In Focus : Power Management: Backup For Business

DQC News Bureau
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Ever wondered what might happen if you fail to send that one single mail

which was crucial in getting you an ambitious project for which you have burnt

many midnight lamps. Again, there may be a situation where a natural disaster or

calamity can cost your company hours of downtime, something that an organisation

can bear at no cost.


Thus, it would not be an overstatement to say that a company's success

depends a lot on the power management solutions implemented by it. Electricity

is the lifeblood of an organisation irrespective of the size. Right from a bulb

to a computer to even a data center, everything requires electricity to run it

efficiently and fuel the various processes within the infrastructure.

According to industry sources, the power industry is growing at double the

pace of the IT industry. Given that India is a country that is plagued with

power shortages and frequent power disruptions, power manage­ment is all about

provi­ding customers with solutions that are robust, cost-effective and highly

reliable apart from being scalable as well.

Right from selecting the right kind of equipments to guiding them in

selecting the right source (AC/DC power), power management is all about

designing and distributing the power in a way that in the event of a mishap, the

organization does not encounter data loss and downtime. At first, the type of

solution (distributed or cumulative) is taken into consideration and then based

upon that backup is decided. Thus cost depends upon the application being used

by the organisation.


Catering to the SMB

While vendors address the power requirements of the large enterprises

directly, the SMB and the mid market are addressed through system integrators (SIs).

Traditionally, an SMB can be categorized into three categories.

First is the small offices which has a headcount of anywhere between one to

nine employees; second is the small business with an employee strength from one

to 100 and finally, are the mid-size business houses that have a headcount of

100 to 1,000 employees.

According to a research done by Access Market Interna­tional (AMI), the

companies with under 1,000 headcount that consists of around four million

entities, are contributing nearly $8 billion business to the GDP, which is

almost 50 percent of the total IT business. The figure in itself is huge and

indicative of the potential this segment holds and why partners should consider

this business.


The kind of power manage­ment solutions these SMBs look at differs according

to their requirements and criticality of the business operations. The first set

includes those entities that are driven by growth. These organizations believe

in having power solutions that are instrumental and essential in the growth of

any business.

The second set of organi­zations is cash flow centric-which look at value for

money and are vendor specific. However, the third category of businesses looks

at a reason to invest. For them, the return on investment (RoI) is very

important and they think on every aspect right from equipment cost and

productivity in terms of business.

Given the complexity and the heterogeneity of this spectrum, offering them a

standard solution is not possible. The average power consumption of these

businesses in terms of power factor could be anywhere between 600VA to 600KVA.


Small offices like that of an internet center, DTP centers, small share

brokers sitting in the B&C class cities that have no more than one or two

computer systems can bank on a UPS that offers power factor anywhere between 750

to 1.3KVA.

On the other hand enter­prises with five or six machines can function with a

UPS that offers 3 to 6KVA power supply and the ones having more than 10 systems

can rely on a 10KVA UPS to meet their power requirements.

The kind of power management

solutions the SMBs look at differs according to their requirements and

criticality of the business operations

Different power needs

The power requirement of an SMB is different from that of an enterprise,

especially in the small cities. Enterprises in tier-3 and 4 cities cannot afford

a downtime and therefore look for a redundant power solution that backs one UPS

with another to avoid any failure in the system.

On the flip side, the criticality of operations is not as high in the case of

an SMB. Hence they do not need a redundant solution when it comes to power


Secondly, while enterprises that have large data centers look at rack

solutions like a low-end passive networking rack (PNR) or an aluminum rack that

offers 83 percent perforations, SMB with small data centers do not have similar

requirements and look for cost-effective solutions.


“The enterprise customer's first priority is the reliability of the solution

and money is a secondary factor. On the other hand, the SMBs demand optimized

solution that can handle the criticality of their business processes, and they

are very cost conscious,” added Paresh Pradhan, Director-Marketing of Luminous

Power Technologies.

Mukesh Singh, Director of Elent suggested that SMBs that look for more

reliability and are willing to invest huge amount, should rather get a genset

installed and have a UPS backup of not more than an hour. “If the genset is not

installed, then the batteries that provide longer backups have to be changed

very often and this thus becomes a fixed-cost for the company. These businesses

have to learn about their total cost of investment and avoid the pain of

recharging the battery every now and then,” he added.

