The Increasing Need for Remote Monitoring, Management, and Maintenance – Part 118 min read

by | Oct 28, 2020 | Blog

Data centers are designed, built, and operated for one purpose – to reliably and securely host the compute, storage, and network resources providing the digital services upon which we are all now so dependent on in our daily lives. To sustain this, both now and in the future, remote monitoring, management, and maintenance of these sites is becoming increasingly important.

Edge Considerations

This high level of service is often delivered by sites with multiple levels of equipment redundancy, a very comprehensive preventative maintenance plan, and dedicated data center engineers based on site in shifts 24/7. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. These high (possibly unreasonable) expectations around uptime/availability cannot automatically apply to smaller, remote dark sites which are the standard Edge model. As Edge deployment gathers pace it is important to recognize that these sites are typically remote and unmanned.

We therefore need to consider new approaches to providing support for these sites in order to deliver the levels of reliability and availability that customers now expect from their digital services. This can be achieved if all applications and data hosted within a site have multi-site resilience such as site failover or genuine synchronous replication. However, this too will not be the case in all Edge sites and therefore raises a challenge. How do we maintain the continued availability and expected level of reliability of Edge sites when they are remote and without onsite staff?

This consideration becomes even more important when there are not only no permanent staff onsite, but also all site-based activities are being outsourced to a 3rd party. The inevitable response to this leads us directly to the requirement for more effective remote monitoring tools and intelligent management systems which can provide the information detail and accuracy to achieve the levels of reliability and availability that all customers demand.

Remote Monitoring Requirements

The increasing move towards distributed, digital infrastructures and hybrid environments incorporating Edge has been one of the most significant shifts in the data center sector recently. This complex estate can only be properly managed with access to accurate and reliable information to manage all sites, especially remote sites. This requires the use of more effective remote monitoring tools and intelligent management systems incorporating advanced features such as 3D simulations, knowledge-based algorithms, trending and prediction of potential problems or impending capacity constraints. All using Machine Learning and analytics to gather vital data, interpret it, and accurately display the resulting information.

Genuine ROI also remains a hugely important factor. These systems cannot be more expensive to buy, install, and operate than the savings or benefits that they offer. Historically, this has been the case but fortunately progress has been made with some of the more recently developed lightweight solutions. Intelligent systems with significant predictive capability and automation built in as standard, offering genuine insight and useful resolutions to issues detected are now available and affordable.

Aligning Stakeholders

In a world where IT systems are becoming more distributed, Edge deployment is increasing, and IoT is making its mark, data center operators should be taking a data-centric approach (with the data they are capable of collecting) to managing their sites, both local and remote. Facilities and IT managers need to work more closely together, using shared data sets with common management and monitoring tools from a number of vendors. These vendors also need to align and integrate their offerings by sharing data to better accommodate distributed management needs.

Aligning IT, Facilities, and other business stakeholders using effective remote monitoring and management tools can also produce a competitive advantage. This would allow the transparency and information necessary to be able to properly manage hybrid architectures and solutions. Increasingly, these will include both public and private cloud deployments, legacy infrastructure and systems, as well as remote unmanned Edge installations.

Real-time monitoring, data-driven optimization.

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Mark Acton

Mark Acton

Independent Consultant | Non Executive Director, EkkoSense

With over 25 years of experience in the Data Centre sector industry, Mark has been a specialist in the field of Data Centre Operations for over 20 years, concentrating on the delivery of business critical services from highly reliable, world class Data Centres having 24x365 availability expectations. This has included consultancy and technical advice as well as senior management roles responsible for service delivery and both strategic and operational management within the industry. A Technical Operations Manager with extensive international experience and solid technical skills covering Data Centre Facilities Design, IT and Facilities Operational Management with Technical Consulting.

A regular public speaker, conference host and industry advisor on data centre technical issues, currently acting as consultant and Non-Executive Director for leading data centre operators and solutions developers as well as being involved in International data centre Standards development.

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