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Infrastructure Monitoring: Your Key to Data Center Success

By: Kaylie Gyarmathy on July 14, 2020

Data centers have come a long way from being little more than warehouses for computer servers. Today they are a complex connectivity ecosystem that provides organizations with access to connectivity and networking resources that were once available to only the largest enterprises. Infrastructure monitoring platforms and tools have played an essential role in this transformation.

What is Infrastructure Monitoring?

Once an organization decides to place servers and other equipment in a data center environment, it needs to be able to monitor those assets over time to evaluate their performance and status. The last thing an IT team wants is to lose visibility into their essential infrastructure, which could potentially endanger data and mission-critical applications. Failing to identify performance issues could also result in much higher operational costs as well.

Infrastructure monitoring uses a combination of intelligent sensors and sophisticated machine learning analytics to track key performance metrics like power and bandwidth utilization. The ability to place Internet of Things (IoT) sensors practically anywhere makes it easy to gather data from the data center environment. That data can be fed into software that uses complex algorithms to evaluate how resources are being utilized as well as what maintenance and changes may be necessary in the future.

Why is Infrastructure Monitoring Essential

Today’s organizations understand the value of data when it comes to making business decisions. Data center infrastructure monitoring provides that data, delivering a level of transparency that was unthinkable until very recently. In many instances, it provides data that the average IT department has never been able to see before. From the data center’s standpoint, infrastructure monitoring technology helps to streamline data center operations and provide the best possible value to its customers.

That’s why any company that’s considering outsourcing its infrastructure to a colocation data center needs to pay close attention to the level of infrastructure monitoring the provider offers. Unfortunately, not every colocation data center has made the investments to develop and implement a world-class infrastructure monitoring solution. Even worse, some of the companies that do have them keep these tools to themselves, depriving their customers of the ability to assess and adjust their infrastructure for optimal efficiency.

5 Benefits of Data Center Infrastructure Monitoring

1. Better Power Efficiency

One of the most important concerns for any data center deployment is power efficiency. That’s because the amount of power being used by colocated servers is often the driving factor in billing. If power utilization spikes unexpectedly, it could drive costs up significantly. Without infrastructure monitoring, however, it can be difficult to identify the reasons for those power fluctuations and optimize the deployment to accommodate them. Sustained power increases can also be an indication that it’s time to increase capacity by adding new hardware. When an organization can’t actually see how much power it’s using, making infrastructure and capacity decisions is reduced to little more than guesswork.

2. Improved Bandwidth Utilization

Much like power utilization, bandwidth is another key driver in data center costs. If bandwidth continues to peak over a period of time, it could be an indication that demand has increased enough to necessitate additional bandwidth. But without robust infrastructure monitoring, it’s difficult to know the entire story. Real-time intelligent monitoring can not only provide notifications of fluctuations, but also makes it possible to see when those increases occur and give some indications about what can be done to manage them to rein in costs.

3. Enhanced Support

Few things worry IT professionals more than getting a late-night weekend call to go reboot a server. When something goes wrong, it may not be immediately obvious where the problem is located. That could mean inspecting every piece of hardware manually to identify the error and get the network back up and running. With sophisticated infrastructure monitoring, IT personnel can get a fast and accurate view of what hardware is functioning properly and which assets are experiencing difficulties. When their facility also provides remote hands services, they don’t even have to travel to the data center to resolve the problem. A infrastructure monitoring portal like vXchnge’s in\site platform even allows customers to issue and track support tickets in response to infrastructure monitoring alerts.

4. Reduced Server Sprawl

When organizations migrate data into a colocation environment, they often transfer the inefficiencies of their existing solution along with them. Server sprawl is one of these problems. A byproduct of inefficiency, server sprawl occurs when computing resources within a deployment are unavailable due to poor optimization. It can result in multiple servers running at only a fraction of their potential. Unfortunately, they’re consuming far more energy than their modest workloads would suggest. Infrastructure monitoring can help to identify these problems very quickly by flagging assets that are using far more power than their actual performance would seem to suggest.

5. Improved Lifecycle Management

While most computing hardware has a lifecycle around five years, the individual components of an IT deployment were probably not procured at the same time. That means organizations need to continuously evaluate where that hardware is in its lifecycle to avoid having equipment fail unexpectedly. Thanks to infrastructure monitoring, they both easily catalog their equipment and use sophisticated analytics to evaluate its overall condition. When hardware begins to experience performance issues or reach a certain stage of its lifecycle, alerts can be issued to indicate it needs to be serviced or replaced. By making this process more predictable, infrastructure monitoring tools can help organizations avoid unexpected failures and the damaging downtime that comes with them.

Transform Your Infrastructure Monitoring with vXchnge

Infrastructure monitoring is a critical component of vXchnge’s colocation services. It’s the reason we developed the revolutionary in\site platform, which delivers unparalleled transparency and control to our customers. Thanks to in\site, vXchnge customers can manage every aspect of their deployment remotely, right down to data center access control. With the ability to set customized power and bandwidth alerts and get a real-time view of the data floor, our customers have access to the data they need to make better business decisions when it comes to their infrastructure. To learn more about the power of in\site, talk to one of our colocation experts today.

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