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Why we need power protection more than ever before?

By Jorma Mannerkoski,
Product Marketing Director
EMEA, Invensys Power Systems
May 21 - Jun 03, 2001

Correct me if I am wrong here, but haven't times changed? It seems like only yesterday that 5:00pm was the time people quit work for the day, that the workplace used to sound bells or horns to signal the end of the working day. There was no significant overtime, no long hours just a pure and simple working week. And once workers arrived home they simply had dinner, met up with friends, or watched TV and went to bed to ensure that they got up in time to go to work the next morning.

Indeed things have changed. Welcome to the digital age where we live in a 24/7 existence of extended shopping hours, more demanding customers, virtual shopping, mobile connectivity, the Internet, are to name just a few things, that have combined to change the face of the world in which companies and organizations must compete. Everything is expected to work around the clock. People expect to be able to access their bank account over the internet at anytime of the night or day from anywhere in the world, or be able to call to and from anywhere in the world at any time, or pay bills, book holidays, buy clothes, in our busy lives we want to be able to do this whenever is most convenient for us. Businesses supplying such services need to be able to offer this, without problems or delays. They need to be available efficiently and effectively 24 hours a day.

Just take the Internet for example. If the web site supplying a service crashes or takes forever to complete it is a fact that the customer will go elsewhere, maybe to another site that doesn't crash, or change to a more reliable ISP. It's the same with telecommunications companies. They need to be able to provide a secure and stable service to its phone customers.

A supermarket relies on electronic terminals and computers to process customer sales. If the system goes down then customers will walk out and business is lost. Likewise a bank dealing room which is processing millions of pounds worth of customer business every hour cannot afford a minute's downtime due to power problems. There is so much competition between organizations that they cannot afford to disrupt their services at anytime.

According to the Venture Development Corporation (VDC), "Demand for UPSs within Europe will expand steadily as computing, networking, Internet based businesses and telecommunications continue rapid growth within EMEA. The growing dependence upon this electronically linked telecommunications infrastructure of mission critical applications and data storage functions will be a growth driver as the EMEA market surges toward US$2.2 billion (e 2.4 billion) in 2004, in contrast to US$1.4 billion (e 1.6 billion) in 1999."

Giving the customer what it wants and knowing how to do it is the key to success in this new age. Business enterprises and administrators (IT managers) responsible for maintaining systems availability recognize the necessity of investing heavily in power protection. The need for UPS relates directly to how critical computer uptime is to your organization and in this day and age it is 24/7. Thus solid reliable power protection 24/7 is key to the success or failure of your business.

VDC states: "End users are appreciating and seeking power protection for mission critical applications and operations due to the unstable power grid, whilst more and more operations are being defined as mission critical." Coupled with traditional markets such as medical laboratories, hospitals and public buildings, the new and more non traditional markets such as Internet banking, telecoms, datacom, Internet-based businesses, call centres and network centres to name just a few, will drive the UPS market in EMEA over the next few years, as they strive to keep going 24/7. The migration away from centralized information, data use and storage to distributed processing has been the key to many application developments. In the past few years, demand for UPS has involved client server networking. With increased networking and Internet use in EMEA, VDC expects this trend to continue, and to peak in two to three years.

Today's power problems

Many people wrongly assume that the only time to worry about the effect of power on computer and other electronic equipment is when there is a total power cut, which in most countries is not frequent. However, what has the greatest impact are the fluctuations and disturbances in mains power and power grids which are unseen but can affect the performance of equipment.

It has been estimated that in the past that almost half of all unexplained computer problems such as data loss, network crashes, mysterious error messages, damaged files and so forth can be attributed to power input problems. Many people assumed that the electricity coming from the mains is 'pure' but it is not. For instance, the utility input voltage can fluctuate widely over a period of time. Then there are a multitude of other power problems such as sags, spikes, brownouts, surges and so forth. Many factors can affect the quality of the power. For example, using the lifts in the building or even switching on the photocopier can cause fluctuations in the supply. Sensitive electronic equipment like computers, hubs and routers are susceptible to power variations. Most PCs nowadays can ride out power outages of a few milliseconds but no more.

UPS should be considered when an IT installation is being planned or a building is first being constructed. Power protection specialists advise on what equipment is needed to protect the load and any special considerations, which need to be taken into account. What a UPS does is not only provide backup power in the event of a complete power failure but also take the input electricity, clean it up and output what is called 'pure sinewave'.

The level of UPS protection varies with the size of organisation, the criticality of systems and the way businesses are set up. Some companies have one large UPS in the basement of the building, which protects the power supply for the whole building. This is also often backed up by a generator, which can provide longer term uptime. Other companies may just protect the network server or individual workstations where the data is vital to their business. As VDC explains; "The migration away from centralised information, data use and storage to distributed processing has been the key to many application developments. In the past few years, demand for low UPS has involved client server networks. With increased networking and Internet use in EMEA, VDC expects this trend to continue, and to peak in two to three years."

However, the most important thing to know is that there is a UPS solution to suit your needs, whether its small basic protection for every PC or workstation in your organisation or whether you choose to back up everything with one large UPS. And as UPS technology continues to advance your business / organisation will keep up in this 24/7 world we live in.

Powerware Corporation

Powerware is a part of Invensys Power Systems, a global provider of premier power systems, integrating a full line of uninterruptible power systems (UPS), telecom power systems, software, turnkey integration and 24/7 maintenance services. Customer applications include critical network and communications facilities requiring maximum availability such as IT networks, data centres, fixed line and wireless telephony and other critical applications. Powerware products are used in networking, PC, financial, medical, industrial, voice and data communications, military and aerospace applications wherever continuous power is essential to daily operations.

Invensys Power Systems, headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, is a US$2.6 billion leader in total power solutions for the IT, telecom and industrial markets. The parent company Invensys plc, headquartered in London, is a US$12 billion global leader in intelligent automation, controls, power systems and drive systems. Invensys Power Systems leads the world in power control and energy storage products for IT, telecommunications and industrial applications. Comprised of five product groups Energy Systems, Energy Storage, Power Conversion, Distributed Solutions and Teccor Invensys Power Systems provides customers with a single source for critical elements of their power systems.

GemNet

GemNet is the authorized distributor for Powerware Corporation (formerly Exide Electronics), and offers a large range of specialized power related products and services. The company has local offices in Pakistan (GemNet Private Limited) and Jebel Ali, Dubai, U.A.E. (GemNet Gulf GemNet offers Powerware's entire range of products including technical and after sales support.

GemNet's target markets are the emerging markets, and it's activities are currently focused in South Asia, and the Middle East. Since inception, it has been GemNet's goal to be a leading supplier of it's power protection product range in the markets in which it is present. To this end, GemNet has been focused on getting a detailed understanding of these markets, building relationships, and setting up the required infrastructure to support such an operation.

GemNet's Services

Service and Support:

Qualified team of engineers provide quality installation and after sales service.
Service contracts that provide for loaner equipment if repair time is to be more than 24 hours.
Custom tailored service plans to fit the clients needs, including plans that cover the client's existing UPS equipment. Services also include: Needs Analysis, Comparative Product Analysis, Cost Justification, Consulting, End-User Training, Maintenance and After Sales Support.

Power Consulting:

Hardware Audits: Audit of existing UPS, Recommendation of a Power Solution.
Quality Analysis: Analysis of the quality of power feeding your systems, Improvements in the powertrain system.
Solutions Consulting: Inspection of your complete facility, Identification of the solution, Correction of the Problem.