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  • Data Center Monitoring: Raised Temperatures, Riskier Management

    Data Center Temperature Monitoring: Raised Temperatures, Riskier Management

    In 2008, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) published new environmental guidelines for datacom equipment. They increased the high-end temperature from 77°F to 80.6°F.

    The guideline chart below shows the changes in more details:

    data center guideline chart

    According to the 2008 guideline, the recommended operating environments could not ensure optimum energy efficiency. There are varying degrees of energy efficiency within the recommended zone, depending on the outdoor temperature and the cooling system design. Thus, the guideline suggests, “it is incumbent upon each data center operator to review and determine, with appropriate engineering expertise, the ideal point for their system”.

    Patrick Thibodeau, reporter at computerworld.com, conducted an interview with Roger Schmidt, the IBM chief engineer for data center energy efficiency, about how the new temperature parameters will influence energy savings and data center cooling. When asked “how much heat can servers handle before they run into trouble”, Schmidt replied:

    “The previous guidelines for inlet conditions into server and storage racks was recommended at 68 degrees Fahrenheit to 77 Fahrenheit. This is where the IT industry feels that if you run at those conditions you will have reliable equipment for long periods of time. There is an allowable limit that is much bigger, from 59 degrees Fahrenheit to 89 degrees. That means that IT equipment will operate in that range, but if you run at the extremes of that range for long periods of time you may have some fails. We changed the recommended level -- the allowable levels remained the same -- to 64F to 81F. That means at the inlet of your server rack you can go to 81 degrees -- that's pretty warm. [The standard also sets recommendation on humidity levels as well.]”

    He also revealed that 81°F is a point where the power increase is minimal, because “raising it higher than that [the recommended limit] may end up diminishing returns for saving power at the whole data center level.” In fact, according to GSA, it can save about 4% to 5% in energy costs for each degree of increase in the server inlet temperature.

    Too much humidity will result in condensation, which leads to electrical shorts. According to GSA, “based on extensive reliability testing of Printed Circuit Board (PCB) laminate materials, it has been shown that conductive anodic filament (CAF) growth is strongly related to relative humidity. As humidity increases, time to failure rapidly decreases. Extended periods of relative humidity exceeding 60% can result in failures, especially given the reduced conductor to conductor spacing common in many designs today.” The upper moisture region is also important in protecting the disk and tape from corrosion. Excessive humidity forms monolayers of water on device surfaces, providing electrolyte for corrosion. On the other hand, too little humidity will leave the room electro-statistically charged.

    After the new standards were published, it would take time for the data centers to update their operating rooms. According to Schmidt, IBM started using the new guidelines internally since 2008, and some other data center probably would step it up two degrees at a time. To run near the new ASHRAE temperature limits means a higher risk environment for staff to manage and requires more operational expertise. According to 2013 Uptime Institute survey data, nearly half of all data centers reported that their systems ran at 71°F to 75°F. 37% of data center reported temperature from 65°F to 70°F, the next largest temperature segment. The trend to warmer data centers is better revealed by the fact that there were 7% data centers operating at 75°F or above, compared with 3% in the year before.

    Free IT Monitoring Guide


    References:

    ASHRAE, “2008 ASHRAE Environmental Guidelines for Datacom Equipment” http://tc99.ashraetcs.org/documents/ASHRAE_Extended_Environmental_Envelope_Final_Aug_1_2008.pdf

    Patrick Thibodeau, “It's getting warmer in some data centers”, 07/15/2013. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9240803/It_s_getting_warmer_in_some_data_centers

    Patrick Thibodeau , “Q&A: The man who helped raise server operating temperatures”, 07/06/2009. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9135139/Q_A_The_man_who_helped_raise_server_operating_temperatures_



    Written by:

    Ivory Wu, Sharp Semantic Scribe

    Traveling from Beijing to Massachusetts, Ivory recently graduated with a BA from Wellesley College in Sociology and Economics. Scholastic Ivory has also studied at NYU Stern School of Business as well as MIT. She joins Temperature@lert as the Sharp Semantic Scribe, where she creates weekly blog posts and assists with marketing team projects. When Ivory is not working on her posts and her studies, she enjoys cooking and eating sweets, traveling and couch surfing (12 countries and counting), and fencing (She was the Women's Foil Champion in Beijing at 15!). For this active blogger, Ivory's favorite temperature is 72°F because it's the perfect temperature for outdoor jogging.