According to a Gartner report, 50 percent of the data centers are set-up in

the SMB space. These data centers are spread in the area of approximately100sq

ft to 1,500sq ft. Not every vendor

has the bandwidth to address this segment. Only strong customer interface routed
through partners can address the segment.


When a data center is in question, SMBs look at least integration cost,

defunctness of their legacy equipments, post-sales peace of mind and above all,

value for money. Also, they demand a single point contact that can respond to

their queries. Keeping the above in mind, the vendors are now working in

alliance with each other so that a unified solution is provided to the clients

via a partner.

However, other than the efficiency, the power factor also plays a crucial

role. Pradhan noted, “Every time we place new equipment, it is a load to the

source. Thus, it is not only the efficiency of the UPS that is important; the

customers have to look at power factor as well.” If the power factor is not

taken into consideration and the equipment is poor, it can lead to huge

electricity cost.

Role of partners

The partners play a crucial role when it comes to providing power management

solutions. Emerson has close to 40 partners, through which it addresses the SMB

and mid market segments. The company imparts training to partners with emphasis

on individual products and solutions that will help them increase productivity

and at the same time are pocket friendly. It runs several programs throughout

the year to enable the partners to acquire required skill sets to sell the


Elnova has a set of 75 such SI partners who are trained in relationship

building than just selling the products and solutions. Vijay K Mehra,

Director-Marketing, Elnova stated, “The partners should be trained on handling

services as that is one area where for recurring revenues.”

He further added that the channel wants to grow and hence should not aim at

overselling the products. “Rather partners should look at providing the

customers with what they demand and at the same time suggesting the best

possible solution,” he added.

Pratik Chube, Country Manager-Channel Products, Emerson mentioned, that SMBs

and the mid-market enterprise don't look at the energy efficiency but at capital

expenditure (capex) and the operating expenditure (opex). Thus, a partner should

explain to their customers that capex should not be looked at in isolation and

efficiency of the product should not be ignored as it affects the total cost of

ownership at a later stage.

Speaking on the training aspect, Manoj Jain, Director, Microtek International

said, “We train the partners to provide customers with the solution they demand

and at the same time, tell them the USP of our products. For this, we offer

training in every city where we give them technical presentation and knowledge

about the specifications as well.”

Emerson provides an entire gamut of products and solutions for these

enterprises that includes micro range UPS that can offer power supply of up to

220KVA. Then there is the rack mountable UPS which has an added advantage of its

form factor. No additional space is required to adjust them.

But the challenge is that it requires high battery backup. Small-scale

organizations that do not have any mission critical operations to run can do

with a 20KVA that costs around Rs 20,000.

Elnova offers UPS that can provide backup from two to 24 hours. It has

deployed UPS at army headquarters that provide a backup of 48 hours.

On the other hand, Luminous provides end-to-end solutions wherein they set-up

the entire network and offer solutions, power equipments and infrastructure in

association with SIs like IBM, HCL and Wipro among others.

Trends and the future

While the prices of the UPS have been dipping for last four to five years,

there are no major changes in terms of technology. Though the fly wheel UPS did

excite the customers for sometime but could not sustain, when it came to backup

for a longer duration.

The reason behind the popularity of flywheel UPS was that it's a battery-less

UPS. But it had its own share of complications-it is two to three times the

price of a normal online UPS and the backup time is less, and hence customers

are not very keen on migrating to this solution.

The other trends in the technology like solar energy and wind energy failed

to pick up. This apart, the form factor has also not changed. Unlike that of a

computer where the size of a CPU has changed the size of transformer in UPS is

still same. At best, in place of copper, aluminum made transformer is being used

as it is cost effective.

Earlier in the mini-mainframe age, normal power conditioning and power backup

used to be the order of the day. But today, customers demand UPS that could be

monitored even remotely.

Vijay Mehta of Elnova stated, “With multinationals coming with full force and

the kind of financial muscle they have, Indian UPS manufacturers will have to

gear up to face stiff competition.”

The future according to vendors does not lie in the entry-level UPS but in

selling the online UPS and that too in the SMB and mid-market segments. In the

process, the smaller brands will all disappear.

This is also due to another reason wherein with the increase in the sale of

laptops, desktops are witnessing a fall in the demand, which is resulting in the

huge downfall in the demand for entry-level UPS by the SOHO segment.

Pooja Sharma