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To stay competitive in today's rapidly changing business world, companies must update the way they view the value of their investment in Network-Critical Physical Infrastructure (NCPI). No longer are simply availability and upfront cost sufficient to make adequate business decisions. Agility, or business flexibility, and low total cost of ownership have become equally important to companies that will succeed in a changing global marketplace.

Network-Critical Physical Infrastructure (NCPI) is the foundation upon which Information Technology (IT) and telecommunication networks reside. It is the "backbone" of the business, as its elements provide the power, cooling, physical housing, security, fire protection, and cabling which allow the Information Technology to function.

Most successful businesses today depend on a stable information technology platform. In order to maintain these IT business operations, four layers or building blocks must be present.

In addition to the NCPI, this includes:

- the information technology; and

- the processes; and

- people

to support the operation of these systems.

The information technology includes data processing, storage, and communications systems, both hardware and software. Without appropriate planning and design of this technology, the network and ultimately the business cannot function.

All processes for operating in this data center or IT environment must be clearly defined, well documented, and standardized in a simple manner for all users to comprehend. When such processes are not effectively implemented, inconsistencies in the operation and maintenance of systems are inevitable leading to unexpected downtime.

It is also necessary to have the people to support the operations. This includes having the appropriate staffing level and the right level of skill and training. When proper planning for staffing levels and training/skill levels has not occurred, human error is inevitable. Industry experts estimate that human factors cause unplanned downtime 40-60% of the time.

This paper discusses a key shift in the way IT planners must think about business value as they make NCPI investment decisions, and presents the drivers that are dictating this new set of value criteria.

- "Network-Critical Physical Infrastructure: Optimizing Business Value," Wendy Torell, White Paper #117, American Power Conversion http://www.apc.com/index.cfm, 2005

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File URL (PDF) for report here ftp://www.apcmedia.com/salestools/VAVR-5X4MCQ_R0_EN.pdf

Post Date: June 11, 2005 at 10:30 AM CDT; 1530 GMT