Keeping track of high value or difficult to locate assets represents a huge challenge to a variety of industries and Information Technology is not immune. Locating servers, laptops, blades, storage, etc. can be time consuming and costly. Our guest blogger, Jackie Luo, CEO of Intelleflex partner E-ISG Asset Intelligence provides perspectives on how RFID can help. Take it away Jackie….
RFID-enabling data centers are on the way to becoming a $1 billion business. A new survey released by Frost & Sullivan says that the RFID data center market was worth $96.3 million last year, and will grow to $953 million in 2017. The declining cost and increasing performance of RFID tags are coming at the time when IT hardware asset tracking is facing significant challenges from all fronts. That’s why this represents a perfect opportunity for the RFID technology to expand its scale.
There are several forces that challenge the task of accurately tracking IT hardware assets in an enterprise:
- The shortened lifecycle of computing devices due to more frequent upgrades. The shortened lifecycle applies to not only the individual computing devices such as laptops and mobile phones, but also servers and other hardware equipment in data centers.
- The security risks posed by unrecognized devices accessing the network. These could be devices brought by individual departments that haven’t made it into the asset registry. They could be devices that have been brought to work by employees (Bring Your Own Devices).
- The regulatory requirements for IT departments to maintain accurate count of machines that have access to corporate data such as Sarbanes Oxley. There are more requirements for specific industries like financial services, government and government contractors, and healthcare.
To overcome the challenge of maintaining an accurate count of IT hardware inventory, IT departments need to find a cost effective way to conduct more frequent inventory audits. For the IT department, inventory audits have always been a big hassle, if not a disruptive task. They need to send out emails asking people to report their devices. They need to send out people to secured data rooms to monitor the manual inventory audit, which usually takes weeks to complete because IT departments are always short staffed. The servers and blades in data rooms are hard to tag because of their shapes. The serial numbers are hardly visible.
RFID tags and readers can now solve this problem cost effectively. There are passive RFID tags, such as Battery Assisted Passive tags (BAP), which cost less than active tags but have longer reading range. Their performance is more reliable around metal objects like racks and servers. With these battery assisted passive RFID tags, one can use an RFID reader to finish inventorying a data room in a couple of hours instead of a few weeks. More importantly, the process is not disruptive to a normal work day, so IT departments can perform an audit more frequently. IT departments can also tag the individual devices with these types of RFID tags. Similarly, they can also try to perform spot inventory auditing more frequently. They may not capture all the individual devices, but they will add more interim location data of these devices to the asset history.
There is still a lot of myth associated with RFID. Fortunately, most of the assumptions about the cost and performance of RFID tags are inaccurate. For IT departments, it’s time to evaluate RFID-based solutions and consider taking advantages of the technology. For more information, you can download a recently published white paper Why has the development in RFID technology made asset management more urgent?
Jackie Luo – CEO
E-ISG Asset Intelligence
E-ISG Asset Intelligence provides IT asset management solutions that track the lifecycle information of IT hardware and software. Their solutions have integrated the Intelleflex Cloud based ZEST® Data Services, and can therefore connect to RFID readers out of box. You can reach Jackie at firstname.lastname@example.org