The internet of things - and the move to digitise equipment outside of traditional data centers and computer rooms - is powering up new opportunities for resellers, according to power management company Eaton, which says demand is running high for power and environmental protection on the fringes of the cloud.
John Atherton, Eaton ANZ general manager for power quality, says cloud computing's consolidation of the data center environment - with fewer data centers built as the power moves to larger centralised environments - is forcing resellers to adapt.
“If there are fewer on-premise data centers being built, how do you make sure you maximise the opportunity that's coming out of that?,” Atherton says.
The answer, he says, lies in internet of things and edge of cloud.
“What we're seeing is a growing need for power protection on the fringes of the cloud - as more and more processes get digitalised, that is coming up with opportunities,” Atherton says.
“What we're finding with the edge of cloud and IoT is that processes are getting digitalised, people are moving equipment sometimes into areas outside of a normal data center or computer room.
Those environments can be as diverse as a tomato greenhouse, old broom closets at railway stations which are now being used to house equipment for Sydney's Opal cashless payment system, or dairy farms.
However, those new environments provide a myriad of failure points for equipment, Atherton says.
He cites the example of Sydney's rollout of the Opal card.
“What we found there was they turn old broom closets on the platform of existing stations that have been around for 150 years, into [a room to house] a rack of equipment.
“And then things would start failing because it wasn't a purpose designed room, there's a lot of dust and dirt and things started failing. So we had to work through solutions where we can control the environment,” he says.
“We're finding a lot of the opportunities for us to train partners to identify how to control the environment and marry up the right level of power protection.
Atherton says Eaton is well placed to offer that support and training given that ‘a good proportion' of its business has been providing cabinets for broadband, 3G and 4G rollouts for telcos.
“So we've got quite a good pedigree in doing power protection in a distributed environment, both indoors and outdoors.
Atherton says the right power and environment controls can add to the longevity of technology - and provide resellers with a value add for customers.
“Ultimately the people deploying the technology are resellers, but a lot of the time they're across the technology layer but not necessarily across the power and environmental layer.
“A lot of what we're doing in this training is educating people around IP [ingress protection] ratings and things like that. What kind of dust protection, what kind of water protection does it need.
“If I present in that kind of IP what does it do to the temperature inside of the cabinet, will the technology I've got in the cabinet survive at that temperature, do I need a free air cooling unit tied to the side, do I need an air conditioning unit integrated into it.
“There's a lot of things when you start to dig into it that impact the reliability of that technology. That's where we can add a lot of value in educating the resellers.
“A lot of the time they're already selling the technology layer, making sure they can protect the technology is great value add.
Next month the power management company will begin rolling out a new sales enablement program based around edge of cloud and internet of things.
Atherton says the training will leverage Eaton's work with telcos for technical training while also providing training on looking for these types of opportunities, with part of the training focused on account mapping.
The software opportunity
Edge of cloud isn't the only potential growth area Atherton sees for resellers.
He says power management software is increasingly crucial.
“You can only build in so much efficiency and availability into one single component.
“The next level of efficiency and availability is how those components integrate with each other.
“Just like the internet of things, where things are getting digitised and automated, effectively that's what [Eaton's power management software] IPM does as well.
If you look at our IPM platform it works in with virtualisation applications like VMware and you can increase your availability by having your virtual level speaking to your critical infrastructure layer. That technology is present its been rolled out, we've been working with VMware for a few years and I think it's a great area where resellers can get educated and add value quite easily and quite cost effectively as well because all of those features are already there in both of those platforms.
Atherton says the next step is around intelligent services marrying up software and analytics and enabling the move from reactive maintenance to proactive maintenance.
“It's not just doing remote monitoring of critical assets, but doing analytics on that data we've been gathering and providing value back to the customers.
“That can help them prioritise both their capex and opex budgets and also optimise their opex budget because if things are being monitored and assessed regularly, chances are you can optimise the maintenance budget.
Eaton will debut its offering, Predict Pulse, in Q2 of next year, with Atherton saying the reseller's entire installed base will become an opportunity.
“Nearly every device whether it's an intelligent PDU or a UPS system, can be monitored remotely.
“So if you look at just the pure install base, effectively the opportunity is massive.