Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) face all sorts of challenges when it comes to keeping their IT environments up and running reliably. While they need to offer the same sorts of applications as large enterprises, and they need those services to be just as available, they typically don’t have the same depth of IT staff to make it happen.
In my position as product line manager for single-phase uninterruptible power supply (UPS) services for Schneider Electric, I’ve seen first hand how the problem manifests itself. The SMB does the right thing by installing UPS systems to back up critical IT infrastructure, including servers that run crucial applications and networking devices that support Internet connections, perhaps to cloud-based service providers.
Maybe the organization has 20, 30 or more UPSs in its headquarters building or spread one by one across numerous branch or campus locations. Chances are IT knows it’s supposed to maintain these UPSs – check the batteries, vacuum away any dust, inspect for wear and tear and even test them under load. But with so many UPSs to deal with, and such a thin IT staff, it’s difficult to keep up, to say the least.
Over time, as the organization grows, it acquires more and more UPSs. At the same time, perhaps there’s turnover in the IT staff, or promotions. Before long, it could well be that no single person in the organization even knows where all the UPSs are. It’s pretty difficult to maintain a UPS that you don’t even know about.
You buy a UPS as a sort of insurance policy against power outages. But if you don’t properly maintain your UPSs, you can’t be sure that policy will pay off when you need it to. It’s not unlike routine maintenance on a car. If you never change the oil, you can bet you’ll dramatically shorten the life of your engine.
Just as most drivers bring their car to a service provider who changes their oil, SMBs can sign on with a service provider to maintain their UPSs on a regular basis. It’s really just another form of outsourcing, like using cloud providers for various applications.
SMBs can sign on for various levels of UPS services, including:
• Remote monitoring of UPSs and other equipment
• Remote troubleshooting
• Extended warranties on parts
• Enhanced reporting, including proactive maintenance recommendations
• On-site maintenance and repair service
At Schneider Electric, all of these services fall under the umbrella of Fleet Management Services.
One of our customers is Microsoft, which uses one of the key Fleet Management offerings – the Schneider Electric Remote Monitoring Service – to keep tabs on more than two dozen Microsoft Technology Centers that it operates around the globe. Although Microsoft is certainly not a small company, the MTCs provide a good example of a situation where the service has value. In effect, the centers are akin to, say, a retailer, small restaurant chain or regional bank with 20 or 30 locations.
Microsoft relies on Schneider Electric technicians to monitor the health of UPSs and other physical infrastructure at the MTCs and help diagnose and resolve problems before they become critical.
“The Remote Monitoring Service provided by Schneider Electric has proven to be an invaluable tool,” says Christian Lavista, Technical Director at the New York MTC. “The immediate notifications and the maintenance scheduling help give me peace of mind that my facility is running smoothly.”
Peace of mind is invaluable for IT professionals. Learn more about how you can get some with Schneider Electric’s array of Fleet Management Services. And to learn what it takes to properly maintain your UPSs, download the free APC by Schneider Electric white paper number 210, “Single Phase UPS Management, Maintenance, and Lifecycle.”