Everything You Need to Know About Tomorrow’s Mission-Critical Control Room

 Nov 20, 2018   |    Black Box Networks
In deploying new control room infrastructure, planners and integrators should ensure that the end result will address the immediate requirements of a mission-critical AV, communications and control facility and that it can grow and evolve economically to continue meeting those needs. Key solution considerations include making the control room future-proof, employing or keeping the door open to virtualization technology, ensuring high reliability and continuous uptime, establishing and maintaining high video quality and addressing current and future network and bandwidth requirements. 

Future-Proof: Evolve Incrementally, at a Comfortable Pace

By building future-proof control room infrastructure, an enterprise or organization gives itself a foundation for smooth, incremental growth that leverages new techniques and technologies — and their benefits. A robust KVM solution can offer valuable plug-and-play interoperability that simplifies expansion and upgrades. It can pave the way toward HD and 4K video transmission. It can facilitate use of a dedicated network or standard IP network infrastructure or both.

By supporting legacy networks and IP infrastructure, today’s more sophisticated KVM systems make it possible to migrate to IP systems and infrastructure at a comfortable pace. With IP connectivity established, the control room can realize unlimited scalability with respect to endpoints, including virtual machines.

Virtualization Support: Combine Physical and Virtual Servers with Ease 

Not every control room planner is looking to move right into virtualization, but its benefits are difficult to ignore. The two primary reasons companies consider virtualization are cost and energy savings. Virtual machines are more economical than traditional servers, so they make a compelling solution for reducing overhead and hardware costs. By replacing physical servers with less-expensive virtual machines and a centralized system management platform that improves performance, availability and scalability, control room planners and administrators can reduce time-consuming processes and total operation costs. 

Until recently, there was no simple way to allow an operator to access a virtual machine where once he or she accessed a physical machine. The emergence of KVM systems that support both virtual and physical servers at the same time, using the same interface, today gives operators the ability to switch between these systems without worrying about which is real and which is virtual. 

Support for both physical and virtual servers makes it easy to migrate physical servers to virtual machines without any downtime. Administrators simply mirror existing physical servers to virtual machines and, at a certain point, complete a full shift to a virtualized system. System management effectively remains the same; operators wouldn’t necessarily know that they are dealing with a virtual machine. They can turn their attention toward other tasks and concerns. 

The zero-client-based approach to virtualization offers another key capability: sharing of virtual machines, with multiple people having access to a virtual machine, simultaneously or sequentially. During testing within the control room environment, for example, this capability would allow several operators to work in tandem as they monitor and manipulate data in a particular virtual machine. 

24/7/365 Reliability and Performance: Ensure Network Resilience 

Fail-safe operations and maximum uptime are vital in mission-critical control room applications, so it is important to plan for network resiliency at every level, all the way up to complete switchover from one control room to a backup control room location. The KVM infrastructure should incorporate redundant network interfaces supporting both CATx and fiber connections through SFP slots. 

Redundant paths and server endpoints allow for fail-safe backup, and the pooling of multiple KVM transmitters and sources can provide operators with capable alternate systems if a computer crashes or is unavailable for use. Redundant power supplies with status monitoring can help keep all systems online. The KVM management system likewise can provide critical status alerts to prevent failures or bandwidth shortages that can hinder performance and productivity. 

Download Our White Paper for More Information

If you want to learn more about the future of control rooms, check out our new white paper, How to Future-Proof Connectivity for Tomorrow’s Control Room. This white paper explains how to overcome the concerns and challenges tomorrow’s control room presents, first by describing a complete solution built on a unified KVM (keyboard, video, mouse) connectivity and signal distribution system and then by explaining how all components in the full solution work together to address the requirements of critical control room applications in 2019 and beyond.

Download the white paper for free now.
 

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