    Chris Monaco Temperature@lert

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  • Essential Tech Check List: Building & Retrofitting Your Server Room

    Whether you're building a server room, adding on, or moving equipment there are many considerations to mull over. From the basics to alarm systems, it is important to ensure your server room is efficient and to protect your mission critical equipment. Previously in our blog, we have addressed the issues surrounding the microclimate present in your server room; however, it is critical to have an understanding of how a server room should be laid-out and managed. Use our check list as a guide for promoting security, efficiency, and productivity:

    Our Essential Tech Check List

    (1) Your Basics of Space

    • -Examine the layout of the space and how many units of space you have to work with.

    • -The walls (including ceiling) and doors should isolate the sounds that your equipment is creating.

    • -Check to see which way the door opens. There should also be no windows or other entry points other than the doors in the room.

    • -Consider the floor and whether your equipment will need raised flooring. Aim for anti-static floor finishing to prevent an unwanted static charge.

    • -Make sure there is enough clearance for racks and that they are stable enough to hold your equipment.

    • -Check for aisle clearance too, make sure your have enough room for exhaust to escape and not over-heat nearby equipment.

    • -Think about whether you need ladder racks, cabinets, shelves, patch panels, or rack mounts.

    • -Take into weight and size of each piece of equipment into consideration when designing the layout.


    (2) Keeping Your Cool

    • -Check and see what type if centralized cooling is available, whether an under the floor air distribution or an air duct system.

    • -If there is no centralized system available, get an air conditioner or cooling unit that is able to keep your equipment working productively while minimizing energy consumption and costs.

    • -If at all possible, fresh air vents are great and save on energy costs and consumption!

    • -Remove any and all radiators or other heating equipment currently present in the room. You don't need to add heat at all!

    • -Monitor your cooling system(s) to make sure it is working properly, especially when no one is there.

    • -Make sure your cooling units are not too close in proximity to your electrical equipment, think condensation and flooding. Do not place air conditioning units over your servers.

    • -Monitor the humidity to prevent static charge and electrical shorts.

    • -See if a chilled water system is in the budget or find something within the budget constraints to ensure that the hot air has somewhere to go.

     

    (3) Using Your Power

    • -Check to make sure that you have enough outlets to support power to all your equipment and not to overload them.

    • -Get backup power, preferably UPS to prevent data loss from power blinking or outages.

    • -Don't surpass the maximum electrical intensity per unit of space.

    • -Consider shut down capabilities of equipment (SNMP traps for example).

    • -Make sure your equipment is grounded.

    • -Monitor for power outages if you are not using back-up power systems.

    • -Monitor your back up power systems to make sure your mission critical equipment is not failing due to power loss.

     

    (4) Keeping Secure & Safe

    • -Have at least one phone present in the room in case of emergencies.

    • -Either check for a preexisting fire alarm system and install one if there isn't.

    • -Get a fire suppression system if there is not one there. Take into consideration of whether you will have a wet or dry suppression system and the effects that will have on your equipment. (Halon is a great choice!)

    • -Have reliable contacts to help resolve issues immediately, or form a system of escalation.

    • -Monitor for flooding, especially if this has happened historically in the past.

    • -Secure entrances/exits, this is expensive equipment with critical data, you don't want just anyone in there messing around!

     

    (5) Other Considerations

    • -Get the best cabling/wiring available within budget constraints. 

    • -Keep extra cabling/wiring around, because you never know when you may need it.

    • -Consider color coding wires/cables, a little more work now but definitely a time-saver in the future!

    • -Think about lighting: location & heat produced.

    • -If there is someone sharing the space, get them some earplugs! It's going to be loud in there with the equipment being used.

    • -Consider networking/phone lines being run in there and how much space you have left after that.

    • -Plan for future expansion or retrofitting (again).

    • -Leave the service loops in the ceilings.

