How data centre monitoring improves customer satisfaction and business

Paessler AG

By Sebastian Krueger, Vice President for Asia Pacific at Paessler
Saturday, 01 October, 2022

How data centre monitoring improves customer satisfaction and business

Telecommunications services, software programs in the cloud that help us work, social media connections and even virtual assistants like Siri and Alexa, mean that we rely on technology to work seamlessly and remain productive throughout the day.

Data centres are the heart of any IT Infrastructure and without them, the responsiveness and the performance of the many technological dependent functions we take for granted would be in dire straits. When things don’t work, customer service satisfaction takes a dive and often results in lost business.

Data Centres are critical pieces of IT Infrastructure and more continue to be built in Australia to meet the demands and needs of businesses and service providers within APAC. However as more companies come to rely on them, the growth and technical evolution puts added pressure on the complex environment of a data centre’s infrastructure. It also helps to fulfil Service-Level-Agreements (SLAs).

Monitoring a data centre environment is an essential solution to avoid downtime, that will proactively detect problems before they affect customers and provide better quality experiences to clients, whilst not overwhelming technical support teams with irrelevant alerts.

If a monitoring tool is providing a large number of irrelevant alerts, the vast majority of technical support staff will ignore them. This leads to apathy and they stop taking even the urgent alerts seriously and those that really matter get hidden amongst the mountain of irrelevant information. These teams are already overloaded with work and stress and the multitude of data noise is only adding to the pressure they are already under.

Data centre monitoring must be able to provide the precise data analysts need, when they need it, particularly about the urgent issues. It’s also important to consolidate multiple alerts about the same issue into one concise alert, for instance where a device or port might be up, then down, then up again, so analysts are not overwhelmed by multiple warnings regarding the same problem.

Use data reporting to enable better service quality

Effective data reporting will allow IT professionals to analyse trends in their data centres and help them to decide where more capacity is needed. Being able to highlight looming issues via this type of trends analysis helps organisations to provide a better quality experience to their data centre users and customers. Aligning the performance data with business metrics helps them to identify what really matters and allows them to make informed investment decisions based on the potential business impact.

Providing fully automated 360-degree visibility

Managing data centre infrastructure is a challenging task because they can feature a hybrid architecture with multiple data centres and cloud systems, each one on its own as well as the data paths and connections between all of them.

The dynamic nature of data centres, where they are subject to minute-by-minute change, is due to equipment continually being added or removed, which means that hardware then must be reconfigured.

There will often be reconfigurations of interconnections because all the devices are interconnected and those connections can change. For instance, servers might be changed from one switch to another. You may also have end-users connected on the access layer of the network and those end users may move around.

What this means is that data centre monitoring tools must be equally dynamic; able to map all assets but equally be able to track changes as and when they occur, to identify genuine anomalies.

In order to approach this ongoing data centre complexity, organisations should start to think about the role that automation might play to cut through data noise and identify and fix even the smallest technology issues before they affect users.

Avoid bottlenecks by understanding data centre traffic patterns

Understanding patterns of traffic, hour by hour and week by week, allows a dynamic threshold to be generated for a typical hour’s, day’s or week’s traffic across the data centre infrastructure. This will enable significant deviations to be automatically highlighted and takes into account the anticipated deviations that would typically be expected during a normal work day.

An auto-tuning feature is based on data that can also be manually queried to determine the causes of unusual or unexpected events. Having that information easily available at the fingertips of a data centre professional would highlight a routing issue, which can then be fixed, saving the costs of a bandwidth upgrade.

Lessons learnt

Organisations really need to make sense of the data noise to avoid flying into adverse operational conditions caused by their data centre. Companies in highly-regulated industries such as finance and healthcare need to make periodic data centre risk assessments and disaster testing a part of their routine operations.

Risk mitigation with IT infrastructure is a shared responsibility, not just the CIO’s or CTO’s. If organisations can take the necessary steps to stay on top of data centre operations and data that is provided to them by their monitoring system, then this will help maintain the quality of customer service and effectively, the business too.

For more information, contact Paessler.

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