Powering the Digital Nervous System

Granted, IT does play a mission critical role and sometimes data is life
critical. And, even though Moore’s Law says that processing power has
increased periodically and opened up the floodgates of computing, the whole idea
about IT’s mission critical role stands nullified if computing power is not
supported by three critical elements: Connectivity, networking and power.

Of all the three, the role of Uninterrupted Power Supplies (UPS) plays an
all-pervasive role when we factor-in the 24/7 availability of access to data.
Any downtimes due to power blackouts will have huge ramifications on

Here are some staggering statistics. According to industry estimates, power
failures in the US alone cost companies to the tune of a staggering $26 billion
a year. And, the downtime costs due to power blackouts stand at around $1,000
per hour!

These downtime losses in a big enterprise environment translates into huge
expenditure that could, in the most instances, be avoided if only organizations
have in place a comprehensive power back-up architecture that will minimize
downtimes because of power failures. However, even in most evolved geographies,
enterprises fail to recognize their power back-up needs and only a crisis often
lead to realization and takes the enterprises to a managed level in terms of
power back-up facilities.

Reflecting on this Shrikant S Bapat, country champion, Uptime Solutions,
Emerson Network Power India, says, “In a large enterprise we are not
talking about a single use application, but millions of interconnected
transactions that can create havoc in the event of downtime. For instance, the
online auctioneer e-Bay, after being down for 22 hours in June 1999, reported a
revenue loss between $3 million and $5 million. Its stock dropped 26%. In
another instance, after being down for 24 hours in June 1996, AOL had to pay $3
million in customer rebates. A phenomenal loss for any business.” These
examples give a perspective on the criticality of a reliable power solution for
a large enterprise. Power solutions for the enterprise segment encompass much
more than a mere UPS.

UPS Capacities

5Kva—20 Kva

When we talk about power back-ups, the ubiquitous UPS devices that are a
common place come to the mind. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The big
picture pertains to enterprises that calls for reliable power back-up devices
that forms as the critical backbone for 24/7 computing-a virtue of modern day
IT infrastructure scenarios. Agrees R Chellappan, managing director, Numeric
Power Systems, “Today enterprises are looking at total uptime solutions,
the cost of downtime for a few minutes of a mission critical applications will
run into millions of dollars. So before rolling out a back-up plan one needs to
conceptualize and size the requirements of power protection for a given customer
and accordingly design the solution.” The objective before such a plan is
to arrive at maximum uptime of 99.9999 for mission critical places like data
centers, call centers and Disaster Recovery facilities, he adds. Given the
ground realities, power back-up devices are the most sought after peripheral

Market Dynamics
Just like computing devices are scaling up constantly, UPS devices, over the
ages, have also renovated technologically. As we trace the evolution path of
power back-ups, it is only post the 1980’s that vendors have started realizing
the business potential in this space. In the 80’s, an age dominated by
mainframe computers, power blackouts were predominantly managed through standby
generators. This approach just kept key systems up and running, while the
majority of terminal users were denied access. This lacuna acted as the catalyst
for the emergence of defined segments in the UPS space. It was during this time
that standalone PC back-ups came into being and created altogether a new market.
Standalone UPS devices of various capacities have today become a default
peripheral device and are bundled with every desktop and caters to the lower end
of the segment.

Says Bapat, “The UPS market has come a long way since initiation. It has
evolved gradually from a mere back-up product for desktop computers to a more
multi functional peripheral. With the phenomenal growth in the data
communications and telecommunications industries, the need for uptime solutions
is growing like never before.”

S Bapat
 country champion, Uptime Solutions, Emerson Network Power

the appropriate UPS solution is a challenge. If you over specify the
requirement you will end up with a costly and inefficient solution.
If you try to cut corners you will face tripping and critical load

A macro view of the power back-up market would baffle most. At the lower end
of the spectrum; there are hundreds of players offering mainly UPS’ in
capacities ranging from 1Kva to 5Kva. This is mainly the unorganized sector. The
high-end market is mainly dominated by branded players. Says Yogesh Bharadwaj,
country manager, GE Digital Energy, India, “Broadly there are two segments
of the market, one is the desktop module for individual PCs, which may be
described as less critical areas of the industry. The second segment caters
to medium and large BPO, IT, data centers where UPS power systems are a key
infrastructure backbone. The BPO segment is turning out to be one of the major
growth drivers for the UPS business.”

In terms of consumption, the metros are the biggest markets and only in the
recent times one is seeing a shift towards B and C class cities. However, most
vendors are putting in place aggressive growth strategies to capture more market
share from the higher end of the spectrum.

Business potential apart, the enterprise segment can be divided into large
and the small enterprise. The large enterprise consumes typically back-up
capacities starting from 60Kva to 3000Kva. The back-up ranges of small
enterprises oscillate between 5Kva and 20Kva. As we delve deeper, it’s clear
that back-up demand is closely linked with the vertical’s thrust on automation
of its processes. So a manufacturing segment will largely depend on generators
that can go on for long periods of time but the cost of operations are very high
and in such scenarios a robust UPS solution will usher in a cost effective
back-up set ups. The large enterprise UPS demands are extremely complicated and
a vendor has to provide a complete suite of solution and the enterprises has to
do extensive mapping of the power blackout patterns and then opt for a solution
that brings in maximum benefits and RoI.