    • -Label outlets.

    • -Get rid of dust, your equipment hates it!

    • -Check if you have a rodent/pest problem.

    • -Cover emergency shutoff switches so that it can't be accidentally triggered.

    • -Try to centralize the room in the building so that you can eliminate having to use more cabling/wiring than you need to.

    • -Meet OSHA and ASHRAE guidelines as well local codes.


    Is your server room or do you know of someone's server room that is not being monitored for temperature? Are you concerned with energy consumption, ability to monitor off-hours, and/or preventing mission critical equipment from failure? If you or know someone who is experiencing such issues, we want to hear form YOU!

    We will be giving away ONE FREE USB DEVICE per month to the server room with the most need! Valued at $129.99,Temperature@lert USB Edition is a low-cost, high-performance device that monitors the ambient temperature in your server room and alerts you via email when the temperature rises or falls outside your acceptable range.

    Please send a brief description, pictures, and/or videos to diane@temperaturealert.com for consideration! Our team will select one winner each month based on description and need, because we firmly believe that companies in every industry 


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  • Top 3 Reasons to Monitor Your Server Room / Data Center

    It's 2013, a new year with a smaller budget and of course a higher expectancy for better equipment efficiency. In order to have this higher level of efficiency while meeting budget constraints, you would need to essentially extend the lifespan of your equipment. Expanding the lifespan requires a monitoring system that would ensure your equipment is operating in an acceptable range of environmental conditions. Here are our Top 3 Reasons to Monitor Your Server Room / Data Center:

     

    (1) Protect Your Mission Critical equipment from Failure

    The humming of servers is generally a good indicator that equipment is working diligently. However with the increase in productivity, comes an increase in temperature created by your efficient equipment. Although ASHRAE did increase the temperature envelope to 80.6°F for data centers, many still try to push the envelope in order to promote higher efficiency while trying to lower energy costs and usage. To achieve this, you would need to use less coolers and chillers yet still run equipment at a high rate of productivity; such as Google's Data Center in Belgium, which has been deemed Google's most efficicent data center.

    Innovative approaches to running your server and other technical equipment at a higher temperature have greatly improved productivity levels while lowering energy costs. However not every company has the budget for the latest in server room and data center technology. Less technologically innovative servers that try to run at higher productivity in hotter climates can fail, resulting in damaged or melting equipment as well as data loss, not to mention unhappy IT people crammed into that hot room as well.


    (2) Inability to Physically & Personally Monitor After Hours

    In the IT realm, servers are most certainly mission critical; however, servers are rarely viewed as a life or death matter. Considering how much data and information has been collected and stored, these pieces of equipment surely serve an important purpose to all. After all, technology is the backbone supporting a company's operations nowadays.

    Just like a human cannot function at high efficiency without a healthy spine, it is very difficult for a company to function productively without technology in such a tech-savvy timeBut since servers are not often seen as mission critical by ones outside the IT realm, there is a lack of a budget for monitoring these servers. Often overlooked and forgotten, there is rarely a person designated to monitor after hours when IT staff have left for the day. This often leaves these pieces of mission critical equipment unmonitored, resulting in not only informational loss but financial loss as well: During 2009, an estimated $50 million to $100 million losses occurred due to environmental issues going unmonitored!


    (3) Be Green Friendly: Lower Energy & Costs

    With decreased budgets presented and increased efficiency expected along with meeting green and sustainability initiatives, IT staff are forced to make due. This means working in hotter enviornments in order to run machines at full productivity levels while not over-using the air conditioning, cooler, chiller or HVAC systems. Even Google's Data Center in Beligum uses only fresh air to cool off the equipment. Despite the risks of high temperature, many must make these choices in order to meet departmental changes.

    By at least monitoring temperature, you can help extend the lifespans of your servers. Considering the fact that running them at higher temperatures is a must, making sure your servers are not working in too hot of an environment is therefore crucial. At some point, the envelope will be pushed to such an extent that equipment will malfunction and even melt. By efficiently limiting use of cooling & HVAC systems, you would save in costs and lower energy consumption while still protecting your mission critical equipment. By using temperature monitoring equipment with SNMP traps, you would even be able to program in a shut down mode for your equipment if the temperature threshold has been breached.

