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How to fortify your IT backbone for the edge

By , Vice President - IT Division – Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric
Africa , 18 Apr 2023
Jonathan Duncan, Vice President: Secure Power, Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric.
Jonathan Duncan, Vice President: Secure Power, Anglophone Africa at Schneider Electric.

The great data migration is upon on us. Edge computing - distributed or on-premise - is experiencing an explosive growth period. According to a report by Gartner, 75 percent of enterprise-created data will be processed at the edge by 2025.

To place this into context, only 10 percent of enterprise data was processed by edge computing in 2018. If anything, it re-emphasises why organisations must take the edge very seriously.

Moving to the edge requires organisations to take a long, hard look at their IT infrastructure, which is now running at higher density, using more energy, and becoming even more critical. To add to the increased complexity, IT infrastructure now requires 24/7 management and monitoring to ensure it meets the demands of edge computing.

How do businesses successfully move to the edge whilst also elevating resiliency and efficiency within their current IT infrastructure?

Will you IT network pass the test?

The pandemic saw many organisations rapidly move to remote operations, realised in some instances on shoestring budget which strained IT backbones. Today, IT departments do have time to assess how their networks are performing, and importantly evaluating whether it can meet higher capacity demand.

Here, we are seeing proactive organisations taking steps to ready their IT infrastructure such as pivoting to proactive maintenance and investing in connectivity.

Reactive to proactive

Gone are the days where IT administrators could respond to IT network alarms as and when it happened. Remote working and IoT now require organisations to stay one step ahead of any potential IT network issues.

A feasible way not to be caught unawares, is proactive maintenance. As a real-world example, in a reactive IT network scenario, an MDF (main distribution frame) UPS could start experiencing battery issues, following a power glitch that would likely cause the MDF system to drop which will lead to the IT system going offline.

In a more proactive scenario, an MDF UPS could alert the IT staff that it’s battery is nearing end of life, the team would then proactively schedule a replacement and network downtime would be averted.

IoT can also play an invaluable role in monitoring IT backbone to in turn elevate resilience and efficiency when migrating to edge computing:

  • Monitoring internal asset conditions - Datacentre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software enables organisations to track UPS battery levels, power consumption in cooling units, and other components of the IT backbone.
  • Monitoring external conditions where the asset operates is important too, the exterior environment can be just as important as the inside assets. IoT-connected sensors can monitor temperature, humidity, physical access, vibration, smoke, fluid leaks, and many other variables that could impact the performance of other equipment in the facility.

Today, there is vendor-agnostic monitor and management software that can strengthen companies’ IT backbones. They provide full visibility, predictive management, and data-driven recommendations to mitigate security and failure risks at the local edge, distributed IT, and datacentre levels.

It contributes towards continuous performance gains via real time health assessments and benchmarking, while also maintaining reliable operating conditions for your network.

Also, to further fortify the IT backbone, organisations can install additional hardware sensors to mitigate downtime and elevate security risk through integrated sensing, video surveillance, and managed rack-access controls.

Designed to alleviate the complexity of these dispersed IT systems and keeping the IT administrator that needs to be everywhere at once in mind, these sensors behave as an extra pair of eyes and ears across the distributed IT network.

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