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How Distributed Cloud Operators Can Improve Safety and Security

May 2022

As I wrote in my previous blog post, distributed IT is a fast-growing cloud consumption model. Distributed cloud closes the gap between private and public clouds, thereby delivering all the benefits of public cloud, along with location-dependent cloud use cases. As a result, both cloud operators and end users benefit.

However, with the resources in a distributed cloud often spread across multiple locations in different geographies, cloud service providers need heterogeneous solutions for addressing the safety and security of both people and places — wherever they may be.

Fortunately, there are reliable, trustworthy solutions, along with some recent innovations in intelligent and electrical infrastructure, that cloud service providers can leverage to protect their facilities, their operations, and their employees.

Let’s take a look at a few of them:

  • Intelligent Power Distribution Units (iPDUs) for Monitoring Power and Environmental Health and Safety

In a distributed cloud architecture, the full IT stack — compute, network, and storage resources — is distributed across locations and delivered as cloud services. For end users, the distributed infrastructure appears as a single cloud entity. Management, governance, and updates, however, are the sole responsibility of the originating public cloud provider.

Placing cloud infrastructure proximate to users enables providers to meet changing cloud consumption patterns head on in order to mitigate latency issues, support data sovereignty, and keep remote employees connected and productive while working from anywhere. However, more connectivity and more users creates more management complexity for operators. For example, there are more screens and sensors to monitor, and more data to examine.

Operators need to have visibility into their deployment environment in order to truly have control over their network and resolve problems before they even occur. iPDUs are designed to help operators get real-time insight power consumption and system integration. They continuously scan for electrical circuit overloads that place critical IT equipment at risk. Some offerings, such as the Panduit SmartZone™ Intelligent G5 PDU platform, also provide electronic access control, so that only authorized and qualified personnel can access cloud assets.

  • Remote Hands and Smart Hands Services for Management and Troubleshooting

Many organizations continue to run workloads that cannot or should not be moved to the public cloud. However, these organizations still want easier development, faster innovation, and an efficient scale, all while simultaneously reducing their technology risk. Fortunately, distributed cloud architectures provide more opportunities for organizations to run workloads wherever it makes the most sense. They are changing their consumption models to include public clouds, colocation/multi-tenant data centers, and edge environments.

While colocation providers have long offered services for clients who may not be close to their physical infrastructure, the rise in distributed cloud has shined a light on the value of Remote Hands and Smart Hands services for cloud providers. Remote Hands services remove the headache of staffing personnel in data centers. They span a wide range of remote management and troubleshooting tasks, and typically can be deployed on-demand 24x7, 365 days per year. Common Remote Hands services include troubleshooting of physical ports, cycling power on equipment, network router and switch configuration, replacing hardware components, and reporting on equipment performance.

Smart Hands services typically staff an individual or team of specialized technicians stationed on-site, who can quickly respond to problems that may arise within the data center. These services are usually billed by the hour, and include more complex tasks, such as performing hardware deployments, or for taking immediate action if a security threat is detected. Smart Hands services can be invaluable when it comes to stopping potential data breaches and reducing liability.

  • Automated Absence of Voltage Testers for Determining Electrical Presence

When servicing electrical equipment, such as that which powers the data centers that make up distributed cloud architectures, workers must comply with safety regulations that require a voltage verification test to validate the absence of voltage. This process requires strict adherence to prevent accidents and bodily injury. It involves many stages that can be quite complex and time-consuming when using traditional hand-held testing instruments. As a result, serious injuries from contact with exposed wiring or other electrical components unfortunately occur far too often.

However, recent advances in technology, such as Absence of Voltage Testers, minimize risk by verifying the absence of voltage before equipment is accessed. This makes it easier for qualified electrical workers to gauge the safety of an electrical environment in a fraction of the time required by hand-held portable test instruments.

The Panduit VeriSafeTM Absence of Voltage Tester is the first-of-its-kind solution that fully automates the voltage verification process. Once installed, a simple push of a button enables workers to verify the absence of voltage and see an active indication when the absence of voltage is confirmed. This provides a new and innovative way to verify the absence of voltage safely, reliably, and efficiently before accessing potentially dangerous electrical equipment.

This is the second post in our series on distributed cloud infrastructure insights. Next, we’ll discuss opportunities for building an environmentally aware, infrastructure-enabled distributed cloud. If you haven’t already done so, subscribe above for updates to stay informed. And don’t forget to check our website to learn more about our data center solutions, as well as Environment, Social, and Governance content to explore sustainability-focused solutions for a connected world.


Mark Dehmlow

Mark Dehmlow is a Sr. Business Development manager with Panduit’s Data Center business. In this role, Mark is focused on Global Strategic Accounts, Enterprise on-premise and Edge applications for Data Center Infrastructure. Mark is closely following the evolution of distributed compute network architectures and the focus of organizations to leverage Hybrid IT models as a result. Mark has over 20 years of experience in the Telecommunications sector having served in various product management, product, segment and channel marketing roles in high tech manufacturing, with network operators and in technology distribution. Mark is particularly interested in assisting users of all types in the adoption of technology solutions to drive intended business outcomes for their organizations. Mark holds a BA in Business Management from Bethel University and an MBA in Int’l business from European University, Brussels, Belgium.