    By taking the initiative to meet all the new requirements ranging from budget to sustainability by doing temperature monitoring, you will be able to prevent disaster instead of having to clean up melted server. Learn more from our FREE E-Book on Temperature Monitoring:

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  • Is Your Food Ripe for Bacterial Growth?

    Refrigerators, freezers, steam tables, and food prep areas are all known sources of bacterial growth when proper temperatures are not maintained. Of course there are paper logs and thermometers that you can place in these areas, but what happens when that person who is supposed to be monitoring is absent, or if the thermometer malfunctions? Who ismonitoring the system for monitoring?

    When a temperature monitoring system is not fault tolerant, this leaves food and beverages dependent on proper temperature storage extremely vulnerable for bacterial growth. Cooking food at the proper temperature is not the only determinant for killing bacteria. Even after food is cooked for prep, they are stored in a food prep area such assteam trays that must be maintained at 150°F in order to prevent bacterial growth. Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria are some of the bacteria that can grow when cooked food drops below 135°F.

    For cold food storage, the maximum temperature is 41°F. Anything above this can cause bacteria growth. Failure to store food within temperature thresholds is a critical health violation found in many restaurants, cafeterias, and other areas for food service when proper temperature monitoring procedures are not followed.

    Although temperature monitoring is frequently overlooked, we cannot overlook the effects caused by lack of monitoring.Besides spoilage and contamination, there are the health effects such as gastrointestinal symptoms, vomiting, GI issues, and diarrhea. A single strand of bacterium can cause such stomach upset, due to the fact that no one is monitoring the monitoring system. This is when a fault-tolerant system comes in handy!

    Fault-tolerant systems would be able to alert you of temperature issues before one arises. Not to mention, it would alleviate the pressure of frequently checking temperatures when one does not have the timeLearn more about proper food storage from our FREE Cheat Sheet in Food Service Monitoring!

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  • Tip: Considerations for Effectively Monitoring Refrigerators, Freezers, and Coolers

    Whether you're monitoring ice cream or vaccines, storage temperature plays a significant role. After all nothing could be worse than walking into a large puddle of melted/spoiled product or even worse damaged research materials. Although it is easy to hope that refrigerators, freezers, and coolers actually stay at a  consistent cold temperature, many do not plan for equipment malfunctions nor power outages.

    No one or company is exempt from such a harsh reality, for example Harvard's McLean Freezer's recent incident. Their freezer, containing brains for research on Autism and other neurological conditions, had malfunctioned causing 150 brains to decay and decompose. A loss of this magnitude is not only financially damaging but has potentially set back research on neurological conditions for a decade. This type of research material damage, illustrates that you truly cannot put a price on proper storage.

    The CDC (Center for Disease Control) estimates that 17%-37% of vaccinations are improperly stored. Not only members in the medical and pharmaceutical industry are effected but members of the food and beverage industry suffer from malfunctioning cooling equipment. As our Facebook Fan, Chris Stepanian noted, "I can't see why every restaurant and food distributor doesn't have [a Temperature@lert device]".

    For refrigeration needs, we suggest either our WIFI or CELL device. The CELL has a backup battery that can transmit even during a power loss. Our WIFI is also an excellent option if you currently have an implemented
    UPS backup power as well. Either device combined with our temperature sensor can help you monitor more efficiently and alert you to any problems. Specialized sensors and accessories are available as well, such as: stainless steel tipped temperature probes for submerging in liquid, expanded range probes for cryogenic temperatures, and buffer vials so you do not set off false alerts for when the cooler door is opened.

    By preparing for potential disaster, you can feel secure knowing that Temperature@lert is there for you when you need it and there when you can't be there. Does that sound like an exaggeration or an overstated guarantee? We can assure you that it is not. Temperature@lert is working whether you are working or not. Our devices work whether you are awake or asleep because we strive to be the most innovative monitoring system for our users.

    Unfortunately, our team has heard story after story about loss through improper storage and Harvard's incident is not just another rare mishap. It is always better to avert disaster in the first place than to prepare better for the next one. If you would like to learn more about proper storage, please check out our complimentary e-book.


