Emerson's Solution Offers VSNL 99.9% Uptime

by Julia Fernandes    May 12, 2005

Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL), India’s largest data centre and Internet Service Provider (ISP) in terms of bandwidth and customer base, has deployed Emerson Network Power’s ‘Uptime Solutions,’ which offers redundancy up to the last level and a guaranteed uptime of the highest possible caliber- 99.9%.

The company has five data centres spread across India housing mission critical applications, ranging from the country’s well-known portals, such as rediff.com and indiatimes.com to very large enterprise customers. With customers such as these, network uptime of 24×7x365 was the need of the hour.

Speaking exclusively to CXOtoday, Suhas Joshi, corporate champion, IT solutions, Emerson Network Power (India) Pvt. Ltd. said, “The solution customized for VSNL offered redundancies upto the last level and guaranteed uptime caliber of 99.5% across the board. The solution offered features such as inbuilt monitoring systems that would track and alert on any potential mishaps.”

Elaborating further he said, “Emerson closely worked with the officials at VSNL and designed the Network Uptime Solution in tandem with VSNL’s business strategy. The Emerson solution had to ensure that right from the floor plan of the electrical to the ultimate rank, there would be no downtime for the customer.”

According to Joshi, it took two months to deploy the solution, while the approximate TCO worked out to Rs 80 lakh.

“It took approximately one month to design the solution which included visiting the site, discussions with VSNL and internal team and relevant research. We undertook a site audit studying the power requirements at VSNL and drew up a power conditioning plan in conjunction with VSNL which addressed the following issues such as a redundant design structure and long-term partner support,” added Joshi.

A redundant design structure is highly critical since for the smooth functioning of the data centre, even planned shutdowns (for e.g., maintenance purposes) are an absolute no-no. The Emerson solution offered complete redundancy in the form of a mirror image of the complete power system on the lines of internationally accepted practices (Suntone Certification) that ensured a consistent flow and keeps the facility up and running 24×7.

The fundamental requirement when a customer is outsourcing a data centre or hosting requirement, is that the infrastructure available should have all the ingredients for running it at a 24×7 basis.

Says Hari Nair, senior manager- IS/IT, Tata Internet Services Limited, “Although, Indians have made a name for themselves in outsourcing, when it comes to outsourcing their own business, they are reluctant. So it becomes all the more necessary for us to build that fundamental confidence by providing a qualitative solution benchmarked against international standards.”

To chalk out a flawless network, one has to take into account the customer needs. There are stringent Service Level Agreements (SLAs), which vendors have to fulfill while entering into a contract with a client. For e.g. certain customers insist on an uptime of 99.9%, which is a global standard with vendors across different geographies. A key observation to be made here is the Penalty Clause, which comes into play if the requisite Network Uptime is not fulfilled by the vendor. This could imply enormous revenue losses for the vendor.

Says Nair, “If I promise my customer 99.9% uptime, I make sure my network is capable of providing 99.99% uptime! What this means is that we look at every component in the network - each and every socket, cable, transformer, UPS is covered to ensure that at every stage we have enough redundancy.”

VSNL operates a network of earth stations, switches, submarine cable systems, and value added service nodes to provide a range of basic and value added telecommunication services. The maximum amount of India’s International Internet Bandwidth comes through VSNL totalling to over 350 MBps with another 450 MBps in the pipeline.

All other ISPs and data centres currently peer with VSNL for their bandwidth, which makes VSNL the most suitable data centre for hosting content in India since it allows the content to be closest to all users in India. Even access from other countries to servers in India is quite fast as compared to other ISPs in India.

As Sanjay Srivastava, head-products, Tata Indicom Enterprise Business Unit concluded, “Network downtime has a cascading effect that affects the business far beyond just bottom lines. The Emerson solution has never let us down and has always conformed to global benchmarks enabling us to serve our customers effectively.”