One of the fears that keeps companies from entrusting their assets with a colocation facility is the loss of control and visibility. For all the challenges and costs associated with an on-premises data solution, companies can at least monitor and control every aspect of their network. Today’s colocation facilities, however, offer tremendous transparency through software portals like vXchnge’s in\site platform, which can even be accessed via smartphone thanks to its innovative mobile app. These tools make it possible for colocation customers to monitor a variety of data center metrics that have a major impact on their network performance.
Which Data Center Metrics Do You Need to Monitor?
Monitoring how much power colocated assets are utilizing on a regular basis can have an important impact on costs. While it’s easy to assess just how much energy a piece of hardware should be consuming, the data center utilization metrics could potentially tell a very different story. A server consuming an unusual amount of power could be an indication that it’s running too heavy of a workload. It might also be a sign that the hardware hasn’t been deployed efficiently. Poor power distribution or restricted airflow that requires more cooling resources could all contribute to escalating energy costs. By monitoring power usage regularly, colocation customers can identify potential deployment problems, assess their workloads, and identify potential hardware failures before they result in downtime.
Speaking of downtime, monitoring a facility’s uptime metrics is essential to ensuring consistent data and application availability. A data center’s SLA should establish a standard for system availability and describe what happens when it fails to meet that standard. Customers are typically entitled to some form of remuneration when performance fails to meet the SLA uptime guarantee, but if downtime events seem to be occurring too frequently, it may make sense for customers to seek another, more reliable colocation provider. Downtime doesn’t always occur all at once, and sporadic, short instances can actually be more damaging than a single, longer disruption. By monitoring data center uptime metrics regularly, colocation customers can make a more accurate evaluation of the data center’s performance over time.
Support Response Times
When something goes wrong with a network or colocated assets, customers want the problem fixed as quickly as possible. Data center monitoring software makes it possible to receive alert notifications and submit support tickets to remote hands personnel, and it allows companies to see how long it takes for those tickets to be resolved. The primary advantage of a remote hands service is being able to have someone on-site who functions as an extension of an internal IT team. They can respond to problems much faster than it would take the customer to travel to the facility in person. But if data center support metrics show that tickets are taking too long to be resolved, it raises questions about why they should be paying for the service.
One of the biggest advantages of a colocation data center is the ability to quickly scale capacity to meet escalating needs. By monitoring network traffic trends and data center utilization metrics over time, customers can determine when their servers are working hardest to meet visitor demands. This not only provides valuable data about their own customers, but it also allows them to set up more cost-effective network solutions. If there are periods of time with consistently low traffic, some servers could be powered down to reduce power consumption and cooling demands. By the same token, if there are periods of the day where high traffic is more common, customers can determine whether or not they need to provision more resources during those peak hours. All of this translates into better network performance for uses and fewer unnecessary costs for colocation customers.
In today’s fast-moving world, users expect services to be delivered quickly and seamlessly. Even a second or two of latency can cause them to move on to the next provider and never return. A byproduct of distance, latency measures how long it takes for a data signal to be transmitted from one point to another in a network. Latency is also impacted by additional factors related to connectivity. By monitoring how long it takes data to travel throughout their network, colocation customers can assess performance and identify where they could make improvements. Whether it’s incorporating edge data centers into their networks, implementing “last mile” technology, or utilizing data center cross connections to enhance performance, colocation customers can use latency metrics as a benchmark for how well they’re meeting user needs.
Colocation data center metrics provide a wealth of actionable data that customers can use to improve server and network performance while also reducing data center operational costs. By identifying shortcomings in their IT infrastructure, companies can use the tools available within a colocation facility to address these problems and eliminate unnecessary expenses. If a data center lacks the ability to provide these metrics, it may be time to seek another provider with a stronger commitment to visibility.
About Alan Seal
Alan Seal is the VP of Engineering at vXchnge. Alan is responsible for managing teams in IT support and infrastructure, app development, QA, and ERP business systems.
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