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  • Tip: The Importance of Baselining for Setting Up Your Device

    Often we receive inquiries about our recommendations for the appropriate temperature thresholds to set. However, at Temperature@lert we know that every room or refrigerator has its own microclimate (even sensors inches apart can read different values). Although similar applications might share the same temperature threshold range, every location is unique.. So how does one figure out the correct range?

    Essentially in order to determine the right thresholds for your environment, you need to acquire adequate baseline knowledge. This process is called "baselining", which involves monitoring the room or refrigerator first to establish a history of normal conditions.

    To begin, set up your Temperature@lert device to start recording temperatures. Next, determine the amount of time needed for temperature collection. Depending on your application, this could vary significantly. For instance, server rooms, refrigerators and freezers change temperature very quickly. Running the baseline for a few hours is usually sufficient. Whereas items with large thermal mass, such as a house, change temperature much more slowly and base lining may require 12-24 hours. By adjusting the time of the base lining activity your device can pick up any deviations from the norm caused by compressors, sunlight, air conditioners and other environmental factors. After reviewing this data set, you'll see the natural highs and lows of the environment. Using this data, you can then setup appropriate thresholds to more accurately reflect real world conditions and reducing false alarms

    By following this method, you will achieve the proper range for your Temperature@lert devices. If you have any questions please email us at support@temperaturealert.com, we're always here to help!

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  • From Cryogenics to BBQ Smokers: Expanded Range Temperature Sensor Launches Today

    What do cryogenic freezers, solar thermal collection systems, BBQ smokers, and astronaut ice cream makers all have in common? 


    They all require temperature monitoring in extreme temperature ranges. With today's release of our Expanded Range Temperature Sensor, this accessory is an excellent addition to either the Cellular, Wifi, or Solar Editions. 


    The probe measures between -200°C to +600°C. This opens the doors of possibility to monitoring critical temperature ranges for everything from biopharmaceuticals to the perfect rack of BBQ ribs. 


    For more information and photos, please review our press release:

    Temperature@lert Releases Expanded Range Temperature Sensor



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  • The Food Safety Modernization Act: Why is it Important?

    On January 4, 2011, in an effort to prevent food borne illness, the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act was signed into to law. One portion of the law states:

    “The owner, operator, or agent in charge of a facility shall, in accordance with this section, evaluate the hazards that could affect food manufactured, processed, packed, or held by such facility, identify and implement preventive controls to significantly minimize or prevent the occurrence of such hazards and provide assurances that such food is not adulterated under section 402 or misbranded under section 403(w), monitor the performance of those controls, and maintain records of this monitoring as a matter of routine practice.”

    In other words, if during processing, packaging, shipping and storing of a food there are potential hazards to the food’s quality, counter measures must be implemented. Likewise, records, which can be checked by the FDA, of the monitoring must be maintained

    This is another reason why temperature monitoring is important. Let’s say you were refrigerating meat. To ensure the quality of the meat, steps would have to be made to ensure that the refrigeration temperature stays within acceptable limits. In addition, records of the meat’s refrigeration temperatures must be recorded. A temperature monitoring system could do this for you by sending alerts when temperatures go awry and log its readings for record keeping.

    To get a better idea of what types of temperature monitoring products and services are available, take a look at our products page. If you need more information, drop us a line at info@temperaturealert.com

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  • Temperature@lert Expands International Support for Cellular Edition

    Leading Temperature Monitoring Solution Now Offers Mobile Support in Europe, Australia and Canada

    BOSTON, Mass. – April 11, 2011 – Temperature@lert, a leading provider of real-time, cloud-based environmental monitoring solutions designed to enable businesses to mitigate temperature-related disasters, has expanded the reach of its Cellular Edition beyond the United States into Europe, Australia and Canada. Temperature@lert’s Cellular Edition, available in the U.S. since 2008, is a cost-effective, enterprise-grade product that provides alerts to multiple parties via e-mail, text message and phone calls. Connected to a mobile network, the cellular product stays online even during a power outage, making it ideal for businesses for which temperature monitoring is a critical function.

