The Rise of Hybrid IT in Hotels
In our fast-paced technology landscape, hotel and hospitality providers are looking to leverage the latest applications to improve guest services and differentiate themselves from competition. However, as we all know, technology is subject to change. Staying ahead of the curve often means being willing to shed old strategies to make room for new possibilities.
Today, advancements in connectivity – including cloud services and the Internet of Things (IoT) – are ushering a new wave of capabilities that many hotels are starting to explore. For the most part, embracing this evolution means moving beyond a traditional, centralized IT design and adopting a hybrid IT system to drive better and faster services to customers.
Navigating a different frontier
While IT departments have historically housed their infrastructure in a centralized data center, the rise of cloud services has presented the opportunity for a more distributed strategy. A distributed IT system is comprised of edge data centers and network closets that can store data in closer proximity to individual hotel facilities. In addition to providing IT staff with more control over technical operations, this model offers a way to improve connectivity, and drive faster and higher quality services to customers. With real-time data capabilities, for example, hotels can send more personalized updates to guests – helping them adjust itineraries or keep them apprised of daily events and activities.
Distributed IT is in its infancy across some industries, but the real-time data available with this approach has the potential to touch many markets in the years ahead. In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80 percent of enterprises will have shut down their traditional data centers versus the 10 percent that have already done so.
Though hybrid IT strategies have many advantages, meeting an increasing demand for more data and faster services comes with challenges. Hotel IT managers face more pressure to effectively protect and power these environments, but uptime can be more difficult with assets spread across on-premise and cloud systems. Without a disaster preparedness plan to safeguard each system within a hybrid IT design, the entire system is susceptible to power events and even data loss.
A recent Uptime Institute report showed that power outages are becoming more common as organizations struggle to adjust to the complexities of hybrid IT. Though an average data center is making better use of its energy today, it is more likely to suffer an outage that is potentially more damaging than the previous year.
New power management requirements
To avoid the dangers of unplanned downtime within a hybrid IT environment, hotels should have an integrated approach to power management and disaster preparedness. For starters, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) – typically deployed in conjunction with a backup generator and a power distribution unit (PDU) – can deliver reliable power during outages so that critical IT functions can stay up-and-running. These systems help hotel facilities avoid both data loss and hardware damage by providing availability for networks and other applications during a power event.
For hybrid environments, IT personnel also need the ability to monitor and control power – making management software an essential component. Some IT staff also utilize virtualization infrastructure, which should be streamlined with power monitoring software to ensure their integrated capabilities are being maximized and used correctly. By combining power management solutions with common virtualization management platforms—like those from VMware, Cisco, NetApp, Dell EMC, HPE, Nutanix and Scale Computing—IT teams can extend the availability of their services. Technicians can also remotely manage physical and virtual servers and power management devices all from a single console.
Cybersecurity is another critical factor to keep in mind. With more devices now offering enhanced connectivity, some power management providers have taken the extra step of having their products certified as secure by standards bodies such as UL and IEC. This offers reassurance for hotels and their IT staff that the connectivity used for data collection will not be compromised.
Hybrid IT requires a heightened focus on disaster preparedness, but there’s often a huge payoff for hotels looking to improve efficiencies and roll out new data services for guests. As demand for these types of solutions continues to grow with advancements in areas like Big Data and IoT, so does the need to properly manage underpinning power systems and defend against downtime. With an integrated power management system in place, hotels can meet technology and data processing demands, ensure system uptime and protect their data.
Hervé Tardy is Vice President and General Manager of Eaton’s Distributed Power Infrastructure business unit. In this role, Hervé manages the Americas product roadmap for power solutions, software and connectivity products to reinforce Eaton’s technology leadership.