Harris powers through blackouts

Following two prolonged blackouts in the last six months, Harris Technology is realising the benefits of a comprehensive power protection solution. For a company that generates 15 per cent of its sales from online purchases, the potential downtime could represent a loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

But instead of a stricken panic, Harris Technology was business as usual, sustaining operations through both blackouts with the assistance of its newly installed American Power Conversion (APC) Symmetra Power Array.

According to Leanne Cunnold, general manager of APC Australia /New Zealand, "Harris Technology is a perfect example of the need for an effective, comprehensive power protection solution in today's e-business world."

With companies becoming increasingly focused on e-business initiatives, there is added pressure to maintain 24 x 7 Web site accessibility and remote kiosk capabilities.

"The power protection product has always been there but as the market matures and the awareness of power protection grows, there has been a steady uptake," said Cunnold.

"Originally, power protection was just about protecting hardware until people realised that over a period of six or 12 months their data was actually worth more than their hardware. Then it became about protecting the data on the computer but now, with the uptake of e-commerce, availability is becoming the primary concern."

"Our perception of the importance of power protection changed dramatically with the company's increased focus on e-business initiatives and a relocation to North Ryde in October last year," said Ted Williams, market development manager for Harris Technology.

"A large percentage of our trade is done online, therefore the highest possible system availability is key to our business - as a retailer we need to keep our customers happy. Our network is the vital hub for all online transactions.

"A critical consideration for us was the ability of the UPS to maintain operations for an extended time in the event of prolonged power failure, Williams added.

"The APC Symmetra unit has certainly proved itself in this regard, we've experienced two failures since October last year, both of which lasted longer than two hours. We were comfortably able to sustain all operations throughout these periods. With the APC solution, the company has effectively protected itself against the potential loss of trade and productive time."

Williams believes this redundant capability is increasingly important as Harris Technology branches into point-of-sale kiosk solutions in major retail chains such as Target and K-Mart.

"These point-of-sale kiosk solutions have full online capacity, interacting in real time via a thin-client browser interface with Harris Technology servers," he said. "They have the capacity to provide rental and sales quotes, print outs, and online finance approval forms. Access to these kiosks is critical - they increase our customer base and provide another purchasing option for these customers.

Harris Technology purchased APC's Symmetra Power Array with 16kVa capacity to protect the company's network at the new North Ryde location. This unit effectively protects 19 servers, the entire phone system (consisting of 150 extensions and 50 analog lines), the security system, server room environment and all switches.

APC also allows Harris to manage the Symmetra unit with its Web management card.

"If there's a problem with the power, the unit will automatically page a nominated engineer with details of the problem enabling hands-on supervision," said Williams.

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