Sun plans RFID system to track non-networked technology assets

Sun is planning a radio frequency identification system that will combine the abilities of its existing IT asset management platforms with RFID to track IT equipment that is not connected to a network. The system can be applied to tracking other physical assets.

Sun is planning a radio frequency identification system that will combine the abilities of its existing IT asset management platforms with RFID to track IT equipment that is not connected to a network. The system can be applied to tracking other physical assets.

Dubbed the Sun RFID Industry Solution for Physical Asset Tracking, the project uses RFID technology to determine where critical assets are located at all times. Sun said alerts can be issued immediately when the assets are not where they are supposed to be. The technology also allows managers to effectively analyse and plan asset utilisation, maintenance and deployment.

Datamonitor analyst Adam Jura said tracking assets provided a faster return on investment for RFID within businesses. "Item-level tracking in the supply chain is difficult. Asset tracking using RFID is a lot cheaper and it is easier to set up [RFID reader] networks."

The technology being developed could also help IT directors track computer equipment that is not connected to the network. IT assets may become non-networked when they are not actively connected to the network; for example, when they are disconnected and placed in a storage area, the company said.

Sun's asset tracking system is designed to extend network management to enable the physical handling of assets.

It is based on Java, using Java System RFID software packaged with third-party components and applications. Sun said it is working with a number of companies to provide components such as RFID tags and readers, as well as an RFID-enabled asset tracking and management system that users can employ to track, locate and manage assets in real time.

Vijay Sarathy, director, RFID product marketing and strategy at Sun, said the company's acquisition of integration software specialist Seebeyond would allow Sun to improve asset tracking. "With our recent acquisition of SeeBeyond, we look forward to enhancing the offering by providing a development environment from which to build and deploy process-centric applications that maximise the vast amount of information available from the asset tracking system."

No release date for the RFID Industry Solution for Physical Asset Tracking has been confirmed by Sun, although it plans to use it for the more than 10,000 servers and computing devices at the Sun Newark Shared Lab Project.

Sun said the project would allow IT managers at the site to verify the location and physical characteristics (type, age, expiration date, temperature and movements) of all assets at the facility in one hour, without the need for a network connection. Sun said it would be able to track the association of each asset to a rack footprint, section, room, building and campus.

With the ability to perform full weekly inventories in under an hour, Sun said it could now get more accurate information on a weekly basis versus what was acquired through an annual physical inventory, which was completed manually by numerous people via an outside supplier. In addition, management now has a view into the assets they have, how they are allocated, and can therefore avoid duplicate or unneeded hardware purchases.

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