Compute at the edge: Schneider will see you there
Schneider Electric recognises megatrends that ultimately will cause a continued escalating increase in data and following it, increased energy consumption as well. Urbanisation and industrialisation is predicted to increase energy use by as much as 50-percent by 2050. An additional 50 billion devices are expected to go online by 2020.
More pertinent however, is that unstoppable force called cloud computing; organisations all around the world and from almost all industries cannot deny the cost benefits, scalability and agility that a consumption model can offer, and also the reach and extensibility that global cloud providers bring with them.
Our cloud future: a kink in the works?
Schneider Electric’s VP of its IT Business Unit, Astri Dharmawan even observed, “Over 50-percent of companies in the United States say that they use the cloud. “
But she also observed that since a year ago, the industry has moved in a different direction, towards more decentralised cloud solutions.
For example, Microsoft found that hyperscale computing and a cloud strategy is not enough and have added a micro data centre strategy into their IT environment mix. Netflix, also launched Open Connect, a content delivery network comprising over 20 different peering locations, to serve its millions of content viewers worldwide.
Astri explained, “Gartner found IP traffic is going to increase to up to 9 zettabytes by 2020… so a cloud strategy is not enough. Sure, it offers benefits in terms of scale, speed and cost reduction.
“But there is are challenges if there is only a single strategy for the cloud,” she emphasised.
Three main challenges that have emerged include latency, bandwidth limitation that impedes real-time access to content and regulated industries in some countries that require customer and/or citizen data to not leave the country.
Go-to-market – business and tech
Astri stated, “As an industry leader of data centre solutions, we can support edge solutions and bridge the cloud to end users with data centres.”
To be exact, Schneider works with partners to deploy their data centre solutions.
Schneider engages directly with their global customers and big MNC telco players who tend to be their go-to-market partners, as well. But, when it comes to countries and regions, a majority of their go-to-market initiatives are through their partners like co-location providers, local telcos and system integrators.
In Malaysia, business process outsourcing provider VADS is a strategic partner as well as a customer.
“They own a co-location data centre, so Schneider supplies solutions to them, and they are also our system integrator,” Astri explained, adding that Schneider’s portfolio of data centre solutions range from the panel to the rack, to cooling systems and also facility operations.
Schneider also has technology partners in the form of hyperconverged appliance makers who integrate IT resources like storage, network and processing into smaller footprint hardware that are stackable and scalable.
Schneider’s role is to provide power and cooling for these appliances, and Astri pointed out that these hyperconverged partnerships will be part of Schneider’s priority for the year 2017.
Another edge solution that Schneider has introduced to Malaysia this year is pre-fabricated data centres or data centre-in-a-box. These are 40 by 20 feet containers of IT resources that are pre-tested, pre-configured, modular, scalable and easy to deploy.
Astri opined that these containerised data centres will have high opportunity in Malaysia because of our difficult-to-reach remote areas and hot climate.
As of today, over 80-percent of their customers already have Schneider’s classic solutions at the edge. Astri concluded, “It is not something new to us. It’s about how we align to the current trend and how we address our customers’ requirements.”