Remote Data Centre Management in 2021
Fri 8 Jan 2021 | Nicole Cappella
As data centre spending rebounds in the upcoming months, businesses will focus on making the best use of remote tools for data centre management. This will help them to maintain flexibility, agility, and adaptability in the face of changes to come.
Data centre spending took a major hit in 2020, as the pandemic and resulting economic uncertainty caused companies to reduce expansion and tighten budgets. According to Gartner, though, spending is expected to rebound in 2021 – to its highest level ever, reaching $200 billion USD.
A 10.3% reduction from 2019-2020 should be recovered in the upcoming year, at a record year-over-year growth rate of 6%. Tools and solutions for managing data centre services remotely will likely be responsible for a larger piece of this spending than usual, in part because recent events have highlighted the necessity for remote DCIM tools.
COVID-19 and Remote DCIM
The pandemic forced businesses to cope with enormous change; however, those companies that had remote data centre management tools available were able to deal with some of these, including:
Complete Tasks without Requiring Physical Access
The most basic function of remote data centre management tools is to allow an enterprise to conduct tasks – maintenance, process, and emergency – from a remote location.
Limit Foot Traffic in Data Centres
As social distancing requirements extend into the new year, remote DCIM helps companies limit contact between employees unless absolutely necessary.
Cope with Increased Demand
The transition to a remote workforce increased the traffic and demands placed on networks and data centres. Remote DCIM tools helped businesses manage this increased demand by supporting remote optimisations of storage and processing.
Remote DCIM Tools for 2021 and Beyond
Of course, many businesses had recognised the value of remote data centre management prior to 2020. But below are some the key DCIM capabilities businesses need to exploit in 2021.
Audit and Compliance
The regulatory landscape is constantly changing, as different countries attempt to manage cross-border data privacy and business operations guidelines. Data centres have a complex compliance burden, which can be relieved by remote and automated recording and reporting functions in DCIM tools.
With remote tools, enterprises can select the location of data centres based on what makes the best economic – and environmental – sense, rather than choosing a physical location that is convenient to staff.
Remote DCIM tools make maintenance faster and easier, because monitoring tools help technicians identify issues more quickly and address them immediately. This helps to improve the functioning of the data centre and reduce expensive downtime.
The ability to automate relieves employees of the burden of conducting routine procedures: scheduling and monitoring, patching and updating, etc. It also provides valuable insight that can be used to optimise data centre operations, processes, and storage.
Challenges to Remote DCIM Implementation
While remote data centre management can help a company to improve compliance, reduce costs, and become more flexible and agile; there are some challenges associated with introducing these tools.
If remote DCIM tools are not integrated into existing IT systems and applications, an enterprise runs the risk that tools will not be used to their full potential. And without integration, remote tools must operate in a silo, eliminating the insight that can be garnered when data can be used across several tools effectively in tandem.
Purchasing a solution can be expensive, and convincing the C-Suite to support the expenditure is tricky. The best approach is often to show the cost savings and ROI that a remote solution can deliver; but it can be difficult to quantify and prove ROI for remote DCIM tools.
With so many different options to choose from, it is easy to get lost in the selection process. Instead of focusing on features only, consider approaching the issue from the perspective of the most critical issue that needs to be solved, and then find the tools that solve that issue the most comprehensively. That can help narrow down choices to a manageable size.
To make the choice even more complex, a remote DCIM tool must be future-proofed: to meet current goals adequately, but also to scale efficiently for future needs. This may include expanding or consolidating data centres, as well as continuous optimization and orchestration of workloads and processes to manage increased workloads.
Even the best tools won’t do much good if they are not utilised by employees. Getting buy-in from key stakeholders can help to ensure that the product is used in the way it was intended and get maximum value for the expense. This may involve having a few key influencers on the selection or strategy committee: whatever works best for your organisation.
As data centre spending begins to rebound in the upcoming months, businesses will focus on making the best use of remote tools for data centre management. This will help them to maintain flexibility, agility, and adaptability in the face of changes to come.
Written by Nicole Cappella Fri 8 Jan 2021