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Best practices for remote data center management

data center

Remote data center management practices have become extremely popular, due to the impact of the pandemic. From using tools to managing resources, here are some recommended best practices for remote data center management

With remote working being the norm rather than the exception, many businesses have realized the value of keeping data centers close to the user. This has resulted in a landscape that consists of traditional data centers which co-exist with edge data centers. This unique situation has also necessitated the need for remote data center monitoring, which helps data center owners operate with less number of staff. With increased demand for delivering quality access and stable connectivity to an increasing number of remote workers, data center owners today have to continuously make efforts for ensuring uptime and good performance of their remote data centers.

Based on our experience, we are recommending some of the best practices for remote data center management:

Monitor and ensure optimum temperature: In an age where data center demand is going up exponentially, data center owners have to make sure that adequate temperature is maintained. If temperature thresholds are crossed, then it can lead to breakdown of equipment. Remote monitoring tools can be used to continuously monitor the temperature or airflow of a data center and ensure that the optimum temperature is always maintained. For example, advanced warning signals such as hot spot formations can help enterprises take actions quickly before any adverse issue. Remote infrastructure management tools can help enterprises turn off or turn on devices without the need for a technician to visit onsite.  Overall, remote infrastructure management tools can help in ensuring a safe environment for the IT equipment to operate, with the help of threshold violation alerts that notify administrators if limits with respect to certain parameters are crossed.

Plan for capacity: Organizations can use remote data center infrastructure management tools to visualize and see occupied space and the resources consumed and required. For example, remote monitoring tools can identify unoccupied space and the requisite power capacity and decide if additional resources are required. Enterprises can also conduct a what-if-analysis to understand the potential impact of any additions or reductions in the data center. This is vital in today’s context where deployment of applications and usage of applications is scaling up quickly. A remote infrastructure management tool can help enterprises take a detailed view on metrics related to asset utilization, host per application and the maintenance cost of the asset. This helps enterprises take key decisions quickly, which can be a big factor in reducing downtime.

Monitor your UPS: For most enterprises, UPS systems are not tested till a power supply actually fails. In the case of a sudden power failure, it has been observed that UPS systems do not respond adequately to emergencies, which leads to downtime. For example, batteries are one of the most common reasons for UPS related failures. If batteries are monitored regularly, remote technicians can identify signs of weakness and get them replaced before they break down.  This can help in preventing downtime and improving the performance of the data center.

Use resources intelligently: Most data center facilities are large in size. If the root cause of an error is not known, then it becomes difficult for a technician to find out the exact asset which is causing an issue. A remote infrastructure management tool can help enterprises direct their key technicians to the exact place of the asset that needs a deeper look. This information can be visualized on a dashboard with critical factors such as power and environmental readings to make an effective decision. This can significantly reduce the downtime caused due to human errors.

Today, remote monitoring tools have the ability to improve the performance of data centers due to their ability to measure capacity and redundancy thresholds, which can help in eliminating any outage related concerns. Remote infrastructure management tools can also help administrators to remotely access and monitor data center equipment such as routers, servers, switches or firewalls. They can also configure, troubleshoot or reboot devices, in case of any issues. Post the pandemic, despite the recovery and many enterprises calling their employees to work from the office or data center premises, the usage of remote monitoring tools is expected to continue to accelerate, due to the higher cost efficiencies and performance gains.

(The author is Mr. Vimal Kaw, Colocation Product Head and New Site Selection Lead, NTT Ltd in India and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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