It was great spending a couple of days in the Schneider Electric booth at the recent Interop 2014 event in Las Vegas, mainly because I got to meet lots of customers with interesting stories to tell about their experiences with Schneider Electric products – overwhelmingly positive stories, I might add.
But it was also good to meet some folks who had been going to Interop for as long as I have, which is to say, very nearly since the beginning. I first attended as a reporter for Network World in the early 1990s, when the event was just shaking its roots as a confab for UNIX and TCP/IP gurus. Companies like Cisco were startups at the time – and used to throw really great parties.
One such attendee at this year’s event was Jonathan Broome, Chief Technology Officer at Linq3 Technologies, which develops software that enables lottery tickets to be sold from places like ATMs and gas pumps. The company is a little over 5 years old, he says, but his experience with APC goes back some 20 years. So he could speak to both the progression in the company’s technology as well as in the Interop event itself.
Today, he sees greatest value in Schneider Electric products in his company’s office locations more so than its data center. That’s because the data center is located in a colocation facility, which has dual utility power sources, full generator backup – the works. Nonetheless, the company does use APC by Schneider Electric managed PDUs in each rack. “They give us full connectivity and control over every machine’s power,” he says.
The corporate office buildings are another story. “The power is very unreliable,” Broome says. “We see several power incidents a month in our office locations.”
The only generator backup is on the building level, used to provide power for elevators, exit lighting and the like – not for tenants. So he uses APC by Schneider Electric SmartUPS uninterruptible power supplies to back up office computers and the switches that provide network connections to the remote data center.
“We’re relying on them to regulate brownouts and cover the straight out blackouts that do unfortunately occur,” he says, where power goes out for maybe 5 to 30 minutes. The SmartUPS units enable him to ride out the shorter outages. For longer ones, they ensure the company can shut down machines gracefully so no work is lost and so the machines come back up quickly when power is restored.
Given his long experience in IT and with APC products, I asked Broome what he thinks of the progression in the product line over the years.
“One thing that’s been consistent is it’s been rock-solid, well built,” he said. “Clearly the efficiencies have improved, the prices have decreased, the monitoring and management abilities have gone up quite a bit. And simple things like the batteries last longer, things like that. So it’s just been really good.”
I asked a similar question about the Interop event itself. “Way back when it was a pure tech show, without fancy booths and things,” he says. “Definitely we’ve got the fancy booths and the [show has kept up with] changes in technology as well. It’s gotten much more mainstream.”
I couldn’t agree more. Check out the video to see my full interview with Broome.