Mike Parsons, Vice President of Support Services, Datalink, says:
Having witnessed first-hand the potential of emerging trends–like server virtualization, consolidation and unified network/server/storage data center infrastructures–many of our data center customers have since chosen to fully embrace this new era. Several have already moved from less efficient, legacy IT silos to more dynamic virtual data centers (VDCs). Many are even now moving to early stage private cloud paradigms as well, and have begun to see the benefits of these more agile architectures to boost IT efficiency and responsiveness.
Datalink has taken part in many such data center transformations, assisting with readiness assessments, as well as designing and deploying unified data center architectures. Throughout this period, data center customers began asking us if we could also help them with the day-to-day management of their VDCs and emerging private cloud environments. They asked us to help them ensure optimal performance and availability of their converged IT resources.
Comprehensive End-to-End Support for VDC Environments

In response to such customer requests, we developed a variety of managed services that  help organizations optimize the value derived from these transformations. By leveraging Datalink for day-to-day management and monitoring of their environment, organizations have achieved greater operational efficiency, while simultaneously freeing their IT teams to focus more on strategic initiatives.
Building on prior services offerings announced early in 2012 surrounding managed archiving, cloud backup and server management, Datalink has since recently announced another major expansion of its services portfolio. 
We believe these newly added services fulfill Datalink’s strategic goal: To offer end-to-end support for VDC environments–from initial design and deployment to monitoring, system administration and management, reporting, and single-source problem troubleshooting and resolution.
Datalink’s expanded managed services for data centers include performance monitoring, problem identification, analysis and diagnosis as well as advanced services specifically designed for all converged and unified architectures. These might include data centers that deploy NetApp FlexPod or EMC VSPEX reference architectures, for instance.
Monitoring Services Unique to VDCs and Converged Environments

A sampling of the new, advanced services now available for VDCs and converged infrastructures include:
  • Synthetic transaction capabilities that simulate vMotion migration of virtual machines, end user connectivity to the VDC infrastructure, and other system functions. These capabilities proactively detect problems before they interfere with business operations.
  • Multiple daily VM migration tests to ensure that virtual machines can be migrated live to optimize performance. These tests also allow adjustment for potential host failure without service interruption.

  • vCheck daily healthcheck reports to proactively identify issues before they impact services.

  • Unified dashboards for the VDC architecture, VMware guests and storage that expedite problem resolution to improve time to repair.
VDC customers can now use Datalink’s OneCall Unified Support Service for single-source problem resolution. This means they don’t need to call the individual network, server, and storage vendors who comprise the VDC environment. The combination of Datalink’s VDC managed services and OneCallsmSupport Services will help our customers significantly decrease downtime in the event of a problem.
Listening to Data Center IT Staff and Operations Teams

It’s our continued aim to deliver data center services that offer real help in maximizing the performance and availability of our customers’ business-critical computing resources. We have great expectations that these services can aid data centers in running more smoothly as well.
We spent the better part of 2012 doubling the managed services Datalink offers to data centers. These managed services now include a dedicated managed services staff with more than 250 years of data center technology experience, hundreds of best-practice certifications and the ability to leverage the expertise of Datalink’s 160+ technical experts.
With this robust suite of managed services, we are doing what we can to lessen the burden on data center IT staff, while providing a depth and breadth of expertise not available in most in-house IT teams. As readers involved in data center management and operations, we’d like to hear from you. Let us know of other ways we can help make your data centers run smoother.
About the author:

Mike Parsons is the VP of Support Services at Datalink. He has been supplying managed services to enterprise customers for the past 12 years. He joined Datalink in 2010 and is responsible for the day-to-day management of all aspects of the managed services business, which includes product development, technology selection, and 24x7x365 IT service operations.  Previously, he president of Presilient, a managed service supplier specializing in managed backup and managed storage services. Before joining Presilient, he was the President of PAC International, an international engineering company that designed, installed, and certified specialized manufacturing plants in developing countries Prior to PAC, he worked at Eastman Kodak Company for 12 years in their Business Equipment Division, where he gained experience in all aspects of product development, design and support.  He has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology and an M.B.A. from the University of Colorado, Denver.