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The high cost of downtime is well documented. According to research by the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a data center outage is nearly $9,000 per minute. The average total cost is nearly $750,000. These figures include the cost of detecting, containing and recovering from the outage, as well as lost productivity, lost revenue, opportunity costs, customer churn and reputational damage.

Rapid incident response is key to minimizing the cost of downtime. For this reason, data centers develop emergency operating procedures (EOP) that data center staff follow to prevent an incident from escalating into a total outage. In practice, however, rapid response is often hampered by the inability to remotely access IT equipment.

If a failure occurs at a remote facility or in the middle of the night, the engineer on duty must travel to the data center to fix the problem. If the company decides to use a remote “smart hands” resource, that person may have very little to go on. The wrong equipment may be turned on or off, exacerbating the problem. Delays and human error lead to longer outages and higher costs.

Redundancy vs. resilience

To mitigate the risk of failure, organizations typically develop business continuity plans that focus on the physical infrastructure of the data center. They implement redundant power sources and uninterruptible power supplies, as well as redundant systems and network devices as a hedge against equipment failures. They may also have the option of switching to a redundant facility or cloud service in the event of a catastrophic failure.

But redundancy alone is not enough to provide resiliency. What if a cable is cut in the “last mile” of Internet connectivity? What if a security breach cripples one or more network segments? What if a problem with a firmware update occurs across the fleet of network switches? No amount of redundant equipment can protect against such problems.

Many organizations have invested in advanced infrastructure management tools to optimize their data center operations, but these tools require network connectivity. If the primary network goes down, data center technicians have no way to fix the problem without being onsite.

Why Out-of-Band Management (OOBM).

One of Rahi’s European customers recently decided to make its infrastructure more resilient by implementing an out-of-band management solution. With out-of-band management, data center technicians can remotely access and control IT devices even when the primary network is unavailable. A separate network is set up to support serial console servers, which allow administrators to remotely control network devices through the device’s serial port. Service processors provide low-level access for remote monitoring and management.

Setting up an out-of-band management network isn’t cheap – but neither is buying redundant equipment to use only when failure occurs. And the management network will be more effective in speeding up problem resolution and minimizing downtime. Out-of-band management can also help streamline upgrades and make it easier to maintain equipment in outsourced data centers, co-location facilities and remote offices.

If you want to build a truly resilient infrastructure, an out-of-band management network can provide complete visibility and control without the need for costly and time-consuming “truck rolls” to remote facilities. Rahi has proven expertise in out-of-band management and can help you implement a solution that minimizes the cost and risk of data center outages.