By Rohan De Beer, Secure Power Channel Manager, Southern Africa Region at Schneider Electric

A survey by the Uptime Institute found that the impact of data centre downtime has grown in severity, making the availability (of data centres), at the core and at the edge, a key concern for organisations.

Maintaining availability is challenging, given edge data centres experience more frequent total facility outages than their centralised counterparts. The primary methods companies leverage to improve edge availability — investing in improved equipment and redundant equipment — are not cost-effective ways of ensuring uptime.

To this end, managed services have become an important solution to the above data centre challenges and similarly, an opportunity for the channel to provide important value to the growing data centre marketplace.

The edge ecosystem provides a two-pronged opportunity: end users can turn to managed services providers for cost-effective uptime of their edge deployments, and existing providers can work with partners to add new services to their portfolios.

Managed services providers enable end users to focus on core competencies

Edge locations need the same resilience, security, and fault tolerance as centralised locations, especially as they support an increasing number of mission-critical applications. Managed service providers, with the right capabilities, offer peace of mind and operational efficiencies for edge deployments.

Ensuring the necessary resilience and availability at the edge is not a simple matter. It requires having at least two major capabilities in place:

  • Remote monitoring and management of UPS and physical infrastructure.
  • Data collection and analytics from monitoring equipment. This data improves the reliability and cost effectiveness of assets at the edge.

These highly specific capabilities are not the core competencies of most companies. Turning to a managed services provider places the responsibility for infrastructure uptime into the hands of experts so end users can focus on the core of their business.

Managed services boost revenues for existing providers

An increased need for managed services also represents an opportunity for existing providers. For example, power protection at the edge is not something many end users consider. But an unmanned edge computing deployment without power is just another cost centre. For existing service providers, adding power monitoring and protection to their portfolio of offerings invites additional recurring revenue streams.

The story is the same for monitoring and dispatch services. When physical infrastructure in remote locations goes down, those sites need immediate attention. A lot of organisations don’t have full-time response staff to adequately address these issues, opening the door for managed services providers.

Solutions and services providers can earn additional business by offering remote monitoring or dispatch services.

Ultimately, the edge is the present and future of infrastructure investments. Appropriate managed services can keep the ecosystem running smoothly for all parties involved and provide tremendous opportunities to the channel.

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