Enterprise Demand Drivers
Given the unique demands of the verticals, most of the vendors offer a
complete suite of power management solutions that address a large scheme of

Bapat asserts that the key differentiators of each vertical have to be
factored in. Take, for instance, a simple differentiator of industrial and
office applications. While industrial units prefer single phase UPS, office
buildings have a ready three phase distribution. There are unique demands of
redundancy, usually met by the application engineers selecting the suitable
configurations. Each vertical demands different service level agreements,
depending on the location, available expertise, and spares policy among others.

In India, currently, the most promising high-end verticals that go for
comprehensive power back-up solutions are the process industries-BFSI, BPO,
data centers, and software development facilities. These segments assume a large
enterprise stature and big vendors like Emerson, APC, GE Digital Energy have
large mandates here. Says Bapat, “The high-end enterprise segment demand
three phase UPS’ with optimum load performance and battery management system.
When we take the case of Internet Data Centers, a reliable back-up architecture
should include among all things a redundant UPS that enables on-line maintenance
and repair without impacting the processing operation.” All the major
vendors are targeting the data centers and it is one of the biggest verticals.
APC for instance is positioning its infrastructure (branded as InfraStruXure)
power solution as the key component of the Network Critical Physical
Infrastructure (NCPI) for data centers. Quips Subodh Tagare, marketing manger
APC, “We offer data center infrastructure solutions along with power
products ranging form 500VA to 4320KVA. The requirement for our solution is from
across industries and verticals. The InfraStruXure solutions cater to large to
medium size data centers and fully integrate power, cooling and environmental
management within a rack-optimized design.”

Today, in India UPS is emerging as a major industry and one is seeing the
emergence of well-defined segments cutting across the enterprise spectrum. At
the end of the day, what emerges is that, it is the kind of applications that
determine the back-up demands. Hence depending on the complexity of the IT
environment and the enterprises business objectives, a power back-up plan has to
be made, and that plan has to ensure absolutely dismal downtimes out of power

Shrikanth G in Chennai

If you are a CIO or a CTO planning to roll out a power back-up plan, look for these must requirements

n UPS devices with energy-saving
software that allow the unwanted/off-peak period and low load in a multiple UPS
configuration to be shifted to one system at optimum load level

n Availability of the after sales
support and spares in the city

n One also has to anticipate
future load requirements and the UPS should have the capability to add further
modules on the same configuration 

n Comprehensive annual
maintenance contracts

n Power management software—this
feature is a must for managing back-ups for large work groups. The software
alerts network administrators on power outages in a networked environment and
also sends messages to terminal users about that the system will be shutting
down in said minutes and also this utility saves and closes opened files in the
event of auto shutdown.


No More Power Hassles

The ground reality
The Company’s plant is an aseptic packaging unit that produces beverages
like Frooti, N-Joi and Appy. The plant draws power from the MSEB grid. And the
major problem was frequent power cuts and voltage fluctuations, the reliability
was an insufficient 90% and this necessitated the almost continual running of
the Distributed Generator (DG).

The Pain area
High cost of Operations: Due to an increased dependence upon the DG, the
cost of operating the plant was extremely high.

Productivity Efficiency: Due to frequent power breaks and fluctuations in
power leading to unclean power. There were high number of unscheduled breaks in
operation. Even a power trip for one second could halt the process for as long
as 3-4 hours.

High Rate of Component Failure: The frequent power fluctuations resulted in
the wear and tear of machine components resulting in a high failure rate of

The Solution
The company opted for a solution from Emerson Network power. It implemented
a UPS along with and automatic transfer switch connecting to the DG set.

The Benefits
Network Uptime: The installation of the UPS solution ensured that the
facility received continuous and clean power, which took care of fluctuations in

Production Efficiency: The production efficiency shot up considerably since
the loss in machine time was cut down drastically. There were no more
unscheduled breaks and the resultant loss in manpower time to undertake CIP. The
number of CIP’s dropped from 56 (prior to solution) to 8 (post solution)

Flexibility in Operations: Due to the installation of a UPS, the facility
could now afford to be more flexible in terms of planning its production and CIP

The RoI
The biggest saving was noticed in the cost of fuel required for the
operation of the DG set followed by the cost of spare parts. Due to the above
savings, Parle saved as much as Rs 12 lakh in terms of cost. On an investment of
Rs 32 lakh for the solution, the ROI was achieved in a period of 10 months.

User Voice
“Every single second of downtime for an Aseptic Packaging Unit results
in longer start-up times and loss of revenues. The implementation of a Network
Uptime Solution has ensured a sturdy power back-up architecture which has
translated into higher productivity levels, reduced operational costs, an
effective ROI achieved in a span of just 10 months and minimum downtime due to
power situations”

R Hariharan, director, Parle

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