The IT industry has undergone many changes over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Workers have had to adjust to remote and hybrid work—amongst a host of other 2022 IT trends such as new tools and industry changes. This Zcast interview can viewed here.
The world as we know it changed dramatically when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. But while most of the world slowed to a standstill, one industry got faster instead, as IT ramped up activity to meet the massive demand for remote work.
While most industries shut down facilities, the need for digital services only increased. 2022 IT trends show how forward-thinking businesses are working to harness this new post-pandemic tech landscape.
This revolution in how we work has been so transformative that it’s uncertain whether business will ever go back to the pre-pandemic normal. In an interview on Zcast Jonathan Guy, VP of Engineering for RF Code, explains how IT work has changed post-pandemic, the challenges facing data centers, and why IT professionals should use new tools like RF Code’s CenterScape and Sentry.
How Has the IT Industry Workplace Changed Post-Pandemic?
The Covid-19 pandemic “has accelerated certain industry trends,” says Guy. “It’s providing a lot more factors that drive remote, distributed computing. We’re seeing, of course, workers working remotely. We’re [also] seeing heightened awareness of the risks of having centralized resources.”
Among other changing IT trends, workers in 2022 now use more remote monitoring tools as part of their asset management programs. You have to see what’s happening in data centers and other IT spaces regardless of whether you have a physical presence.
“I think [the pandemic] also brought more of a global focus,” says Guy. “It’s brought awareness of how events can affect not just one country, but can quickly translate into global issues. So if you’re looking at your global infrastructure as a multinational company—or even as a small business that may be influenced by geopolitical events—I think you’re thinking twice about how you manage risk and the moves you take proactively to reduce risk in your business.”
Businesses are stress testing more remote access tools—and the overall network—more often. They’re also moving fast to the cloud and adding network redundancy. To the extent that workers return to the office and data center, they’ll more likely bring their own devices.
Challenges of Hybrid Work in a Data Center
A traditional, data-center-driven approach just creates more problems than it solves in the new environment, Guy explains. It’s an issue of both decentralization and health safety:
“The ability to put somebody on a plane to go somewhere to fix a problem, and even once they get there, depending on lockdown status or health issues, they may not even be able to enter the facility. And so it’s important to have eyes and to have data out of that operation or out of that part of your business.”
In a hybrid work model, employees have a combination of remote and on-premise work. People may work from home or in coworking spaces, as well as in the data center or other IT facilities. This has become a practical compromise with pandemic restrictions and labor challenges. But it also means fewer eyes in the room at any given time.
“You can’t rely [on the physical presence of staff]... because of not just health issues but staff shortages, due to people being out of work, or just challenges recruiting the right people. Doing more with less people—and doing that through data, through sensors, through monitoring systems—is an even more critical part of any business today.”
Remote management tools can prepare you for a disaster. If left unchecked, sudden catastrophes can bring down an organization irrecoverably. Data center monitoring solutions like RF Code’s can prevent disasters from going out of control.
Keeping Up With 2022 IT Trends: Why Professionals Should Use New, Innovative Tools
Among other IT trends in 2022, the post-pandemic era has brought pressure to use new automation tools. Legacy technologies simply were not designed with remote and hybrid work in mind. To meet the present moment’s demands, data centers need important automated asset management tools, says Guy.
“At RF Code we break this down into three categories. One is asset security: that’s the physical location of the assets themselves. The second aspect of that is power systems, which of course has got a lot of attention recently with the strain on the power grid, and that translates into inside facilities as well. Then, the third aspect is environmental monitoring—checking the temperature, humidity, cooling capacity, air flow in an environment.”
“What RF Code provides is a real-time way to monitor all of those parameters, to see those on a single dashboard that you can customize around the specific requirements to your organization.”
Seeing real-time information lets IT professionals secure their facilities at the moment. Tools from RF Code keep watch 24/7, even when staff isn’t present.
“You can get alerts, you can get e-mail reports, notifications, to give you insights. So it’s both reactive when something moves out of specification, but also proactive in being able to drill down the data to generate reports. You can pull your business tools or integrate them with other systems to stay ahead of a problem.
“And of course, that is the best way to handle it, to be truly proactive. So our active sensors—because they’re wireless and use a proprietary 433 MHz technology—are really ideally suited to these environments [such as] large-scale data centers, but also to more distributed computing situations.”
Keeping Up With Industry Changes With CenterScape by RF Code
Given the rapid pivot toward decentralization of 2022 IT trends, it’s important to stay on top of new developments. RF Code’s CenterScape makes it easy to manage assets, priming it for the post-pandemic era, according to Guy.
“Our primary product, CenterScape, uses the 433 MHz technology. It has wireless [active RFID] sensors and a reader gateway that’s installed on-site—this would typically be installed inside your own network. You manage it, you install the software on your compute resources. [While] it does support very large-scale, that’s not to say it’s just at a single location. It can be run across a globally distributed organization.”
RF Code Solutions: CenterScape and Sentry
Which solution is right for you depends on your facilities. CenterScape is intended to track assets and monitor environments in data centers and colocation facilities, while Sentry is engineered to monitor distributed IT in lights-out spaces from anywhere.
“[Sentry] is ideal for customers who may not be operating their own data centers but want to have the same sort of visibility on their distributed locations.... We announced it in April, and we’ll be shipping [in September 2022].”
“With CenterScape, what they get today is a big range of [active RFID] sensors as well as a lot of integrations. So we have integrations at the sensor level, we have the ability to take data from in-use power distribution units (PDUs), and the cool thing about what we do there is it doesn’t require cabling to those PDUs.
“Some PDU models will connect up to the serial port, and other PDUs we support simple network management protocol (SNMP), so that we can go in and get the data over a standardized bus. That means no cabling because it’s a unidirectional wireless interface. There are no security concerns for somebody going in and taking control of your PDU."
Did You Know? Integrations within the CenterScape software allow you to build automation systems into any other software tool you would want to integrate into your data center—or you can use your existing automation systems.
Keeping asset management information front and center helps IT professionals be more proactive. Whether monitoring power, location, temperature, or other variables, it’s better to know in advance.
Who Are RF Code’s Customers?
RF Code serves a range of IT enterprises, says Guy.
“There’s the core large-scale data center business, and many of these are private cloud businesses. Then we also have quite a presence in colocated compute resources, where you’ve got multiple organizations in the same facility.
“And then looking out beyond that, you move to what some people call “the edge,” which in many cases is as simple as a lights-out data closet. We have solutions for that as well. This is increasingly part of our focus as more of these compute resources get closer to the edge, to the customer, due to latency or reliability or just the amount of data that’s being moved. Keeping it local, making decisions locally makes a lot more sense.”
Monitoring Assets Post-Pandemic With RF Code
The pandemic drove many industries online—and made the IT industry busier than ever. Remote work and hybrid work are just some of the changes that will leave their mark; professionals and their companies are turning to innovative technologies to keep pace with the disruptions.
Even as you hurry to decentralize your data operations to meet the moment, you still need to keep a close eye on your setup—perhaps more now than ever. RF Code offers leading IoT solutions to accurately track and monitor IT assets. CenterScape and Sentry provide real-time data to better protect critical infrastructure by anticipating, alerting, and thwarting IT issues from escalating into serious crises.