Intel relies on Xerafy RFID for its 17 data centers around the world, with RFID tracking deployed for 60,000 IT assets in more than 900 rooms worldwide. The Program Manager shares seven best practices for the successful deployment of RFID for Data Center and IT Assets management.

Identify main pain points

"The accuracy of our IT asset database was abysmal before RFID,” says the Program Manager. “We only had information for 70 to 80 percent of the fields we wanted to complete, and our location accuracy was even worse.”

The company previously tracked IT assets with paper forms and barcode readers, depending on the facility. The processes were so time-consuming that complete asset audits were impossible. Instead, the company would audit 10 percent of the assets in any data center quarterly and extrapolate an inventory report based on the results.

RFID system slashed the time needed to take inventory so much that the company can identify all of its assets

The RFID system slashed the time needed to take inventory so much that the company can identify all of its assets instead of a 10 percent sample and perform audits more often to keep records up to date. Inventory is almost immediate. One can do a whole room with RFID in less time than it used to take to inventory 10 percent of the items manually. Plus, one has 99 percent accuracy in the asset database.

Learn from the best

There have been a lot of RFID success stories for IT asset management. Learn from them and don’t reinvent the wheel. Work with experienced providers, and follow the best practices and recommendations created by impartial industry associations such as the Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC).

Train, train, train

Training is important for best practices to become adopted throughout the organization. When the Program Manager toured the company data centers, he found that slight differences in how workers used handheld RFID readers made a big difference in their productivity.

After watching one colleague take five minutes to inventory a room, the Program Manager demonstrated how it could be done in 30 seconds.

Prepare for a lot more information

Intel leveraged Xerafy RFID to find more assets and to capture complete information on each one

Intel leveraged Xerafy RFID to find more assets and to capture complete information on each one. Inventory processes have become fast and require so little labor time that the company conducts audits more often. This all adds up to more data going into databases and software applications.

Legacy systems often aren’t prepared to handle the amount of data IT systems provide, so planning, testing, and integration are essential.

Select tags carefully

The Program Manager evaluated many tags, from several vendors. He rates size and sensitivity as the most important tag attributes for IT asset tracking.

Some tags had larger antennae so one could read them from farther away. That’s not what one needs in a data center because when one is reading a rack, one doesn’t want to get spillover from four racks away. The system allowed to have an accurate picture of where assets are in a room. One can isolate a server to a rack in a large data center in 77 seconds; it used to take 5 minutes.

Go for custom RFID tags

Xerafy’s Pico on-metal UHF RFID tags could be customized for optimal RFID performance in data centers worldwide

Intel selected Xerafy’s Pico on-metal UHF RFID tags, which meet EPCglobal Gen 2 and FSTC standards and could be customized for optimal RFID performance in data centers worldwide. The tags have provided outstanding performance and accuracy, even when inventory is being taken in rooms with thousands of tagged assets with hardly any space between them.

Xerafy had the smallest tags, and they were willing to work with on tuning so Intel could get exactly what it needed. It needed that size and flexibility to make this work.

Think total assets, total lifecycle

The Program Manager plans to get more value out of its RFID program by being creative to track more assets and track them throughout the entire lifecycle. Think beyond the office or the data center products like the Xerafy Titanium Metal Skin and other Xerafy RFID innovations make it practical to track laptops, smartphones, and other mobile assets.

And innovation comes also from services, with the company taking advantage of source-tagging, with all new equipment it purchases from its IT suppliers arriving with pre-encoded RFID tags already applied.

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