Many companies are now compelled to change the way their businesses operate due to the disruptions brought on by the pandemic. Various technologies have helped individuals and businesses through the various lockdowns and have kept life and economies moving. However, as companies continue to adapt to these changes and embrace a more remote working culture, different gaps are being discovered within their IT infrastructures.
To find out more, DSA interviewed Xavier Surentherathas, Regional Sales Director for Park Place Technologies¸ who explained that with these trends, the monitoring and maintenance of data centres have evolved into a time-intensive process, which causes many issues.
“We are seeing more pervasive use of digital solutions, from Zoom meetings and distance learning to online banking and video streaming”, added Xavier, citing that implementing such technologies has increased infrastructure complexity. Whereas a decade ago, IT hardware was consolidated into one, or relatively few, centralised locations, today’s enterprise IT environments have become highly diverse. Data centres now have a wider variety of architectures and disparate hardware installations.
On the other hand, he said companies that are going through their cloud transition, exert new pressures on network operations and place platforms, applications, and data in additional locations. There is also the co-location trend that serves as an attractive alternative for businesses to own and operate data centres, but still allows control of these off-site assets. And lastly, the expansion of edge computing that sees significant edge hardware deployments in retail, manufacturing, health care, and other sectors.
When these trends ran headlong into the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous issues quickly emerged and the gaps in IT infrastructure kept on increasing. Xavier then named examples of some of the issues. “It takes a disproportionate amount of staff time to manage the impacts on network bandwidth, among other effects. IT staff also had minimal physical access to hardware due to travel restrictions, shelter-in-place requirements and work-from-home policies”.
According to Xavier, IT investments were also hampered by spending freezes and cost control initiatives. This affects the higher-ups in companies, as “it pressures CIOs to offer the CFO a new perspective on which tech costs are presently needed and which can be done without. Many CFOs may be unaware of which IT costs to reduce without a collaborative conversation with the CIO”.
Taking a DMSO Approach to Manage Critical Infrastructure
Xavier explained that Park Place Technologies responded to customer input and to help them solve these issues, came up with a new technology service category – Discover, Monitor, Support, Optimise (DMSO) – a fully integrated approach to managing critical infrastructure. He added that the demand for DMSO is fuelled by a healthy and growing infrastructure market, estimated by industry analysts to reach $228 billion by 2023 (inclusive of dedicated and shared equipment and services).
DMSO allows companies to maximise uptime, create cost efficiencies, enable greater infrastructure control and visibility and enhance asset performance. It offers a complete view, up and down the technology stack, including hardware, operating systems, networks, databases, applications and the cloud for customers to:
Discover – Holistic, accurate listing of data centre assets across OEMs, with automated IT asset discovery and dependency mapping and comprehensive coverage of servers (physical, virtual and cloud), desktops, edge devices and peripherals.
Monitor – Server and storage monitoring hardware (storage, server and network) and software (OS Monitoring, Linux, Windows, VM).
Support – Event filtering and remediation for hardware, operating systems and network hardware (predictive/proactive alerting and ticket integration) OS remediation (patch management, updates) and network incidents (management, configuration, root cause).
Optimise – Enable client efficiencies and ensure uptime with capacity management, CPU utilisation and cloud cost controls).
For companies to avoid performance declines and the costly downtime continuity measures due to delayed failure recovery, Xavier said that the answer lies in improved remote management. “More powerful remote monitoring and maintenance capabilities reduce the need for physical access to networking, server, and storage hardware – an important factor in a public health crisis.”
An intelligent monitoring application, like Park Place’s ParkView Hardware Monitoring, for instance, allows businesses to establish a baseline of what normal data centre operations “look like” at the hardware level and integrate predictive analytics to alert IT staff when changes indicate potential failure. With such tools, possible outages can be more accurately assessed and proactively managed when data centre access issues may come into play.
This is undoubtedly helpful for companies to deal with unexpected events, and they can slash the time and investment in deploying staff to visit satellite offices and other remote sites to check in on and maintain hardware. “It dramatically decreases the amount of time IT teams spend identifying hardware faults, triaging issues, and managing the fix process with their support providers. It also leads to faster, more accurate fixes, and reduce or eliminate cost associated with downtime,” Xavier explained.
Xavier described that the “next normal” in industries will see businesses wanting their physical infrastructure to be operated by large dedicated providers who can run their data centres safely and at scale. “And so, with DMSO, businesses across all industries can experience a digital infrastructure that is easier to manage, more agile and better able to respond to business needs, while also delivering greater efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the process”.