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Remote Data Center Management

Remote tools have been somewhat lackluster, and only able to handle certain types of problems

It’s just been an accepted fact of the life of an IT professional (and of a data center manager in particular) that sometimes you have to go into the data center to fix things. A single phone call at 3 a.m. means you’re tooling down the road half-awake, hoping to find an open coffee shop on the way to the data center so you can approach the problem with at least some semblance of logic and attention.

Remote tools have been somewhat lackluster, and only able to handle certain types of problems. While you can probably connect remotely to restart a given virtual machine or a server, there are countless data center components you can’t access from home.

In particular, some data center components just seem to get left in the dust when it comes to remote management. These include:

  • UPSes
  • AC Units
  • Low-level network equipment

In some environments, even servers, routers, and switches go unmonitored.

Convenience and cost
Part of the problem isn’t that these devices aren’t capable of being managed remotely; the problem is that the remote management tools are either not installed or not configured.

This makes sense, to some degree. When you’re pricing out equipment, it’s easy to drop that “remote maintenance” line item. After all, remote maintenance doesn’t affect the equipment’s core functionality. And, while remote management can reduce downtime by making it so that you don’t have to drive into the data center, you know that it won’t make a difference during staffed hours.

For other equipment, remote management capabilities exist but simply aren’t turned on. Configuring remote management is an afterthought, one that rarely produces action.

Developing a remote management strategy
Remote management can improve your uptime, and it can even improve staff morale. To make the most of remote management, however, you need to develop a remote management strategy.

This involves several steps:

  • Identify remote management candidates. Not every piece of equipment can or should be managed remotely.
  • Document remote management functionality and procedures. Make sure your data center staff know what can be accessed remotely, and how.
  • Implement the appropriate remote management solutions. When necessary, acquire the additional hardware required.

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Unitiv, Inc., is a professional provider of enterprise IT solutions. Unitiv delivers its services from its headquarters in Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, and its regional office in Iselin, New Jersey, USA. Unitiv provides a strategic approach to its service delivery, focusing on three core components: People, Products, and Processes. The People to advise and support customers. The Products to design and build solutions. The Processes to govern and manage post-implementation operations.