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The cloud is now such an important part of data center work that the network operations center (NOC) has become even more important than it was and is now effectively the heart of the data center. It’s from the NOC that the telecoms network is supervised and monitored. The NOC is also responsible for network maintenance. At OFFSITE, it’s also the place where customers can find instant temporary additions to their staff: people who will work for them as though they were part of the customer’s organization for as long as that’s needed, and then stop.
What should customers expect from the NOC?
At OFFSITE, and any other data center of note, it would be difficult to monitor the network without some kind of visual representation of what the network looks like. You would also expect to see workstations that monitor the current state of the network and highlight any faults.
How does the NOC keep track of the demands on it?
Any NOC supervisor will tell you that problems arise and calls for help come in a completely random way. The last thing you can ever say to a customer or a colleague is, “Oh, I’m sorry, I completely forgot about your problem.” The two essential tools to make sure that doesn’t happen are:
- Job tickets to keep track of issues; and
- A system of priorities that makes sure that the most critical items are dealt with first, but that nothing is allowed to linger beyond a certain time.
Only systematic minds need apply
At OFFSITE, we know the value of system, and a systematic approach. A good network operations center runs on the knowledge of its staff and on reports. At OFFSITE, major incidents are reported immediately, and additional RFO’s can be requested as necessary to highlight trouble resolution through the entire process. When it comes to solving an issue, it's not enough to be able to say, “We fixed that.” We have to know why it happened and do whatever can possibly be done to prevent it from happening again. Our NOC supervisors employ staff members who have an investigative instinct and a desire to work away at problems until they are not just understood but rooted out.
What makes a good network operations center operative?
We’ve already said that to work successfully in the NOC demands a nature that wants to understand why problems exist and also wants to get rid of them. There’s more to being a good network operations center technician than that. You need a first-class understanding of the nature of technology, in the 21st century, due to the ever changing nature, you also need the willingness to stay abreast of developments. You need creativity, because sometimes the obvious and well-tried solution doesn’t work and it’s necessary to find what has changed and deal with it. At OFFSITE, we also place great stress on customer-facing qualities.
There was a time – 30 or more years ago – when the work of what is now a network operations center would be done by a systems programmer. Systems programmers of ancient days (we mean the 1960s) were known more for their technical than their people skills. They worked best in a room of their own where other people bothered them as little as possible. That doesn’t work anymore. Network operations centers interface with colleagues AND WITH CUSTOMERS every day, and the ability to understand the customer’s concerns and deal with them is vital.
At OFFSITE we never lose sight of the vital importance to our customers of the quality of our NOC. Get in touch, make an appointment and let us show you around. We think you’ll be impressed.