Edge data centres growth has been in the limelight of late, as enterprises turn to them to support their digital transformation initiatives and Internet of Things (IoT) deployments. But as more of these systems are deployed, organisations are coming up against the reality of managing these additional systems.

The situation at the edge

Jason Covitz of Schneider Electric observed that most edge data centres are typically remote sites spread over large geographical areas. From retail outlets in the heart of the city to distribution centres on the other side of town, it can be infeasible to deploy IT personnel at many of these locations.

Yet the pace of edge development is growing. With at least one-third of all service provider network capacity projected to be concentrated at the network edge by 2022, the edge data centre market is expected to grow to US$14.3 billion in 2024. Given that the market value was pegged at just US$4 billion in 2017, this represents an incredible compound annual growth rate of 20 per cent.

Businesses are hence under pressure to not only ensure that edge systems stay reliable but to continue delivering exceptional customer experiences in the face of rapid growth. This can only happen when systems are properly maintained, and technical teams react quickly when something goes wrong. As you can imagine, both hinges on the ability to keep a close eye on these remote facilities.

Given that the deployment of IT personnel is not feasible, what can businesses do? The solution lies in remote monitoring, which relies on automated systems and Internet connectivity to monitor these vital systems around-the-clock.

Monitoring your edge

Remote monitoring is typically not a challenge for infrastructure systems such as servers and networking hardware, especially with newer systems integrated with “lights out management” capabilities. But equally vital support equipment such as UPS and power distribution devices are typically left out of the consideration. The situation needs to change.

A typical UPS demand attention in the form of periodic maintenance to keep batteries healthy, and to ensure they can jump into action when required. After all, having a UPS fail during a power event would be catastrophic. To keep a close eye on them, one option is to consider UPSs that can be remotely accessed: Schneider Electric offers cloud-based monitoring and management for some UPS models.

Unsurprisingly, an IDC report cited by Covitz noted that the majority (60%) of end-users want external help to manage their edge deployments. This need can be met by the new Monitoring & Dispatch Service by Schneider Electric. The service is designed as an upgrade to the standard factory warranty, with Schneider Electric taking care of managing and servicing the UPSs throughout their entire lifecycle.

Businesses gain 24/7 monitoring of their UPS, reducing the time spent on reactive maintenance and saving up to 40 per cent on managing the lifecycle of distributed IT infrastructure. The gains can be used to focus on other initiatives that impact the bottom line. For now, you can learn more about the UPS Management product range from Schneider Electric here.

Michael Kurniawan, is the Vice President – Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric