IT Security - Apr 14, 2021

Holistic data centre monitoring with PRTG.

No matter if in the cloud, as a hybrid solution or on premise, at the end of the day, IT is on physical computers housed in a building. In other words, a data centre. To make sure a data centre operates smoothly, it is essential to keep an eye on a whole raft of components within the IT infrastructure and in the room itself to pick up on any potential vulnerabilities early and, therefore, precent issues, damage and even outages.

written by

ViPM Paessler / Acronis

E-Mail: stefanie.fleisch@bechtle.com

IT network and infrastructure.

Hardware within the server racks, clients and storage systems, switches and routers as well as data traffic and applications also need to be monitored.

Facilities.

Power and climate control are fundamental for the running of a data centre and any issues with either could cause considerable damage which is why continuous monitoring is imperative.

Security.

The data centre faces a duo of threats. The first is at IT level and includes DDoS attacks, virus, trojans and other similar threats, while the other is on a physical level and includes damage caused by fire, water and unauthorised access.

Different teams are faced with varying challenges.

As already mentioned, the facility plays as much a central role as the IT infrastructure when it comes to operating a data centre. The majority of the time, these are two completely separate things that have their own approaches and are operated and managed by different teams. In the IT world, protocols such as NetFlow, FTP, WMI and HTTP are used, whereas the communication between climate control systems and physical sensors is generally based on Modbus TCP or OPC UA. Only SNMP is leveraged by both parties although this network protocol plays a much more important role in IT.

This makes it quite difficult to gain a comprehensive overview of conditions in the entire data centre that includes both aspects in one dashboard. The only way of ensuring that anomalies, issues and outages can be quickly detected, localised and resolved is by having a central overview.

Monitoring IT networks and infrastructure.

PRTG is a classic IT monitoring solution that supports the monitoring of IT environments in their entirety. The software monitors the network and data traffic via flow, sniffing or SNMP as well as the complete infrastructure and security tools. In addition, PRTG provides active security features and complete monitoring functionality with each licence. This includes:

  • Monitoring all essential IT components via sensors
  • Defining individual thresholds and escalation paths
  • Leveraging an integrated database as a basis for alarms and long-term analyses
  • Supporting all standard alert methods via e-mail, SMS, SNMP traps, push notifications, etc.
  • Providing a mobile app for both iOS and Android
  • Using a flexible API to make adjustments

Facility monitoring and sensors.

PRTG provides end-to-end monitoring functionality and is therefore the perfect foundation for monitoring climate control and CCTV systems, door closing devices, smoke detectors, temperature probes and humidity sensors. Let’s take a look at the three most common ways to collect data:

  • SNMP queries: Most devices used to monitor conditions within rooms support SNMP and can therefore be quickly and easily integrated into PRTG.
  • API queries: PRTG also offers an API (application programming interface), which makes queries via defined interfaces possible.
  • Direct data collection via Modbus TCP and OPC UA: By supporting these industrial technologies, PRTG also offers the opportunity to directly query numerous devices and easily integrate them into a central monitoring system.

Moreover, in the free PRTG Node-RED Connector, Paessler is offering an additional possibility to read and process data from systems using other protocols such as BACnet.

Monitoring data centre security.

Data centre security is a top priority for IT admins and therefore requires special attention. Alongside the already mentioned risks to the IT network and infrastructure, facility requirements and environmental aspects must also be taken into consideration. Over-heating and cable fires can cause considerable damage and any leaks in the climate control system can cause water to drip out causing short circuits and damaged IT equipment. That’s why it’s essential to have sensors to measure humidity and temperature, and to detect hot spots, smoke and other environmental impacts. Unauthorised entry also presents a risk and CCTV systems are utilised to monitor room access, but also to keep an eye out for smoke, fire and water ingress.

PRTG is in a position to monitor all these systems and sensors around the clock for their availability and functionality and present this information in clear dashboards. What’s more, PRTG can be integrated into a central alarm system so that the right people receive the right information to respond accordingly during a worst case scenario.

PRTG: The solution for holistic data centre monitoring.

IT infrastructures, building technology and security systems—PRTG monitors all components of a data centre to give the responsible employees and teams a holistic overview of what’s going on and provide them with the necessary information as required. If necessary, PRTG sends an alert via all standard channels, but at the same time reduces unwanted disruption by sending only relevant notifications. In the long-term, PRTG helps to optimise the data centre on all levels and therefore enhance reliability while at the same time reducing energy consumption, saving costs and helping the environment.

Share article

Published on Apr 14, 2021.