Power Strategies for an Automated Business
Power, the driving force behind enterprise infrastructure is a neglected factor
in many organizations. It is often relegated to the back of the mind till that
dreaded power outage happens. In a country like India where power problems are
the order of the day, the Indian corporate has to pay more attention to the
electrical power coming into the enterprise.
With a view to highlighting this critical issue, Network Magazine conducted
a roundtable on "Power Strategies for an Automated Business", to discuss
the various aspects of power in enterprises. The roundtable witnessed some of
the best technology users in the Indian enterprise debate issues and solutions
to these aspects.
Held under the aegis of Technology Senate 2003, the roundtable highlighted many
of the problems faced by Indian enterprises in terms of power. Some of the main
issues discussed at the roundtable were about planning of power systems, maintenance
and user education issues. We present an exclusive look at some of the issues
and solutions discussed.
N Jayasankar, Deputy Manager - IT, Power Grid Corporation of India said:
The main issues to consider when implementing power conditioning are the consequences
of power failure and costs incurred due to the failure. If the cost of failure
will cost the enterprise more, it is best to invest in a good power conditioning
In many cases the power supply tends to be so erratic that UPSs do not get the
time to charge fully between mains power failures, leading to system collapses.
So it is crucial to consider the frequency and duration of power failures when
performing capacity planning.
It is always better to deploy cable ducts rather than cables for the power infrastructure
despite the incremental cost differences. This provides flexibility in two ways.
One is that due to the closed nature of cable ducts, there are lesser chances
of rodents destroying power cables. The second is that in case of cable failures,
replacement of cables becomes easier.
Web-enabled power management systems can offer many benefits. Availability of
event monitoring is a great boost to effective power conditioning.
M N Jayasankar, Deputy Manager - IT, Power Grid Corporation of India Limited
M D Agrawal, Chief Manager - IS, Refinery System, BPCL
Ajay Prabhu, Asst VP - IT, UTI Bank
Alagu Balaraman, Sr. VP - IT, Godfrey Phillips India
Avinash Arora, New Holland Tractors (India)
A. K. Pathak, President, Computer Society of India
D Agrawal, Chief Manager - IS, Refinery System, BPCL said:
Today's enterprises require power architectures similar to network architectures.
Having such architectures will help specify exact requirements for each location
of a geographically distributed infrastructure.
Organizations need to go in for disciplined power quality assessment to monitor
factors like noise. I would also like to suggest power audits similar to how
network audits are done. If required, IT heads should provide this budget since
clean power is most crucial for them.
When planning UPS capacities, the load of air-conditioning equipment should
also be taken to account which is usually not done. Redundancy and replacement
practices are also very important for enterprises. It is also necessary to have
DR planning for power infrastructure.
Prabhu, Asst VP - IT, UTI Bank said:
In remote locations sometime, power infrastructure is so poor that it calls
for at least two levels of redundancies to take care of disaster.
Maintenance is a critical issue. It is very easy to keep levels of redundancy
and instruct personnel to provide maintenance at locations. But these conditions
may not be met due to lack of knowledge. Therefore, it is necessary to provide
education about maintenance and load manipulation.
It is a good idea to have region-wise panels of power conditioning vendors.
What we have found is that individual vendors may tend to have specialized products
only in a particular region. Although the vendor promises to support the product
in other regions, they might not be able to actually provide support. So depending
on the vendor's specialty, location and distribution arrangements, we need to
identify the vendors for each location.
The roundtable was moderated by A K Pathak, President, Computer Society of
India. His remarks highlighted the main conclusions arrived at during the roundtable.
A K Pathak, President, Computer Society of India said:
Much thought is going into how to reduce downtime in enterprises due to power
outages. This is a very good sign since no power situations can cause businesses
to go down due to the tremendous losses involved.
A very good idea that has come up during discussion is about awareness, training
and day to day control. This is absolutely necessary to achieve seamless power
It is in this context that redundancy needs to be built into mission critical
applications. There is also the need to maintain and audit power requirements.
Although this is often talked about, it is usually neglected by most organizations.
Use of Web-enabled applications is useful for resolving problems at remote locations.
It is also very useful to employ software benefits like improved power factors
and smoother switchovers. This is where IT can be of extreme use for us in effective
enterprise power conditioning.