CRN Exclusive: Park Place Unveils Intelligent Data Center Monitoring Platform Powered By BMC TrueSight

Third-party maintenance service provider Park Place Technologies has ramped up its hardware servicing capabilities with the launch of ParkView, a machine data tracking platform integrated with BMC's TrueSight AIOps management software.

The Cleveland-based data center specialist, No. 208 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, believes ParkView's ability to communicate with server, storage and networking products across a wide range of Park Place-supported OEMs gives the company a true competitive advantage in the market.

Paul Mercina, director of product management at Park Place, said ParkView enables quicker, more accurate hardware triaging and increased uptime by predicting system problems through trend analysis and identifying issues in real-time through machine-to-machine communication.

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"We close the loop. Not only do we know you have a server down at Location B, but we have a part or an engineer on the way to remediate the problem," Mercina told CRN. "We're monitoring and managing, but we're also on the fix side of it. We think that sets us apart."

During a six-month beta test of ParkView, which tracked more than 780 customer hardware devices, the platform predictively pinpointed 76 fixable maintenance problems such as battery and driver failures, according to the company. That early success has Park Place planning to incorporate more of TrueSight's AI features into the ParkView platform, with eyes on adding application, database and networking monitoring services into its business portfolio.

Mercina said Park Place envisions being able to provide "higher-level" consulting services down the road like app performance and storage capacity optimization. Eventually, he admitted, that could put the company in competition with managed service providers, which typically lack the hardware-fixing prowess of a TPM company like Park Place.

"We've talked to a lot of our customers in our (ParkView) pilot program that are interested," Mercina said. "Some are trying to do it themselves, but they may have eight to 10 tools in their data center. Many of these tools are narrowly focused. They're trying to manage all these tools, paying those licenses, they've got people that have to have eyes on glass, which is taking away from other more productive things they could be doing."

Before ParkView, Mercina said Park Place and many other maintenance providers relied on product-native monitoring capabilities while servicing data center equipment. The problem with that is that each OEM product's messaging was formatted differently, and many of the alerts sent to the monitoring system often were not relevant, creating data "noise" that could make triaging inefficient.

On top of that, OEM monitoring capabilities tend to provide a limited range of information. The product's physical location and series, model or part numbers, for example, would have to be provided by the end-customer in some incident cases.

That might result in six to eight calls between the service provider and client before the problem could be properly diagnosed, Mercina said. In some scenarios, the provider might even dispatch its engineer to a customer data center with the wrong part because it was incorrectly identified by the legacy monitoring system.

By leveraging TrueSight, Park Place contends that it has significantly reduced the level of human error potentially affecting its hardware triaging process.

"Looking at the quality or fidelity of diagnostic info from the old way of monitoring, back-and-forth dialogue, and getting the right skill set out to the right customer, it takes a lot of time for our operations and our customer," he said.

Park Place had considered building a monitoring solution in-house or outsourcing its development to a third party. But Houston-based vendor BMC's extensive product support – the result of many years working with OEMs around hardware communication protocols – made TrueSight an easy choice, Mercina said.

TrueSight not only talks to all of the platforms Park Place services, but also applies AI to its tasks, Mercina said. "It's easily-configured. Knowledge management modules can be deployed in that agent that help filter out all that noise and bring you the relevant information you need."

Park Place has been active on the acquisitions front in recent months, acquiring Com-Com, Ardent Support Technologies, Prestige Data Center Solutions, Performance Data, Allen Myland and NCE Group in the months before Park Place itself was purchased by private equity firm GTCR in November 2015. The company hired CMO Jennifer Deutsch and CFO Grant Stanis in June, vowing to continue establishing itself as a global player in the TPM industry.