Paessler protection for historic machines
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The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) has partnered with network monitoring company Paessler to protect some of the world’s most precious historical artefacts currently housed in Block H on Bletchley Park.
These artefacts, which date from the 1940s to the present day, have played a key role in shaping the technology we rely on today and can function only in specific environmental conditions. Any changes in temperature, humidity, light and even noise can cause damage or machine failure.
Prior to implementing Paessler’s PRTG technology, museum staff would manually have to ensure each of the 14 galleries and rooms achieved the appropriate conditions. However, with the help of PRTG Network Monitor, the museum has been able to automate the monitoring of the environmental conditions.
In each room, Paessler helped install Sigfox-ready monitoring devices to measure a variety of atmospheric conditions - temperature, humidity, UV light levels and noise. Each device can be set to monitor the specific requirements for the resident equipment and alert staff if particular thresholds are approached. As they form part of an IoT (Internet of Things) network, the device recordings are accessible online, meaning authorised users have constant access regardless of their location. The results are displayed in a dashboard, which can be viewed from any device. System Admins can set up alerts so if thresholds are close to being breached, staff are informed ahead of time.
Andrew Herbert, chair of The National Museum of Computing, said: “Although Block H, the home of TNMOC on Bletchley Park, was designed as the world’s first purpose-built computer centre in 1944, at that time there was, understandably, little awareness of the environmental conditions required by the new machines. Today, we need to try to conserve these technologies for decades to come and to exploit today’s knowledge to do so.”
Christian Zeh, Senior Technology Manager at Paessler, said: “The monitoring network at TNMOC is one of the more unusual we have designed and installed, but the need is clear, and the benefits will be felt for generations to come. PRTG offers TNMOC an affordable and easy-to-use monitoring tool which ultimately saves the museum staff significant amounts of time.”
Andrew Herbert concluded: “The solution is very elegant and will help in so many ways. I’m quite sure the computing pioneers would have grasped the benefits immediately. Like our code-breaking wartime predecessors, we have had our unwelcome environmental incidents, but at least now we will receive prompt and timely alerts to help us mitigate developing situations. That frightening night-time incident during the war when the Colossus room flooded would have been easier to manage had our predecessors had the advanced humidity alert that we have today.”
About Paessler AG
In 1997 Paessler revolutionised IT monitoring with the introduction of PRTG Network Monitor. Today over 200,000 IT administrators, in more than 170 countries, rely on PRTG to monitor their business-critical systems, devices and network infrastructures. PRTG monitors the entire IT infrastructure 24/7 and helps IT professionals to seamlessly solve problems before they impact users.
Our mission is to empower technical teams to manage their infrastructure, ensuring maximum productivity. We build lasting partnerships and integrative, holistic solutions to achieve this. Thinking beyond IT networks, Paessler is actively developing solutions to support digital transformation strategies and the Internet of Things.
Learn more about Paessler and PRTG at www.paessler.com.
Follow Paessler on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
About The National Museum of Computing
The National Museum of Computing, located on Bletchley Park in Block H, one of England’s ‘irreplaceable places’, is an independent charity housing the world's largest collection of functional historic computers, including reconstructions of the wartime code-breaking Colossus and the Bombe, and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.
The Museum runs a highly successful Learning Programme for schools and colleges and promotes introductions to computer coding amongst young people to inspire the next generation of computer scientists and engineers.
Sponsors of the Museum have included Bletchley Park Science and Innovation Centre, Fujitsu, InsightSoftware.com, Paessler AG, Sophos, Issured, Lenovo, Bloomberg, Ocado Technology, Ceravision, CreateOnline, 4Links, Google UK, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, FUZE and BCS.
The whole Museum is open to the public from 12 noon - 5 pm on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, spring and summer Bank Holidays. During long school holidays, there are additional opening days. The Colossus and Tunny galleries are open daily. Public and private Guided Tours are available and bookable online – see the website for details. Educational and corporate group visits are available by prior arrangement.
Please note: the Mainframes Gallery is currently closed for refurbishment and is expected to be re-opened in April.
For more information, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook.
Stephen Fleming, Palam Communications, for The National Museum of Computing