Think of the biggest challenge you have with your data center investment. Is it transparency when it comes to compliance? Or maybe you have no access to performance metrics of any type. Perhaps you’re facing a greater issue yet, one informed by all those details, such as a lack of control over your mission-critical infrastructure.
Whatever challenges came to mind, it’s likely a reminder of another. After all, managing your data center investment can feel like a juggling act and a whack-a-mole game rolled into one. Without the proper tools and coordination, that struggle isn’t one you can win. But armed with data center visibility, you have a shot at the prize: peace of mind when you think about your data center investment.
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The Right Tools for Data Center Visibility
What capabilities do you need? A better understanding of compliance would be nice, to start. Overall data center visibility. A way to submit support tickets. A security that makes sense for the value of your data. And of course, the ideal is having control of your investment writ large.
Your business can have all of that. If you really want to manage your data center investment as effectively and efficiently as possible, you need an infrastructure management platform that works from where you are. (Consider the awareness and time savings of logging in to a platform to manage your data center, vs. waiting for an update or announcement email.)
With the right intelligence platform at your disposal, your investment stays in your hands. And since your infrastructure keeps your company running, that’s right where it should be. Let’s dig into what you should do once management is really in your hands. Here’s how you can best manage your investment using a platform.
How to Manage via an Infrastructure Monitoring Platform
While there are lots of individual tools to examine, every great management effort requires organization. So let’s start with the broad concepts. To really be in control of your data center investment, you need two major things from your platform: access management capabilities, and overall visibility. As everyone in data management knows, access really counts, so we’ll begin there.
Manage Data Access
One of the scariest parts of a distributed data infrastructure is just the feeling of being off-site. But if you could plainly address role-based access from your platform, that feeling gets a little less chill-inducing. (It becomes mere goosebumps once you have both a disaster recovery plan and a support team who can expedite your data center management in the case of an event.)
The ability to manage role-based controls within your platform helps you not only achieve security but also identify ways to optimize. You can help people do their jobs more efficiently by limiting their access or providing access they require.
Additionally, every department can benefit from data protection and management tools. For example, you might integrate with your payment system for securing your invoices and payments directly within the platform. Just like you can limit access for your employees, you can limit your billing contacts to only view billing and order transaction information that’s relevant to them. When you’re managing through a platform, customizability at this granular level helps you keep complete control over user authorization.
Furthermore, access control assists with both usage and compliance. Controlling who has access to bandwidth usage information, compliance reports, and of course, your data center, will ensure information stays where it’s supposed to, and will help maintain compliance across departments.
So, who should have access to your platform, and at what level? It’s recommended to have 2-3 master administrators per account. This way, if one master administrator is away on vacation or unable to access your platform, there’s at least one other master administrator who can make adjustments as needed. Ideally, a platform that instantaneously accepts changes is ideal, meaning you don’t have to worry about old team members having continued access after you’ve changed their authorization settings.
One last benefit for compliance: Proof of access history when it comes to audits is invaluable. Access to a thorough log of user history and records makes sure you can prove certain employees were completely removed from the data center or access was removed or added at a certain time. Your compliance department will be grateful for this level of transparency.
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Monitor Physical Assets
Managing your physical assets from offsite is a feat, and one a solid infrastructure intelligence platform will help you achieve. But keeping tabs on your assets isn’t as easy as simply checking a report once a day. Active management may be required in order to manage efficiently and effectively.
We suggest monitoring the status of your various data cabinets and ensuring all of your data assets are in order. With just a few clicks, the right platform should let you see whether you need to make any changes. Ideally, you’ll be able to view your data center floor plan, with clear signals available for power utilization information in real time. Power utilization is obviously critical information, but you can go even deeper, checking in on individual cabinets and the assets they hold.
Real-time information on the contents of your cabinets, in addition to the ability to add or delete assets on the fly, is a huge time-saver when it comes to asset management. If you, like us, take data center visibility to the next level, you’ll want continuous asset monitoring. Manage via an RFID tag and scan system for thorough asset verification, an incredibly useful tool for any business that moves data around.
Once again, let’s not forget the compliance benefits of physical asset management. If you can see your cabinets’ status and contents, and even create customizable hard copy reports on those contents, managing for compliance isn’t the stressor it always has been.
Reports like that are just the tip of the iceberg. To manage your data center investment from a platform, you’ll want more than just compliance reports. Usage reports, for starters, can be especially useful.
The ideal infrastructure intelligence platform provides all the reporting and insights you would expect to see within your own facility without the need for you to physically travel to your data center. Your business will quickly see the value in having this level of visibility into your power, bandwidth, and more.