Alabama Colocation Provider Finds a Better Approach to Data Center Management

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Despite being responsible for a colocation data center with some 300 racks and demanding customers, Jeff Gardner is sleeping better these days and never gets taken away from an important ball game, thanks to data center management tools and a service bureau that enables him to keep tabs on everything from his smart phone.

Gardner is critical facility manager for Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA), which manages investments to help grow retirement income for Alabama state employees. One of those investments is a 44,000 square-foot data center colocation facility that counts among its tenants: hospitals and universities, TV stations, courthouses, and Emergency 911 services from across the state. Given the critical nature of its tenants’ work, the data center puts a premium on security and redundancy – and has achieved SSAE-16 SOC 2 certification.

EcoStruxure IT Provides Holistic Data Center View

To ensure 100% uptime, RSA has invested in the Schneider Electric EcoStruxure™ IT architecture and monitoring software, which provides a holistic view of data center operations. With EcoStruxure IT, RSA can monitor some 800 devices on a 24×7 basis – from anywhere.

“In the past we had limited visibility to trending. We couldn’t tell how hot or cold our data center was at any given time, in any location. This made it difficult for us to anticipate whether we were beginning to experience any problems or changes within our data center environment,” Gardner says. “All that changed once we put into place the EcoStruxure IT architecture and the accompanying monitoring software.”

Now Gardner and his staff can use the EcoStruxure IT app, available from any smartphone, tablet or desktop, to get a real-time view of data center performance. “This has changed the lives of me and my staff,” he says. “In the past, I may have had to leave a ball game or leave my family at home in the middle of the night during off hours,” to attend to problems at the data center.

Real-time Team of Experts Providing Recommendations and Dispatching IT Service

RSA also signed on for the EcoStruxure Asset Advisor service bureau, that includes an on-call team of technical support experts which provides an additional level of support. If there’s a problem with a piece of equipment, Gardner doesn’t even have to call general tech support to dispatch a technician – they already have all the information required, right down to the device serial number, location; even what time shipping docks are open.

“They can handle everything for us, from the dispatch, to the ordering and delivery of parts,” Gardner says. “The technician and the part show up at the same time and I don’t have to stop my day twice. Such time savings are valuable and immeasurable in our high criticality environment.”

Learn More About Smart, Effective Data Center Management

To me, this is a far more effective approach to data center management than we’ve ever seen before in the industry. EcoStruxure IT takes advantage of the power of Internet of Things technology to provide up-to-the-minute status of important data center infrastructure. It also collects historical data in a data lake, from hundreds of customers. Advanced analytics then delivers insights to data center owners and colocation providers when a piece of equipment isn’t functioning as it should, giving them time to address the problem before it results in a failure.

It’s working so far for RSA. “We have now operated for six years with zero downtime,” Gardner says.

Watch this video and learn more about how EcoStruxure IT can improve data center and colocation management capabilities, as well as offering a solution for better work life balance.

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