Declaring Independence in the Data Center… Remote and Branch Sites too!!
With July offering celebrations for Independence around the world, from some well-known celebrations like the 4th of July in the USA to Bastille Day in France to the lesser-known celebrations of independence in Suriname, Laos, Rwanda, and Burundi just to name a few, the month seems to epitomize that sense of independence. But what about the data center? Yes, the data center, which is the center of many business’s universe; is it time to declare independence?
Well, let’s look at what data centers and remote sites are experiencing in 2019 with the help of the Uptime Institute’s recent survey and if independence is a possibility or a pipe-dream:
• Enterprise computing environments continue to grow more complex, and IT system failures and network errors are bringing down data centers in increasing numbers. Recent survey results show an increase from 2017 with 2018’s increase in outage’s having severe financial consequences.
• This sector is facing a staffing crisis. Uptime noted that 61% of their 1,100 survey participants had significant difficulty retaining or recruiting staff.
Increase in outages and staffing issues bring concerns about the data center into clear view.
Data Center Outage Severity
Let’s delve deeper into the outage issue with Uptime Institute, who has created a scale to understand the severity of data center outages that will also help you plan for the expected and unexpected.
Having a scale to understand the severity of an outage is an excellent start to building a plan to handle outages and minimize their impact on your operation. We also need to understand what causes outages. Again, Network World and the Uptime Research Institute provide a three-year analysis of Data Center Outages. (see graphic)
In 2018, two-thirds of outages were network and IT-related, which Uptime Research sees as a major change from past years. “It’s the interconnectedness of things. That’s why the big uptick in network outages is causing disruption,” Todd Traver, Uptime Institute’s vice president of IT optimization and strategy said of the 2018 spike. “Things are connected across not one or two sites, but three or four sites or more. Network is playing a bigger and bigger role in IT resilience.”
Lantronix sees this issue as a concern, but with some reasonable fixes, this can be a manageable issue.
Can outages be stopped?
No, but by using a dedicated out-of-band management network, can be a more secure and resilient approach to managing a network infrastructure as it can function even during data traffic congestion, a device glitch or network attacks. A console server in the data center, such as Lantronix SLC 8000, can be implemented with a separate dedicated network to access the network devices in case the primary network goes down.
Remote sites and branch offices also need to be part of this out-of-band network and ensure network and business continuity and remediate issues with automatic failover to a secondary network. The Lantronix SLB is a hybrid appliance combining a console manager and a PDU that provides real-time visibility and control over branch office IT equipment securely and quickly, without ever leaving your desk. This plan helps mitigate the outage issues in the data center but also addresses the second major concern in the data center: staffing.
As noted in the survey was a staffing crisis in the data center. Uptime noted that 61% of their 1,100 survey participants stated they had significant difficulty retaining or recruiting staff. The leading area of expertise that is particularly critical and yet difficult to hire for is operations and management, according to more than 50 percent of respondents. Finding people who have adequate skills in security, networking, electrical engineering, and cloud skills is also an issue. The survey numbers speak for themselves. (See graphic)
The challenge of doing more with less is not a new concept; qualified, skilled people are always needed in key areas of the data center and will continue to be needed in the foreseeable future. Though efficiencies can be made with management software that improves response time with a small staff to limiting truck rolls to remote or branch site all can be an attainable objective.
ConsoleFlow is Lantronix’s on-premise and cloud-hosted management software that provides centralized management and automated monitoring of all deployed Lantronix Console Managers and connected IT assets, along with real-time notifications, managed APIs, and data visualization dashboards. For even more efficiency, ConsoleFlow’s native iOS and Android mobile applications provide users an added level of convenience for monitoring their IT assets from anywhere at any time. This feature allows you to get instant status and access your remote equipment conveniently from your smartphone.
Now back to declaring independence in the data center! Whether we can gain full independence from the threat of data center outages seems unlikely, but with planning and the proper level of mitigation, you can decrease your downtime and, in many cases, prevent an outage before it becomes one.
What we can celebrate during these July celebrations of independence across the globe is the data centers, branch offices and remote sites have choices to improve their efficiencies and isn’t that want independence is all about – the freedom to choose.
Click here to learn more about Lantronix’s cutting edge Out of Band Management solutions.