The Importance of Data Center Monitoring Transparency
By: Ernest Sampera on October 6, 2021
Transparency is a foundational element of many business practices. While the term can be applied in a number of contexts, it generally refers to the amount of visibility organizations provide into how they conduct certain operations. Sometimes a level of transparency is required under the law. Publicly traded companies, for instance, must share some of their financial information with the general public. In the same vein, government agencies are required by law to document and make available many decisions and processes so that private citizens can review and evaluate them.
What is Data Center Transparency?
The same basic principles apply to data center transparency. A data center facility is an incredibly complex environment that needs to be monitored at all times to ensure smooth operations. Good data center managers are constantly gathering data about the state of their infrastructure and network performance. If they are committed to data center transparency, they will share that information with partners and customers. This provides visibility into how well the data center is managing power and bandwidth utilization, how its cooling infrastructure is performing, what security controls are being enforced, and where hardware assets are currently located within the data center.
For a colocation provider, data center transparency also means providing important compliance information when customers need it most. Although many providers advertise that they meet various compliance standards, they may not make those attestations readily available. If they offer remote hands services, they can also increase transparency by making it easy to communicate with technicians and track the status of work orders.
Why is Data Center Transparency Important?
Organizations place a great deal of trust in data center operations. Whether they’ve migrated assets into a colocation facility or are still managing their own on-premises data solution, their IT systems need an efficient, reliable environment in order to deliver consistent application performance and safeguard sensitive data. Without visibility into how a data environment is operating, it’s almost impossible to make strategic technology decisions or manage remote workforces effectively.
Data center transparency is especially important when it comes to colocation services. Organizations that entrust their servers and the data inside them to a colo provider want to have the assurance that they’ll be able to maintain visibility and control over those assets. The idea of losing track of where a server might be located within a facility or not knowing how much power their deployment is consuming on a regular basis is enough to make companies in any industry nervous. They also want to know who has access to those assets on a regular basis in order to guarantee high levels of security, especially if they’re responsible for safeguarding their customers’ data.
But transparency is every bit as important to on-prem and cloud-based deployments. Consider, for instance, an organization that’s running applications on servers stored in an on-premises data center. Just because the company owns and manages that data center doesn’t mean it can easily find out what’s happening inside. Without some mechanism in place for gathering key infrastructure performance metrics and tracking access to essential assets, there’s no way of knowing whether a data center is running efficiently or if it’s incurring unnecessary costs on a regular basis.
How Does Data Center Monitoring Improve Transparency?
Data center operations teams can deliver better transparency by implementing a comprehensive strategy that combines processes that promote visibility with powerful monitoring software that gathers data about infrastructure performance. This ensures that IT managers will know exactly how much power and bandwidth their systems are consuming at any given time, which allows them to assess future needs and determine where tweaks need to be made to improve efficiency. Robust monitoring tools also provide ongoing visibility into the location of vital IT assets. If a server needs to be moved for some reason, a record will be created and notifications sent out to ensure that everyone knows about it.
When applied to security controls, data center monitoring helps to create a detailed record of who is seeking and obtaining access to IT assets. This is especially important for organizations that work with multiple vendors and have several employees who might need to enter the facility. Combined with strictly controlled access lists, data center monitoring can effectively screen out anyone who is not authorized to access essential systems or dynamically grant temporary access to someone for a specified reason.
What are Data Center Monitoring Tools and How Can They Help?
Data center monitoring tools consist of a combination of sensors and software that consolidates everything that’s happening in the facility and makes that data accessible through a single pane of glass. By logging into a browser-based portal or feeding data into IT software through an API, colocation customers and IT managers can quickly access monitoring tools that provide real-time transparency into data center performance and security.
vXchnge’s award-winning in\site platform has set a new standard for data center transparency when it comes to monitoring tools. While many colocation services require customers to pay a premium to utilize limited monitoring resources, vXchnge provides every customer with access to in\site to maximize their visibility and control over their deployment.
Accessible through an intuitive web portal or versatile mobile app, in\site provides both real-time and historical data on power and bandwidth utilization to help organizations improve efficiency and assess when they will need to scale up their capacity to meet growing demand. Customers can also use the intelligent monitoring platform to manage data center access in real time, granting or revoking authorization to enter the facility or the data floor as needed. They can even obtain compliance records on-demand rather than putting in a request and waiting for days or even weeks for them to be cleared by a legal department.