Remote data center management has now become the point of focus for several reasons.
The present competitive global economic scenario is exhibiting new challenges for companies.
Remote Data Center Management – A Few Thoughts
Here are a couple of key ones.
- The business must be online without interruption 24 x 7 x 365
- Ecommerce transactions must be consumer friendly, secure and effective
As one small and medium business manager pointed out, “We have to work under an “always-on” environment. Any interruption to information access can spell disaster”.
This manager’s comments are bang on.
A research study has reported that even a few hours of downtime can result in a loss of millions of dollars in revenue and productivity.
With data centers becoming the hub of most organizations’ daily operations, data center hosts cannot compromise on network availability and continuous data access.
But this is more easily said than done.
Data center operations today have become ever more complicated, thanks to a combination of new and legacy equipment.
For a contemporary data center it is not unusual to have an assortment of entry level and enterprise class servers running myriad operating systems.
“It is a challenge to deliver faster and continuous access to business information, enhance uptime and recover disasters in quick time”.
With these complexities it has become imperative for IT managers to be proactive in delivering performance.
In such a scenario, remote data center management appears to be a good solution.
But first let us try to understand what this term means.
Remote Data Center Management is all about guiding and regulating of data center services by skilled and expert IT staff. Such supervision can include remote trouble shooting, help in racking and stacking new equipment, and more.
Why are such services becoming necessary?
Today the trend is to centralize computing resources. Moreover virtualization has enabled data centers to have more machines than ever before in a limited physical space. And to top it all, computing environments have become extremely dense necessitating huge amounts of bandwidth and storage.
Managing such a scenario is a challenge even to the most technically sophisticated companies.
What is the answer?
There may not be a single or a defined set of solutions.
To put in place an effective remote management plan, IT managers decide which devices to manage when and how, the tools that must be used and the required supporting hardware.
But here are a few solutions that can be considered.
Out- of- band management
This is a type of device or system management wherein an alternate and a dedicated network connection is used allowing the administrator to ensure setting up of trusted channels.
This is unlike in-band management where reliance is entirely on server availability to manage servers.
Here are a few situations where out- of- band management can be required:
- The server goes low in resources resulting in the network becoming very inefficient
- The server hangs
- The server power goes off
- The server is not fully booted or initialized
- An OS component is not supporting in-band communication
It goes without saying that IT administrators must take control of their IT assets and office space layouts.
With data capture, it is possible to know where assets are located and how devices are interconnected.
Good remote management service provides a unified view of physical resources across multiple data centers so that clients can optimize energy utilization and infrastructure resources.
To summarize, managing a data center focuses on the following three issues:
- Data Center facility challenges – This can include infrastructure, capacity, availability, and efficiency.
- Business requirements – Managing cost effectiveness, regulatory compliances, coping with higher density and increase in demand.
- External demands – Eco & Green initiatives, virtualization, IT outsourcing.
Improving the data-center efficiency is important because it results in concrete benefits to business enterprises.
But defining the state of a data center requires some thought.
We must bear in mind the following two notions while evaluating the tangible state of data center efficiency.
- There is no unified barometer that defines movement from one efficiency state to another. This is because a data center is a potpourri of servers, storage systems, HVAC, software and tools, rules and regulation, and employees.
- The roadmap of a data center is not fixed. The objective may change as per the requirements of the business.
No one solution must be considered sacrosanct. Remote data center management solutions must be applied in a flexible manner based on the specific company need.
In the final say, remote data center management must achieve the following objectives:
- Minimize day to day expenses and the time required to maintain the data center
- Facilitate better management decisions by communicating the right information to the right people at the appropriate time.
- Optimize use of existing infrastructure and resources and enhance system availability.
Remote data center management has the potential to lower the manual complexity of a data center and ensure availability requirements.