Monitoring and Dispatch Services That Help Edge Environments
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From Internet of Things (IoT) applications to 5G cellular networks with dramatically increased capacity, we're witnessing an explosion in data traffic around the world. Much of it requires processing, and that job is falling to localized edge computing data centers that offer low latency to support real-time applications.
This proliferation of edge data centers, however, comes with another requirement: an effective means of monitoring and managing them, including the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units that are critical to uptime.
It's an important issue because the availability requirements that once applied only to our data centers, computer rooms and campus IT closets have now extended to the outer perimeters of our networks, as we support edge computing applications in an ever-broadening spectrum of environments. Our businesses and organizations — our way of life — are increasingly reliant on the speed and availability of our edge networks.
Retail environments such as pharmacies and grocery stores, healthcare and manufacturing facilities, transportation networks, educational institutions and more all have an amplified need to process data where it is generated to reduce latency, enable real-time decision-making and reduce the costs of data transfer.
Inventories and supply chains must be updated and visible in real-time; manufacturing processes must be able to respond instantaneously to changing plant or equipment conditions; self-checkout kiosks and point of sale terminals must be live to process transactions and near-field communication payments; and telehealth and remote care applications rely on highly available networks.
At the same time, the IT workforce is stretched thin with monitoring and managing traditional infrastructure, even more so in the current environment where they may be monitoring facilities from their homes or with a skeleton crew in the network operations center (NOC).
They may not even be aware of the hundreds or sometimes thousands of UPSs spread across sites and geographies. Some were acquired under their watch while others were inherited from predecessors or through expansions, mergers and acquisition activities. But they are all important to keeping edge facilities up and running.
As UPSs age, their ability to provide secure, reliable backup power may be compromised. Batteries can fail, as can moving parts such as fans. So it's important that somebody give them some attention.
That task typically falls to IT managers, who generally are responsible for maintaining high levels of availability for a growing number of edge applications. It's a struggle keeping up with the tasks that are central to that effort, including UPS asset inventory, lifecycle management and physical support of devices that live in environments void of technical staff and smart hands.
The response to this conundrum is a new service from our partners at Schneider Electric called Monitoring & Dispatch Services that are now available through WWT.
The service builds on the existing foundation of remote monitoring capabilities, including EcoStruxureTM IT Expert, which enables companies to monitor the health of all their data center infrastructure.
Schneider Electric's Monitoring & Dispatch service is a cloud-based solution that utilizes a client-side EcoStruxure IT Gateway application to aggregate device health and alarm data and push it to the cloud, where it is visible to Schneider Electric's Connected Services Hub. There, Connected Services Agents can triage alarm events and often remediate issues by assisting customers with firmware upgrades or configuration changes.
In cases where an on-site repair is required, agents take immediate action to start the dispatch of parts and people as required for resolution. This speeds the recovery process significantly and solves the IT manager's challenge of getting skilled hands to remote sites for UPS diagnosis and repair or replacement.
Additionally, the service enables periodic reporting which aids in overall lifecycle management of the fleet; based on age and health attributes, deployed UPS systems can be prioritized for battery refreshes and lifecycle replacement. In short, the service helps companies get more life out of their existing UPS fleet, stave off upgrades and, quite possibly, reduce costs.
Helping companies get the most out of their IT infrastructure, of course, is part of the value-add that WWT has been offering clients for years. Now, thanks to our relationship with Schneider Electric, we can also help customers address their growing UPS fleets to ensure the availability of critical edge computing facilities and applications. To learn more, follow WWT's Facilities Infrastructure topic, explore our Managed Services or request a workshop.