    Temperature change is a significant threat to companies around the world, especially in data centers, biotechnology/pharmaceutical/medical facilities and companies requiring cold storage. Temperature@lert’s temperature monitoring solutions provide both real-time and historic views of a location’s temperature through alerts and cloud-based temperature records at set intervals. This allows for speedy reaction to potentially disastrous temperature fluctuations, as well as historic temperature logs for regulatory and internal reporting purposes.

    The Cellular Edition contains Sensor Cloud technology, which stores a full report of monitored temperatures in the cloud for accurate record keeping and easy access. A plug-and-play solution, monitored data appears in the cloud once the device is connected to power—no phone line or Internet connection needed. The cloud system allows the user to view current temperatures and set email, text and/or telephone alerts for multiple threshold ranges. Additionally, users can merge alerts for power loss events.

    Temperature@lert’s international expansion means that companies with locations around the globe can have a complete view of their facilities on one Sensor Cloud screen, facilitating reporting and regulatory requirements and ensuring the integrity of on-site assets. These companies will be able to provide fault-tolerant monitoring of their critical environments via cellular networks at a lower price point, as well as accommodate more parameters than ever before.

    “There is global demand for cellular-based temperature monitoring, and this expansion takes the products proven in the U.S. to key international locations,” said Harry Schechter, founder and CEO of Temperature@lert. “The need to preserve a steady temperature in at-risk areas, coupled with the potential for disaster should electricity be unavailable, make the Cellular Edition a crucial tool for the data center, as well as biotech, pharma and medical companies and commercial refrigeration assets. This is only the beginning of global availability for this battle-tested product.”

    For more information about Temperature@lert, please visit www.temperaturealert.com.

    About Temperature@lert

    Temperature@lert’s temperature monitoring solutions provide both real-time and historic views of a location’s temperature through alerts and cloud-based records of temperatures at specific intervals. This information allows customers to immediately react to potentially disastrous temperature fluctuations, as well as provide temperature consistency for regulatory and internal process control requirements. Temperature@lert has more than 10,000 devices installed in over 40 countries around the globe. For more information, please visit www.temperaturealert.com.



    ###

    Media Contact:
    Megan Lane
    SHIFT Communications
    (617) 779-1854
    temperaturealert@shiftcomm.com

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  • 3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Ensure Accurate Temperature Monitoring

    “Why is the temperature on my thermostat different than my Temperature@lert?”

    We get asked this question a lot.  Your thermostat may display one temperature while your Temperature@lert sensor might display something different.  How can that be? It's because temperature in any location is a constantly changing 3 dimensional gradient.To ensure accurate temperature monitoring, ask yourself:

    What am I trying to monitor the temperature of?
    It seems like a silly question, but what are you actually trying to measure?  Are you trying to take the temperature of the air in a room?  Are you trying to measure the temperature of food in a refrigerator?  How will your monitoring system be set up?  These are factors to consider when looking at temperature monitoring systems, because some are designed for specific applications and environments.

    What kind of thermometer do I need for my monitoring? 
    This question will help you decide what kind of temperature monitoring you need.  Some thermometers have accuracy of within 0.01 degrees Celsius, while others may be within 10 degrees Celsius, so depending on what it you’re measuring, one might be more effective than another.

    You may also need calibration/measurement certifications.  For example, when storing certain foods or vaccines, you may be required to have documentation showing that your temperature monitoring is accurate, so check to see if certification/calibration is available for the system you choose.

    Am I effectively measuring what I think I’m measuring?
     Let’s say you need to measure the temperature of a room. If your sensor is not positioned correctly, you will receive readings correct for that specific spot, but which may be wildly different than the rest of the room. To prevent this, ensure your probe  is not close to a heater, a window that gets a lot of sunlight, or a drafty window?  Today's digital sensors are highly accurate and respond to temperature changes very quickly , so too much sunlight and/or heat can affect the reading quickly.

    For learn more about how to get accurate temperature readings, check out two of our white papers: Why isn’t the sensor reading the same as my thermostat? and Considerations for temperature sensor deployment in critical environments.

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