In a previous post, I wrote about how the new Micro Data Center (DC) Xpress enables APC by Schneider Electric partners to deliver traditional, converged and hyperconverged IT systems more quickly and cost-effectively. I didn’t, however, share a key enabler of how these systems are faster and easier to deliver: The online configurator tool that partners can use to “build” the systems.
Micro DC Xpress systems enable partners to create reliable, rack-level solutions that are ideal for customer cloud, data center and edge computing requirements, such as for Internet of Things (IoT) applications. And the configurator tool makes it a virtual snap to put all the components together, so the customer can visualize what the finished rack will look like. We’ll install and test all the Schneider Electric components, and enable you to order them with the rack under a single SKU. Simply install the IT gear and you’ve got a complete, pre-configured rack that can quickly be rolled into service.
For partners, the configurator tool takes much of the work out of the order process. Previously, it was up to you to find out what your customer wanted, make sure all the components are compatible with one another, and source the equipment, from probably multiple suppliers. Then you’d have to install all the components into the rack and test it all out.
Now, with the configurator tool, you literally drag and drop components from our (long) list of available IT gear and supporting infrastructure, such as PDUs and UPSs. We’ve already done the work to make sure all the components work together; if it’s on the list, it’s good to go.
We also pre-certify certain combinations of equipment to meet various vendors’ hyperconverged reference architectures, such as Cisco, HPE and Nutanix.
Here’s how the configurator tool may play out in practice. Say you’re at a customer site and they’re interested in an edge computing solution for a new branch office. You recognize it as a perfect application for the Micro DC Xpress. You sit down with the customer, pull out a tablet or laptop, and log in to the online configurator tool. As you talk through the components the customer needs, use the tool to drag and drop each into the virtual rack. You can continually revise and edit the designs in real-time, thus speeding up the sales process.
Once the customer decides on a final design, it takes just a couple of clicks to order. You can save the design report in .PDF, .XLS or .DOC formats and email it to the customer. The design will include a BOM list, rack and components line drawing, a rack elevation guide as well as shipping, weights and dimensions information.
We are constantly adding to our catalog of rack-mountable third-party IT equipment, so you’re more than likely to find what you’re after, including the latest converged and hyperconverged products. And of course, you’ll find all the Schneider Electric PDUs, UPSs and even our StruxureWare data center infrastructure management (DCIM) software, which also comes pre-integrated.
We’ll assemble all the Schneider Electric components into the rack and have it shipped to your customer in just 2 to 3 weeks – far more quickly than the 4 to 6 weeks if you had to configure it yourself. All that’s left is to install the IT gear. You can even opt to have the finished rack enclosed in our Shock Packaging, which is certified to ship Cisco UCS solutions (as covered in this previous post).
The configurator tool also lets you create your own templates to even more easily create repeatable designs. That’ll be particularly useful if you have a customer that wants to roll out the same rack design to multiple sites, such as a series of branch offices or retail locations.
Between the Micro DC Xpress and the configurator tool, you can decrease your physical engineering and production costs by up to 15% and decrease integration time for the overall IT solution by up to 20%.
Micro DC Xpress is proving to be an effective way for customers to address their edge computing and IoT infrastructure needs. Take a look at the configurator tool and I think you’ll agree it’ll be a great help in quickly getting customers the exact configuration they need. To access the tool, please first log into your partner page. Scroll down to “Support Tools” and select “APC Design Portal.” If you have any questions or have difficulty accessing the portal, please reach out to your APC Sales Representative or the APC Channel Marketing Team.