APC Living On The 'Local Edge' With New Power Deployment Configuration Tool, Cloud Management

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APC by Schneider Electric is moving to make it easier for its channel partners to bring their SMB customers more complete solutions instead of point products for improving the efficiency of their IT infrastructures.

This includes the introduction of a new configuration tool that automates the design of power solutions targeting edge deployments, as well as the first in a new line of UPSes enhanced to give partners easier remote access to improve partner services related to power efficiency.

The new offerings are scheduled to be officially unveiled next week at the XChange 2017 conference in Kissimmee, Fla., which is operated by The Channel Company, the parent company of CRN.

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The new offerings are focused on improving the efficiency of IT, including power and services, at the local edge of the corporate IT infrastructure, said Katie Boeh, director of channel communications at West Kingston, R.I.-based APC by Schneider Electric.

The local edge, which hasn't changed much for years, includes such things as customers' network closets and the IDF, or intermediate distribution frame, closets, Boeh told CRN. "What has changed is the criticality, the nature of the equipment going into that closet, how important it is to a customer's experience and connectivity. … It's really all about protection mission-critical data," she said.

The cloud is seen as a way to scale the processing capabilities of such modern applications as augmented reality, but because of geographical separation, latency, and bandwidth, the cloud is not always suited for use with data-intensive applications, said Thomas Humphrey, segment director for edge at APC.

"That's now driving this edge application," Humphrey told CRN. "It's a hybrid environment now. You need the cloud because of the economies of scale and all the great things that it does. But you need the edge, because you need that local capability for machine-to-machine communications, data processing, and even just for prioritization of data. You may be able to do local aggregation of data on the edge and send mission-critical data to the cloud."

The best way for channel partners to protect the edge of customers' IT is via standardized, redundant, and repeatable infrastructures, which APC provides via its new Local Edge Configurator, Boeh said. "You don't have to break your head or rack your brains for how do I build a solution for every single MDF (main distribution frame) or IDF (intermediate distribution frame) closet a customer has," she said. 

The Local Edge Configurator is a software tool that lets partners quickly and accurately plan and design custom, redundant edge solutions for customers, Boeh said. Using the Local Edge Configurator, partners can quickly design a solution including a rack, one or more single-phase UPSes, physical security, PDUs (power distribution units), and software.

The solutions proposed by the Local Edge Configurator can be saved as a template for easy future scalability and reuse, and as part of a sales presentation, Boeh said. Partners can also use the tool to help customers order additional products including warranties, warranty extensions, services, and similar offerings, she said.

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