Keep your data center in shape with DCIM

Keep your data center in shape with DCIM

Keeping data centers healthy is a constant struggle.

Any business that relies on Web-based services or applications, for internal or external use, depends on data centers. This includes health care organizations and medical institutions, which are responsible for the safe storage of millions of patient records. Web services such as automated appointment scheduling and other online patient portals, likewise, are entirely at the mercy of a data center facility, be it on premises or in the cloud.

Therefore, ensuring data center health is vital, not only for keeping useful Web services for patients and personnel up and running, but also for ensuring that medical records are accessible as needed.

Health care's reliance on data centers is likely to increase

As more health records and health-related services are digitized and automated, the role of the data center in health care will become more central. This will be especially true as telemedicine continues to increase in popularity and practical application. As the name suggests, the goal of telemedicine is for medical professionals to consult virtually with patients. This type of service would be especially valuable for residents living in areas such as rural communities. Rather than traveling hours to get to the nearest health care professional, patients can simply connect via a video call. In theory, this method would be used to treat minor ailments such as the common cold or provide local physicians with the consultancy of a specialist.

Telemedicine may also be useful for patients who are traveling, but would still like to consult their family physicians while abroad. Likewise, the elderly and the immobile can also greatly benefit from the ability to be seen without having to leave the house. All of these benefits are expected to drive growth in the space in the coming years. According to research from Mordor Intelligence, the global telemedicine market is expected to achieve a net worth of $34 billion by 2020. A separate report from Cisco predicts that by 2024, 15 percent of doctors' visits will be held virtually.

Remote health care can be hugely beneficial to patients in under-served medical areas.Remote health care can be hugely beneficial to patients in medically underserved areas.

What does this mean for data centers?

The videoconferencing, image sharing, emails and text messages in addition to the biometric information gathered by remote medical monitoring tools will undoubtedly increase the amount of data used by health care organizations. Where will all of these medical records and other patient information live? In the data center.

As data centers become more important to the health care industry, the need for continuous uptime and meticulous facility management will be vital for several reasons. First and foremost, availability of these resources helps medical professionals treat the sick and injured, and in some cases, save lives. A glitch at the data center level could hinder access to this data. Second, according to Data Center Knowledge contributor Mike Klein, while Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliance does not set technical specifications for data center maintenance, health care organizations are still responsible if a fault in a data storage facility somehow puts patient data at risk or renders it temporarily inaccessible. 

In other words, as the keepers of data used by health care organizations, a lot depends on data center managers' ability to ensure uptime in their facilities. 

Monitoring data center vitals with DCIM

In many ways, the data center is the heart of any Internet-based medical service. Like the human heart, downtime can be disastrous, and this is why data center infrastructure management (DCIM) is so important. 

"Data center staff must receive alerts right away."

The primary function of DCIM is to give data center managers a way to oversee the entire facility from a single pane of glass, which is a lot more complicated than just having a floor layout visualization explaining what's working and what's not. Thousands of data points pertaining to power usage, temperature, humidity, dew point and more factor into data center health. DCIM helps funnel all of this information into a digestible format. This allows for customization of dashboards and data analytics that help management make decisions to best ensure uptime. This includes planning for growth within the facility as needed. 

Like a patient in critical condition, it's not enough to just aggregate data center metrics once in a while. Power and environmental conditions must be available to data center managers in real time, which means up to the second if necessary. Should a specific data set exceed a defined limit, data center staff will receive alerts right away. This helps to ensure that issues can be handled swiftly, and that downtime is always preempted. 

Some things just aren't worth risking for health care organizations, and data center downtime is one of them. Ensure perpetual uptime with Geist DCIM