Why Now is the Right Time to Deploy Intelligent Monitoring

By: Ernest Sampera on August 25, 2020

When selecting a colocation data center, it’s easy to get caught up in headline features like the size of a facility or the number of customers it services. What really matters, however, is the amount of transparency and control a data center can deliver to colocation customers. Intelligent monitoring tools are essential for delivering those features. A data center that doesn’t have truly intelligent infrastructure monitoring capabilities is little more than a warehouse for server cabinets, which is why organizations are becoming increasingly aware of these platforms.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing more and more companies to transition to a remote workforce, the ability to monitor data center assets remotely is no longer just a luxury. By leveraging robust DCIM software with intelligent monitoring capabilities, organizations can manage their colocation deployments as if they were stored in the next room rather than in a separate (and highly secure) facility.

How Intelligent Monitoring Works in the Data Center

Traditionally, colocation data centers did not give organizations much transparency or control when it came to managing their colocated assets. Part of this was due to simple technological limitations. They could evaluate how much power the facility consumed and could distribute those costs across multiple customers based on the size of their deployment, but they rarely offered true transparency that gave an accurate picture of performance.

The development of versatile Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, machine learning analytics, and modern data center infrastructure has fundamentally transformed the way facilities are monitored. Today’s intelligent monitoring platforms provide a broad range of information about colocated assets, allowing data center customers to get a real-time snapshot of how their deployment is performing and where opportunities for optimizations can be found.

Essentially, intelligent monitoring technology works by constantly scanning the data center environment to evaluate where power is going and how much power and cooling each asset is using. It also tracks every piece of equipment and is continually monitoring authorizations, work orders, and various IT support requests. Most importantly, all of that data is collected, analyzed, and presented in digestible format through a single portal customers can use to manage their deployments.

Data Center Power and Colocation Costs

For many colocation customers, the big question about intelligent monitoring is how it impacts their costs. After all, cost is one of the key factors behind many data center migrations into a colocation environment. Transitioning from an on-premises solution to a colocation facility allows organizations to shift their IT expenses from CapEx to OpEx, which affords them much greater flexibility in terms of their budgeting and strategic decisions.

Intelligent monitoring platforms are capable of delivering real-time data on power utilization. Unlike many cloud-based solutions, which can leave companies scratching their heads each month wondering why their hosting bill keeps fluctuating, colocation customers with access to intelligent monitoring tools can identify the specific details of their increased power usage. Perhaps they launched a new service and its success is taxing their infrastructure, which may call for expanding their capacity. Or maybe their applications are working harder during a specific time of day and need to be optimized accordingly.

Armed with real-time data, colocation customers can make better, faster decisions to keep their costs under control and help them to maximize opportunities.

Better Monitoring Equals Better Server Uptime

In addition to giving an accurate picture of power consumption, intelligent monitoring tools can also provide a real-time view of bandwidth utilization. This makes it much easier for an organization to see when the demand for online services is at its highest. If bandwidth only spikes occasionally, there may not be a problem, but if those spikes are occurring frequently or if the overall utilization remains high, it may be time to provision more bandwidth to keep pace with demand.

The ability to track power and bandwidth usage helps organizations avoid the devastating effects of system downtime. Rather than finding out they need more power or bandwidth when their systems go down, they can instead evaluate their infrastructure needs through intelligent monitoring tools. The ability to identify when increased capacity is needed as well as locate and address problems before they become unmanageable is essential to maintaining high levels of server uptime.

Evaluating Infrastructure Monitoring Tools

Although colocation providers are beginning to see the value of intelligent monitoring, not every infrastructure monitoring tool is up to the task. That’s why colocation customers need to be very thorough when evaluating a potential data center partner to ensure that the facility will offer the level of transparency and control necessary to make the most of intelligent monitoring data. There are a few factors, in particular, that every organization should be looking for.

Is Intelligent Monitoring an “Add-On” Service?

Entrusting a third-party data center with essential IT equipment is a major decision for any organization. There is always a fear that handing over servers will translate into a lack of control when it’s needed most. Intelligent monitoring platforms can address these concerns, which is why they should be considered a baseline “table stakes” colocation service. Colocation customers should not have to pay additional costs for the ability to monitor their own equipment.

Is it Truly Real-Time?

The ability to pull power and bandwidth utilization reports from any point in time is unquestionably valuable, but so too is being able to see what’s happening with colocated assets right now. If a monitoring platform doesn’t offer a truly “real-time” view of the data center’s infrastructure, then it may not be quite as “intelligent” as the colocation provider would have their customers believe.

Does it Provide Control?

Being able to see what’s happening on the data floor is unquestionably valuable. But being able to do something about it is what sets intelligent monitoring tools apart from more conventional infrastructure monitoring. A comprehensive monitoring solution should integrate with the data center’s remote hands team to allow them to function as a natural extension of a customer’s IT department. Issuing and tracking IT tickets and being able to find the precise location of every colocated asset allows companies to manage the data center environment as if it was their very own on-premises solution.

Is it Customizable?

As powerful as intelligent infrastructure monitoring may be, organizations can’t always spare the resources to be watching their data center deployment at all times. This is especially true of IT departments that are working hard to develop innovative new services and solutions that will drive business growth in the future. An outstanding intelligent monitoring platform should give customers the ability to customize reporting to set up notifications and alerts based on their unique infrastructure needs. Some companies might need to know when their power usage spikes, or when their bandwidth dips below a certain level. Thanks to intelligent monitoring tools, they can customize reporting and notifications to suit their specific needs so they can get back to focusing on their own customers.

Experience the Next Generation of Intelligent Monitoring with in\site

At vXchnge, we take our commitment to transparency seriously when it comes to our colocation services. That’s why we designed the in\site intelligent monitoring platform to provide our customers with the tools they need to manage their colocated assets in ways that work best for their organization. Provided to every one of our colocation customers at no additional cost, in\site allows them to view their infrastructure, issue IT support tickets, and control data center access through a single pane of glass. Customers can even use in\site to access and download compliance reports instantly. And with the new in\site mobile app, they can even manage their deployment on the go!

To learn more about the revolutionary in\site platform, sign up for a free demo and experience the power of true intelligent monitoring first hand.

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