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EDITORIAL Power to the people

EDITORIAL Power to the people

I wonder how many resellers took advantage of the recent power cuts in Auckland. Who would have expected a modern, peacetime city to be suddenly deprived of power, not just for hours but for weeks? What an opportunity to point out to your customers how vulnerable they are.

Mind you, I'd expect the generator hire people to be in on the act too. After all, that's the only way to keep the office computers up and running for any length of time.

UPSs are meant to bridge the gap between the power going off and coming on again a minute later. That, or to allow an orderly shutdown of the system when the power isn't going to come back immediately.

While the Auckland blackout might have shown how important UPSs can be, they should have opened many more opportunities for smart resellers. Namely, asking your clients how easy is it to relocate their important business computing activities in times of emergency or calamity.

In Auckland, those businesses which were able moved important computer systems out into the suburbs, or even down to other cities. Our own company, IDG in Auckland, moved to the suburbs for the duration. It might be a nuisance to relocate, but being able to stay in business is vital.

What emergency planning services do you offer your clients? Being a value-added reseller means more than pre-installing Quake II on all notebooks you sell. It means keeping your clients informed and aware of things they might otherwise forget until it's too late.

It means suggesting things they've for- gotten about, and it means having sensible and appropriate solutions for common business situations.

Depending on the size of your client's installation, appropriate disaster recovery and emergency operation plans might include off-site backups, off-site mirror servers, notebook PCs capable of running key systems, removable disk systems, branch offices capable of running the main office systems and so on.

Have you ever considered setting up an emergency room on your premises? It could be used as a value-add for your clients, offering them a place to continue their key computing activities if they ever find their main system inaccessible due to theft or natural or man-made disaster. It can also be used as a good example of how to set up a bulletproof installation, using all the failsafe systems your suppliers can offer.

Another interesting exercise would be to ask your local equipment hirer to bring a generator around to your premises, and see how well it works. After all, it's in your interest as well as theirs to know what the good and bad points are.

How many PCs will it run? Will it run a mid-range system? Is the quality of the power appropriate or are there problems? How long will it run without overheating or needing maintenance (and can you safely and legally refuel it while it's running)? Is the noise unacceptable? Can it be quickly delivered? What does it cost? How likely is it that one will be available when needed? Are there any special precautions when using a generator? How reliable are they?

Conducting this exercise and passing the results to your clients really would be a value-add.


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