The Unsung Role of IT Power Equipment in Digital Transformation

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As digital transformation unfolds around the globe, a new reality is emerging: Digitization’s productivity gains depend on clean and reliable electrical power. Since all compute power is fueled by electricity, the stability of the power infrastructure that generates, transmits and distributes that electricity has a direct impact on business continuity. As even the simplest of devices become equipped with microprocessors, the growth in device intelligence raises demand for clean power and electrical infrastructure capable of supporting such increased connectivity. In fact, information technology (IT) is projected to have twice the impact on power consumption as electric vehicles by *2035, which will also quadruple its absolute value of consumption.

In light of this rapid growth, IT industry solution providers need to offer more than just IT systems in their solutions — they need to provide modernized power and energy components. In other words, it’s not just IT that awaits transformation; critical power equipment upgrades must happen as well. Not only does this dual transformation offer end users enhanced reliability and availability, it also provides firms selling into IT-intensive markets with new revenue generating opportunities. In this post, I will explain how power and IT upgrades work together to drive successful digital transformation and productivity gains.

How clean power drives IT edge technology uptime

The rise of edge computing influences the relationship between power and IT in two important ways. First, as established networks take on more and more connected devices, resulting in higher volumes of IP traffic, the accompanying power infrastructure will need to grow to sustain the increased volumes of data traveling back and forth. Second, as the end nodes of these networks (those places where edge computing occurs) demand more compute capacity, a stable power infrastructure becomes critical to sustaining IT system uptime and business continuity.

How can businesses properly support this new dispersed IT environment? Most retail stores, for example, do not have IT experts on site to manage these systems. The solution is remote management and monitoring that enables a preventive approach to maintenance. In this way, systems reliability and efficiency can be assured without having to invest in expensive on-site technical expertise. The key to effective remote support is a streamlined management framework.

Applying a framework that addresses both IT and power

As the behind-the-scenes complexity of integrated systems increases, it is essential to establish a framework that simplifies end-user experience and supports linkages between the layers of products, edge control, and apps and analytics. In addition to the supporting IT systems, this framework must also account for the power systems that enable these layers to interact in a cyber-secure manner.

To address these needs, Schneider Electric™ has developed an EcoStruxure™ architecture that offers an open platform to partners and end users so that they can develop and integrate digital solutions. EcoStruxure prioritizes openness and simplicity, enabling IT solution providers to support edge computing deployments that serve new operations technology (OT) markets across industrial sites and buildings.

This architecture makes it easier for the ecosystem of partners and vendors to work together to address unique customer requirements. For example, Schneider Electric partners with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to provide edge micro data center solutions that can run cloud-based data center infrastructure management (DCIM). Using DCIM, customers with edge solutions can streamline support from service providers and vendors that manage physical infrastructure, applications software, and IT equipment. Together, these solutions will help to deliver on the promise of a “lights-out” edge management experience where no on-site experience is required.

Simplicity and time savings results in new productivity gains

Thanks to advances in digitization, edge computing is becoming much more manageable and affordable. It is now possible to update hundreds of micro data centers running edge applications in the field through a simple command that is deployed once in the cloud, as opposed to hundreds of times locally across sites. Under a sophisticated monitoring system, the systems manager knows each micro data center’s location, specific configuration, and system health. In some cases, the management system will even recommend a course of action and generate service tickets for a local managed service provider (MSP).

Edge applications, along with accompanying physical IT and OT infrastructure, are designed to provide decentralized local staff with the power and intelligence to respond faster and to make better decisions, thereby driving corporate profitability. For many of our IT business resellers, integrators, and MSPs, the time invested in selling into a new edge opportunity can now address multiple levels above and beyond the simple sale of a server. An entire cloud-connected and fully integrated data center in a box can also be proposed as a solution. This includes pre-configured, pre-tested, and pre-integrated solutions that offer hyperconverged computing, operations software, remote monitoring, power distribution, and power protection — all in a secure rack.

Digital transformation is changing the way we all conduct business. Those enterprises that recognize the critical link between power and IT infrastructure will thrive as a result of increased efficiency, lower downtime, and enhanced productivity.

*Schneider Electric research

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