In the loop

In the loop

Lights out (and data lost) is a doomsday scenario for many companies. While a power blip might not last very long, the lost productivity can be very damaging.

Protection against power outages is a big concern for business and government departments alike. According to industry experts, a typical computer is subject to more than 120 power problems every month.

The effects of power problems range from keyboard lockups and hardware degradation to complete data loss or burnt motherboards. Contingency Planning Research claims more than 45.3 per cent of data loss problems are caused by power failure or surges.

Energy efficiency is a growing area of opportunity, according to APC country general manager, Gordon Makryllos. Energy consulting has become an integral part of the mix and partners can peddle a host of power management solutions.

Up until recently, power management hasn't been a main focus. According to a recent Frost and Sullivan study, the worldwide market still suffers from end-user apathy toward power protection. Compounding the problem is the fact that IT managers have typically had limited knowledge of power quality issues, which leads to delayed or inaccurate purchases.

All change

But that's all changing, and remote sites, in particular, are providing a growing revenue stream for partners peddling uninterruptible power source (UPS) systems, Makryllos said.

"Many companies have no power protection in remote sites," Makryllos said. "Yet some of these locations, like data centres, are becoming business critical due to the size of investment and the critical nature of services they deliver. Power requirements and power management solutions in remote sites are increasing.

"We're dealing with extremes in temperature, heating and environmental issues. This is putting a strain on remote offices."

Many mid-sized firms are trying to build a national presence by opening locations in regional areas, which leads to a growth of sites per firm. The vast geographic expanse of Australia also means remote sites are a necessity.

So what do companies need to consider? For starters, remote locations, or regional areas, are more prone to power issues, MGE UPS Systems operations director, James Fraser, said.

"There are more problems with voltage dips and variations in regional areas," he said. "It's often more extreme because the grid doesn't have as many consumers on it and there are maintenance issues associated with the long distances."

Given the more fragile environment, he suggested resellers pitch double conversion is at remote sites because it is the only UPS technology that offers complete filtering of power.

The 2-20KVA range of double conversion gear was the biggest selling market for the reseller channel, which accounted for 45 per cent of MGE business, Fraser said. The company was currently pitching enterprise power manager software, which gave companies centralised management. "An insurance company, which may have 200 branches, may want a UPS at each location," he said. "But that's not needed with centralised management - and that is a big selling point."

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