APC, Ingram Micro Offer Powerful Analytics To Help Data Centers Run Well And Keep Cool

APC and its parent company Schneider Electric are working with Ingram Micro to bring a new software and data analytics offering to channel partners that can help increase the power and cooling efficiency of their client's data centers.

The new offering takes advantage of Rueil-Malmaison, France-based Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure management technology introduced earlier this year, said Russell Senesac, data center business development director at West Kingston, R.I.-based APC. The software is being brought to market for partners via a deal with Ingram Micro.

EcoStruxure is software that connects all the devices in and around the data center, including devices related to physical control such as locks and alarms, cybersecurity, temperature, and power, Senesac told CRN. It also collects and analyzes that data in a central location.

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"Our business is the thermal data cycle," Senesac said. "Power comes into the room, it generates heat, the heat needs to be removed. We want to connect all the devices in the data center, collect information from them into a central depository, and provide analytics and action on it."

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Because of the relationship between Schneider Electric and APC, EcoStruxure can collect data on uninterruptable power supplies (UPS), air conditioners, power distribution units, and any downstream electrical supply equipment, whether manufactured by APC, Schneider Electric or their competitors, Senesac said.

"At the end of the day, if we can bring in the exact amount of power to provide the exact amount of compute and remove the exact amount of heat, it's perfect," he said. "But in reality, it can't be done exactly."

EcoStruxure collects the data from those devices and analyzes it in real time to provide actionable intelligence, Senesac said.

Data about a UPS' battery life, for example, could be compared to thousands of similar batteries to predict when a battery will fail. A solution provider could offer a replacement before the failure happens, he said. EcoStruxure can also look at temperature variations in a data center to suggest where to place a cooler to extend battery life, he said.

Another possible use would be to look at compute resources, power, and cooling over time and provide data to show if a particular process would run more efficiently on-premises or in Amazon Web Services or the Google Cloud Platform, he said.

It could also provide the data to allow channel partners help customers understand whether moving part of the IT infrastructure to hyper-converged infrastructure might be more efficient, Senesac said.

"This is customer data solving real-world problems," he said.

Ingram Micro is bringing the EcoStruxure offering to channel partners as part of an exclusive relationship, said Scott Zahl, vice president of advanced solutions at the Irvine, Calif.-based broadline distributor.

EcoStruxure is a unique opportunity for APC and Ingram Micro's channel partners, Zahl told CRN.

"It's really an extension of our cloud marketplace and IaaS (infrastructure-as-a-service) suite of tools to get the most out of existing data center infrastructures, as well as tools to support customers in on-premises, off-premises, and hybrid environments," he said.

Ingram Micro expects any of its channel partners with expertise in data center and hybrid environment infrastructure and buildout, especially those who already partner with APC, to be able to take advantage of EcoStruxure, Zahl said.

"That's hundreds of partners," he said. "We expect a core group of early adopters that will grow to several hundred as more capabilities roll out."

Other data center infrastructure vendors offer management products, all with slightly different functions, Zahl said. "APC by Schneider Electric's EcoStruxure is unique in how it was built to move into hybrid environments and manage IT infrastructures on-premises and in the cloud," he said. "It also has tight integration with VMware's vSphere 6.5, and is optimized to run on that platform."

Larry Hann, director of digital service programs at APC, told CRN that the assessment part of EcoStruxure is already SKU'd up and available via Ingram Micro. The monitoring portion will be piloted in the first quarter of 2018, followed in the following quarter by a pilot of the analytics portion, Hann said.

Senesac said APC by Schneider Electric will initially develop analytics and other applications to take advantage of the data lakes containing the data from all the devices. "Over time, we'll back off and let others write the apps," he said.