Browse Prior Art Database

External Environmental Monitoring Disclosure Number: IPCOM000012856D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jun-04
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jun-04
Document File: 2 page(s) / 38K

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The present invention can span the range of using existing hardware to adding custom hardware in a computer system to monitor external environmental conditions.

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External Environmental Monitoring

The prior art of environmental monitoring has been limited to the monitoring of internal system parameters such as temperature, fan speed and system voltages. These parameters are monitored so that when predetermined levels are exceeded, the computer system can take the appropriate action to ensure that the reliability and safety of the computer system is maintained. In one example, the external air coming into a computer system for cooling purposes was monitored to make sure that the air was cool enough to keep the internal computer system temperature below a safe operating level. Depending on the over temperature condition, the computer system may give a warning that it is operating in an over temperature condition and will shutdown in a predetermined amount of time. If an extreme temperature condition is detected then the computer system will immediately be shutdown.

The same set of limits can also be applied to over-voltage conditions. At one threshold the computer system will log the occurrence of over voltage condition and continue to operate. If a higher threshold is reached then the system will be shutdown immediately to prevent damage to the electrical components in the computer system. This environmental monitoring is possible because of a subsystem in the computer system that operates independently from the main computing complex. We refer to this subsystem as a service processor.

The service processor is a complete computing subsystem that has its own program stored in ROM. There is also a CPU, RAM, I/O and the capability to send and receive telephone messages. This subsystem is designed such that it runs all the time providing there is AC power applied to the computer system. The service processor acts as a supervisor that watches over the main computing complex, even when the main computing complex is powered down.

The main idea of the present invention is to take advantage of existing hardware to monitor adverse conditions within the external environmental area in which the computer system is physically located. In addition to taking advantage of existing system hardware, the present invention can be expanded by adding sensor hardware to the computer system that can sense conditions in the external environment from within the co...