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5 Keys to Successful Remote Data Center Management

By: Tom Banta on October 20, 2020

The days of organizations keeping all data and applications tucked away in on-premise IT environments are fast coming to an end. More and more companies turn to remote data centers to deliver a level of flexibility, control, and reliability they simply can’t achieve in an increasingly virtual workplace.

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The Role of Remote Data Centers in the 2020s

Few issues have changed more dramatically in the span of a few months than questions about the role of remote data centers in 2020. While many organizations were certainly thinking about how data centers fit into their IT and network strategy at the beginning of the year, the COVID-19 pandemic has turned a long-term consideration into a much more immediate, short-term issue.

When companies shifted to remote workplaces in response to the pandemic, it was not clear how long that transition would last. Some optimistic estimates predicted no more than a few months, but work-from-home arrangements are fast becoming a more permanent arrangement as organizations are hesitant for health safety reasons to force employees to return to the workplace in large numbers. Several tech companies have extended work-from-home policies into 2021 or simply made the remote arrangements permanent. In early October, Microsoft unveiled an innovative “hybrid workplace” plan that will go into effect whenever offices reopen.

Remote data centers have a key role to play in the future of the virtual workplace. Organizations that already migrated all or some of their IT stack into a colocation data center found themselves in a much better position to adapt to the remote workplace than those still relying upon on-prem data solutions. Not only could they protect employee health, but by converting their IT spend from CapEx to OpEx, they had substantial flexibility when it came to setting up remote work arrangements and scaling their capacity.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more organizations were turning to colocation services and remote data centers as a way to meet the ever-evolving needs of the digital marketplace. For most companies, outsourcing foundational IT infrastructure (such as managing power and cooling requirements) to a colocation provider gives them a level of flexibility and control they simply could not realize by building their own on-premises solution. At the same time, remote colocation data centers provide much better security and system uptime for mission-critical assets than most public cloud platforms.

5 Keys to Successful Remote Data Center Management

1. Infrastructure Monitoring

The most important question facing any remote data center is whether or not it is delivering efficient performance in terms of power and cooling. That’s because power and cooling are the core drivers of colocation costs, so a facility that doesn’t provide much visibility into overall power utilization may not be delivering on the promised OpEx savings. With the right infrastructure monitoring platform and tools in place to deliver truly intelligent monitoring, colocation customers can get real-time data on power and bandwidth utilization to assess how well their deployment is actually performing in the data center environment.

2. Remote Access Security

Security, of course, is always a key consideration when it comes to IT infrastructure. It’s even more critical when companies need to manage a remote workforce that could be accessing their network and applications from many different (and often poorly secured) locations. There’s always the chance that a remote user will try to access data center assets either through a DCIM portal or by physically visiting the facility. With the right remote access security tools in place, however, organizations can strictly control who is authorized to do so. Since every access attempt is logged, they can also review who tried to access key assets and when they did so, which can help to identify and shore up potential vulnerabilities.

3. Remote Hands Personnel

All the visibility in the world isn’t going to do much good without an experienced, qualified remote hands team on-site to deal with problems as they develop and actively manage IT deployments. This is especially important for newly distributed workforces that are no longer able to manage their own infrastructure on-premises. They may be hesitant to hand over day-to-day management of their IT assets over to a colocation data center, but having a responsive and capable remote hands team available 24x7x365 to address any issues will go a long way toward alleviating their concerns.

4. Uptime Reliability SLAs

Today’s organizations simply cannot tolerate system downtime. Having network services go down for even a few seconds can be devastating for the reputation of a SaaS provider or could cause a financial services company to miss out on critical opportunities. When organizations entrust their infrastructure to a remote data center, they do so with the expectation that the colo provider will be able to deliver more efficient and reliable performance than they could get from the cloud or an on-premises data solution. That expectation is backed up by an uptime SLA, which defines what percentage of time a customer can expect their data and applications to be available. Most public cloud services and many data centers top out at 99.99% SLAs, which sounds impressive but actually still translates into quite a bit of downtime every year. A facility with a 100% uptime SLA, however, allows for far more successful remote data center management because they have the infrastructure redundancies to ensure data availability under almost any conditions.

5. Customizable Intelligent Monitoring

Having powerful infrastructure monitoring tools is a good start, but even the best DCIM solution may leave something to be desired if it doesn’t provide remote data center customers with customizable intelligent monitoring features. By setting customized thresholds for key cost factors like power consumption and bandwidth utilization, organizations can identify potential areas of concern long before they become an immediate problem. If a server is being overworked on a regular basis, for instance, an alert can inform the IT department that it will need to add another server soon to accommodate the growing workload demands. The notification provides time to expand capacity efficiently and cost-effectively, which is far preferable to finding out that capacity needs to expand only after a server starts crashing on a regular basis.

Go Beyond DCIM Tools with in\site Intelligent Monitoring

Not all remote data center monitoring tools are created equal. That’s why vXchnge developed the revolutionary in\site platform, a powerful intelligent monitoring solution that delivers unprecedented visibility and control over colocated assets. In addition to providing real-time data on power and bandwidth utilization, in\site also provides an interactive data floor map that shows where colocated hardware is located at any time and provides up to the second information on how it’s performing.

The in\site platform is fully integrated into every aspect of vXchnge colocation services. Users can issue and track IT support tickets, manage access, order new cross-connects, and even access copies of compliance reports with the touch of a button. It’s a comprehensive DCIM solution that puts control back in the hands of customers, where it belongs. We’re so committed to the concept of transparency that we’ve made in\site available to every customer at no additional charge. Visibility and control should be table stakes when it comes to managing assets in a remote data center, not expensive add-ons that discourage proactive management.

Experience the in\site difference yourself by signing up today for a FREE demo. To learn more about the unique features of this innovative remote data center solution, you can also reach out to one of our colocation experts.

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