profitability through CRM
Director of Product Marketing, Powerware EMEA
GemNet (Pvt) Limited: Suite 604,
Fortune Centre. 45A Shahrah-e-Faisal. Karachi. Pakistan.
Tel: (21) 4547835 and 6. Fax: (21) 452997.
June 10 - 16, 2002
Is UPS an unnecessary expenditure or a vital
component in your IT strategy? We are increasingly dependent on
electrical and electronic equipment in our everyday lives. In turn the
proper functioning of this equipment depends on a good supply of
electricity. Yet many companies still fail to protect their network
with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS).
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 on the working
of computers are the fluctuations and disturbances in mains power
which are unseen but can affect the performance of the equipment.
According to OFFER, the UK power industry regulator, some 88% of all
UK electricity users were affected by power interruptions in 1997/98
with an average time loss of 88 minutes*. Overall, 89 per cent of
interruptions were restored within three hours and over 99 per cent
within 24 hours. Over the last nine months there have been several
power outages and disruptions in the UK due to freak weather
conditions. For example, Perpetual plc, one the UK's leading financial
services companies, based in Henley-on-Thames has been plagued by a
number of power cuts. Building services manager at Perpetual, Ron
Hanson commented, "Given the frequency of power cuts in Henley,
we wanted to make sure that vital data and expensive computer
equipment would be protected in the event of a power outage. We have
up to 230 computers and 54 servers in a building, as well as normal
electrical services, so the (UPS) system installed had to be extremely
robust with a large capacity".
It has been estimated that as much as 45% 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 assume 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. The voltage input window can vary widely by as much as
XX%. 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 is susceptible to power variations. Most PCs nowadays can ride
out power outages of a few milliseconds but no more.
Ideally UPS should be considered when an IT
installation is being planned or a building is first being
constructed. Power protection specialists can advise on what equipment
is needed to protect the load and any special considerations that need
to be taken into account. For example, networks running a Unix
operating system need to be shutdown in a specific order otherwise it
could take IT staff days to reboot the system and recover files once
power is restored. Likewise, where computers are using cache memory
technology a power interruption can play havoc with data storage and
retrieval. Sophisticated multi-tasking operating systems such as
Windows NT have brought greater power and flexibility to users but
ironically leave organisations wide open to the threat of power
problems. Operating systems such as Windows NT cannot cope with sudden
shutdown as there a number of procedures that must be performed in the
background to ensure data, files and applications are closed properly.
Having a UPS with appropriate shutdown software can help ensure that
data is not lost or corrupted through power failure.
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 need for UPS relates directly to how critical
computer uptime is to your organisation. A supermarket, for example,
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. Moreover, as electronic
commerce becomes more prevalent companies will be even more dependent
on computer networks for the survival of their businesses. If a
network is not shutdown in an orderly fashion it can take many hours
to reconfigure systems and get it up and running again. Fortunately
there is UPS monitoring and shutdown software available which gives
the user complete control over the operation of the UPS in a networked
environment which can warn of impending power problems and initiate a
controlled shutdown of the network giving users ample time to save
data and close applications. In the meantime, the business is losing
revenue. Although currently some 80% of UPS applications are in the IT
sector UPS applies wherever there is a need for continuous and clean
power including medical, industrial, telecommunications, security and
Power cuts, when they happen, are devastating.
Fortunately, power cuts in most countries are a rare occurrence. For
example, on 8th December 1998 approximately 1m people in San Francisco
and San Mateo in California found themselves without electricity. The
cut caused chaos in Silicon Valley as businesses, transport and public
amenities ground to a halt for over seven hours. More in trouble where
those businesses without UPS who not only found themselves paralysed
but many had lost valuable data. The cause of the power cut was human
error at a substation in San Mateo. More recently Dubai was plunged
into darkness in May when the country experienced a six-hour power
cut. Again, those organisations without UPS suffered the consequences.
In July 1999 the entire island of Taiwan suffered a blackout lasting
several hours due to severe weather conditions. This affected the
Hsinchu Science Park, home of the Taiwanese electronics industry,
which had to destroy around 4,000 wafers.
Purchasing UPS is like taking out an insurance
policy, it is protection against something you do not want to happen.
Like insurance it is important to have adequate levels of protection.
Market research carried out by Powerware in Europe has revealed that
the key criteria for businesses choosing UPS is product reliability
closely followed by customer support, warranty, brand and battery
life/runtime. In other words, apart from features and functionality,
organisations want to be sure that their UPS will perform when it
comes to the crunch.
The level of UPS protection varies with the size of
organisation and the criticality of systems. Some companies have one
large UPS in the basement of the building which protects the power
supply for the whole building, 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. However, the sad fact is that far too many
organisations have no protection at all.
ABOUT INVENSYS &
Invensys Powerware is a global leader in the power
solutions industry. Offering the broadest range of product and
services available today, Invensys Powerware integrates a full line of
AC and DC power systems, power conversion products, standby batteries,
telephone line surge suppression, power management software, remote
monitoring, turnkey integration services and site support, providing a
seamless solution. Powerware systems and services increase
enterprise-wide systems availability and are utilised in local and
wide area networking, data and voice over IP, co-location facilities,
fixed-line and wireless communication networks, and industrial
manufacturing. Invensys Powerware is headquartered in Raleigh, NC, and
is part of Invensys plc. Invensys plc is a global leader in the
automation and controls industry, with headquarters located in London,
England. Invensys operates in all regions of the world through four
focused divisions - Software Systems, Automation Systems, Powerware
and Control Systems.