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Data center management in the cloud can predict downtime, vendors say

Brandon Butler | Oct. 4, 2016
New data center infrastructure management (DCIM) from Eaton uses internet of things sensors and big data analytics to prevent costly power failures

An arms race for data

Eaton – a $21 billion global equipment supply company - is one of the first vendors in the DCIM market to offer what it is calling predictive analytics that warn customers of potential issues before they cause a problem. But Eaton’s power system management peers are aggressively developing cloud based DCIM platforms too, Ascierto says.

Remote monitoring of data center equipment is not new – it’s been done for more than five years. What’s different in new cloud-based systems is that data collected by DCIM systems is sent to the manufacturer. Vendors like Eaton, Schneider and others collect data from many customers and are able to analyze a broader set of information to help monitor trends. The more data the vendors have, the better their predictive capabilities will be. “It’s an arms race for data,” Ascierto says. “With data from a large set of customers, these vendors can aggregate it and start to predict when components will fail.”

Eaton thus far has focused its PredictPulse Insight product specifically on the UPS market. Meanwhile Schneider has not yet rolled out a predictive platform, it has cloud-based monitoring for a wider spectrum of data center equipment beyond UPSs, Ascierto says.

Some facilities managers are squeamish about sending infrastructure data to their vendor, especially data related to mission critical and in some cases apps with strict compliance requirements. But Ascierto says customers shouldn’t worry; data is wrapped in robust encryption and infrastructure performance statistics are not intellectual property. In fact it could benefit customers in the long-term if they send data that helps their providers better prevent future downtime.

Eaton’s PredictPulse comes in two flavors: The standard SaaS-based monitoring platform comes with a dashboard for customers to view status updates, any alarms and detailed health and trend information, plus a monthly summary report. It costs $240 per device per year.

The higher end PredictPulse Insight platform includes all of the standard features, plus the advanced analytics capabilities that Eaton says will allow the company to help customers predict component failures before they occur. It’s available as of today for $1,200 per device per year. Eaton plans to roll out the predictive analytics to other products next year.


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