Intelligent Data Centres Issue 3 - Page 64

UNCOVERING THE LAYERS ADMINISTRATORS NEED A FRAMEWORK SO THEY CAN MANAGE REMOTE COMPONENTS FROM A CENTRAL LOCATION AND MONITOR THEIR STATUS. administrators to critical components such as network switches, routers, electricity distribution units and a growing number of security applications such as firewalls and encryption tools. Solutions often mean there is no need for an on-site visit and if it does prove necessary, the technician often has the right spare part or new device in hand and can resolve the issue speedily. Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) is reduced considerably. Business continuity at the hardware level: automatic monitoring and troubleshooting But out-of-band management has advantages beyond urgent crises. It 64 Issue 02 also makes it possible to identify and resolve issues automatically even before they affect local data traffic. Modern solutions integrate an autoresponder system to rectify network failures by using diagnostic and repair aids for problems that occur frequently. This means that simple tasks can be carried out automatically, for example, identifying a router that cannot be contacted, including messaging the administrator via SMS or e-mail, and rebooting the router. Out-of-band console servers can be configured so they power down critical devices properly if the rack temperature is too high or the UPS (uninterrupted power supply) identifies a power outage and battery performance drops below a defined threshold. Because of the increasing complexity of IT infrastructures due to M2M, cloud computing and the Internet of Things and in order to avoid high downtime costs, the rapid identification and resolution of issues of connectivity to distributed infrastructures has become a major task for companies. Secure remote access via out-of-band management to servers, WAN devices, network devices and power devices makes it possible to identify and resolve many problems before they impact users or systems. Administrators need a framework so they can manage remote components from a central location and monitor their status. It normally pays for itself through a few hours of downtime avoided and avoidance of the first service call. ◊ The virtual hardware administrator These self-healing measures use recovery scripts that run without human intervention. This means monitoring practically the whole infrastructure, including the physical environment such as temperature, moisture, smoke or vibrations, as well as automated power management is possible by connecting sensors. This automation installs a so-called virtual hardware administrator at every distributed site and, in addition to ensuring stability in everyday operation, it also minimises the scope for human error and the attack surface for cybersabotage. Alan Stewart-Brown, VP Sales EMEA at Opengear www.intelligentdatacentres.com