Schneider Electric-Cisco Partnership Delivers 3 Solutions for Building Smarter, Less Costly Data Centers

I’ve mentioned Schneider Electric’s partnership with IBM a couple of times, most recently about how the partnership involves a close working relationship to deliver products of value to customers.  Another example hit me that I wanted to share this time around, about our valued partner Cisco.

We’ve been partnering with Cisco for more than 5 years. In started in the APC days, when we began helping Cisco resellers ensure customers had the appropriate power protection for all the Cisco routers and switches they were selling. The joint success we had in the reseller channel has now evolved to joint solution development, just as our IBM relationship has.

The fruits of our most recent effort were announced Jan. 31 at the Cisco Live event in London. As the press release about the announcement details, we announced three jointly developed solutions:

1. A plug-in to Cisco UCS Manager from Schneider Electric StruxureWare for Data Centers.  Our StruxureWare for Data Centers product helps customers decide where to place servers and other equipment by giving them a complete picture of the power and cooling capacity, physical space and so on.  Now we can feed all this data to Cisco UCS Manager, which is Cisco’s tool for managing its Unified Computing System components. With that kind of data in hand, UCS Manager will be able to help companies manage their data centers more intelligently, such as by automatically capping power for a specific zone to ensure optimal cooling and overall data center utilization of the physical infrastructure. It’s pretty cool stuff that essentially raises the intelligence level up a notch in terms of data center management.

2. Integration of Schneider Electric PowerChute Network Shutdown and Cisco Unified Communications Manager (UCM). Our PowerChute software, which has been around since the early 1990s, works with UPSs to intelligently and safely shut down data center systems in the event of a power outage. By tying the system to Cisco UCM, companies can gracefully shut down Cisco UCM. That helps to prevent data corruption and also allows the unified communications systems to reboot more quickly once power comes back.

3. Schneider Electric Convergent Building Infrastructure Solution (CBIS).  This builds on our partnership with Cisco and its EnergyWise architecture, which helps companies save on energy costs. CBIS marries our ExoStructure Efficient Enterprise tools with Cisco EnergyWise to create a system that allows you to get really smart about where you place equipment and how you cable it all together, basically helping you place switches closer to IT devices to save on cabling. We expect it’ll save companies more than 20% of initial data center capital costs and another 30% on future moves, adds and changes, because they won’t require wholesale changes to the cabling infrastructure. You’re talking about saving tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars just by being smart about where you place equipment, racks, structured cabling ducts and the like.

Solution integrations like this don’t just happen. These projects were about two years in the making, the result of two partners – Schneider and Cisco – literally sitting down and brainstorming on what customer pain points we could address by joining forces. We think we came up with three really useful ones here.  Hopefully you agree.

We’re far from done, however. Consider this another evolutionary step in our relationship with Cisco, one that foreshadows even deeper integrations. Stay tuned for more news on that in the coming months.  It’ll be worth the wait.

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