperature monitoring.

What this guide covers: 

What do you need to start with server room temperature monitoring?

To start monitoring server room temperature, you’ll need to check the recommended standards.

To start monitoring server room temperature with Domotz, you need:

By the end of this article, you and your team will be able to get alerts when environmental sensors, such as temperature and humidity, are beyond or below a certain thresholds.  

Let’s start.

There are several different temperature and humidity sensors on the market. In many instances, you can also find uninterruptible power supplies and power distribution units (PDUs) that will have external sensors available for temperature and humidity as well. Vertiv Geist Watchdog 15 Environmental Monitor is commonly used in server room environments. The process I’ll walk through to enable this device in Domotz is similar to other solutions.

Firstly, set up the sensor for proper network connectivity. In this instance, the purpose is to enable the sensor with Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP). 
Domotz will discover your humidity sensor within 30 seconds.  As a result, you can easily access the agent through Domotz connections tab. In this step, you can take note of the sensor’s IP address so you can access it directly through VPN on Demand.

While on the sensor’s configuration page, set the SNMP community strings to known values. In this case, and this is common with many systems, you can leave the default public/private community strings. If you are in a business environment with security concerns, you should strongly consider disabling SNMP v1/v2c and enabling the more secure SNMP v3. For this example, knowing the community strings will be enough. You can check out our article about what is SNMP v3.

Server Room Temperature Monitoring Vertiv Dashboard 2

If you choose to use Vertiv, you’ll find out they have a nice view of the SNMP page. They provide a link to download the Management Information Base (MIB) files. You’ll also receive a CSV file showing the specific OIDs for this device. You need to download the MIB to load it into your MIB browser to validate the readings. We have a blog post explaining how to find SNMP OIDs for monitoring.

After configuring the sensor for the network, you have to validate the MIB/OIDs. 

For this purpose, we can use iReasoning’s MIB Browser. It works well and is free for personal use.  

Let’s say you install the temperature/humidity sensor in your IoT Lab, which can often be offsite. In such a case, you can leverage Domotz’s VPN on Demand to use the MIB browser to gain direct access to the sensor. Create the VPN tunnel. Next, input the sensor’s IP address (noted earlier) directly into the MIB browser. You can also load the MIB library from the sensor’s SNMP configuration page.  It is OK not to load the MIB library, but then you will not see the names associated with the variables. It will only provide you with the OIDs, making it less human-readable.

After inputting the sensor IP address and selecting Walk, the MIB browser will return the complete list of OIDs available to this sensor:

It’s easy to see that the sensor’s temperature, humidity, and dew point are correct at the bottom of the list. 

In case you are curious about the numbers, use the CSV file and the MIB libraries description. If you look better, in this case, they tell you that the integer32 number is representative of 1/10th degrees, so in the reading from my sensor, 986 is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. Healthy for a human but a little warm for a cabinet/rack.

Image of current reading for SNMP temperature sensors: 986 is 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit

Now that you have found and validated the OIDs associated with the sensor,  you can open your Domotz software and find the device:

Domotz dashboard - updated

Open the “SNMP” tab to set up the individual sensors. Use the “Add an SNMP Sensor” button to select potentially available OIDs from common MIBs. Alternatively, you can manually define an SNMP sensor. 

After several hours, you will see how Domotz aggregates data from these sensors. You’ll also get access to a historical graph of the values available in the user interface:

Aggregating data on the Domotz dashboard for SNMP temperature and humidity sensors - updated

Provide a sensor name and description that you’ll use in Domotz. This name and description should be readable and understandable to you and your team. Copy the OID from the MIB browser, place it into the OID section, and select “Numeric,” as this is a numbered result. 

Note: You may notice a “.1” added to the end of the OID, compared to the OID and Description associated with the CSV/MIB Library. With the way that MIBs and OIDs work, the “.1” shows the result for this OID. Domotz needs the “.1” to read the result. You should also note that Domotz does not require the “.” to be placed at the beginning of the OID string.

The next step is to add the humidity and dew point sensors similarly. After returning to the SNMP page of the sensor, you can see that Domotz collects data associated with these sensors:

Domotz dashboard aggregating SNMP temperature and humidity sensor history data over several hours
SNMP sensor data aggregated over a period of several hours in a historical graph on the Domotz dashboard

Under the Alerts section of the sensor, you can set up a custom alert:

Setting up alerts for server room temperature monitoring from the Domotz dashboard - updated

Scrolling down the page, you’ll find the SNMP Sensors section. By clicking “configure an SNMP Alert,” you will see the sensors associated with the device you’ve just created:

Viewing the SNMP sensor associated with the device from the Domotz dashboard - updated

In this example, we took the temperature sensor and set an alert to trigger when the sensor “is greater than” 105.  We gave it a name to be human-readable and clear when the alert comes across in an email. Remember that we measure the sensor in 1/10th-degree increments as a quick reminder. In our example, the Domotz event triggers to 1050.

In the screenshot below, you can see that the SNMP sensors section has an email alert associated with this event:

Choosing notification preferences for SNMP sensor alerts when temperature and humidity values rise and fall - updated

You can set up SNMP sensor triggers to Shared Alerts similarly.  
With Shared Alerts, you can automatically open tickets and send notifications through Webhooks, such as Microsoft Teams, Slack, and more. You can also send general emails as appropriate.

Setting up shared alerts when server room sensors humidity and temperatures values rise or fall - updated

Closing thoughts on Room Temperature and Humidity Monitoring with Domotz

To sum up, setting up Domotz for server room temperature monitoring it fairly easy. Use our network monitoring system to receive notifications whenever a room’s humidity and temperature values rise or fall. 

This is a perfect feature for keeping the critical gear stored in a server room safe from the elements.  

Start your free trial and use Domotz on various agent platforms such as Windows, Raspberry Pi, Ubuntu, Synology, our Domotz box, and more. 

Further reading:

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