Top Four Ways to Optimize and Manage Remote IT Sites

Analytics/ Analysis

Paul AyersBy Paul Ayers, Offer Manager, Networking Solutions, Schneider Electric

If you’re centrally managing your customers’ data centers and server rooms, it’s increasingly likely

that you’re responsible for more than one site. In many cases, it may be more like 5, 50 or even 500 sites being managed centrally without dedicated IT staff at each one.

In these cases, technology must do most of the heavy lifting. Here are four tested ways that can help you to manage your customers’ sites more effectively with a centralized IT management model.

1. Deploy remote power management. Many power distribution units (PDUs) and outlet strips are now available with “smart” technology that can be controlled remotely. This enables you to remotely cycle power, shed load and sequence outlet power to ensure devices turn on correctly and safely without having to be onsite.

In practice, this means that when a server is hung, you can simply cycle its power off and on to restart it, rather than trying to walk someone on site through the process via phone or sending out professional IT help. Remote power management also enables you to ensure unused outlets remain off, so nobody will use them and risk accidentally tripping a circuit breaker.

2. Monitor environmental conditions. When you’re hundreds of miles away from a site, you have no way of knowing what kind of environmental conditions may be affecting remote IT systems – that is, unless you install probes to capture information on temperature, humidity, smoke and leaks. You can also install sensors that detect when doors open and if there’s motion inside a remote server room or wiring closet.

Such systems serve at least a couple of important purposes. For one, they’ll alert you to situations that can be potentially damaging to IT equipment, such as water leaks or unauthorized visitors. Second, with data from temperature and humidity probes, you’ll know whether the cooling and ventilation is adequate for the site and can take steps to correct any problems before they cause real harm.

3. Deploy pre-installed equipment. Racks and enclosures that can be shipped with servers and other IT equipment already installed inside are increasingly available, enabling equipment to be installed, configured and tested before shipping to remote sites. Some vendors will sell the enclosures pre-configured to spec.

Pre-installed equipment can dramatically reduce installation time since the system is already configured and validated. It can also dramatically decrease the need for onsite IT expertise during installation, resulting in cost savings.

4. Centrally manage multiple sites. A central management system can aggregate data and statistics from all sites you manage and present it in on a single console, via an easy to read user interface. A good vendor-neutral system will be able to handle all the various devices and systems, with the ability to send proactive alerts to the most appropriate people.

With such a system you don’t need to log in to each remote system individually, which gets increasingly impractical as the number and size of remote sites grows. What’s more, the systems allow for multi-user access, enabling around the clock coverage and the ability for specialists to handle their respective portions of the infrastructure.

Paul Ayers is the Offer Manager, Networking Solutions for Schneider Electric. Paul is responsible for development of integrated solutions architectures for Schneider Electric’s small IT room segment. His expertise is in solutions which include Power & Power Distribution, Cooling, Rack systems, Physical Security and Management, which improve availability, are easy to manage and adapt to changing “on-premise” IT landscapes in enterprise branches, wiring closets and server rooms.