The eighty-eight-year-old Bengaluru-based, herbal health and personal care firm, The Himalaya Drug Company, is trusted by millions of customers for their health and personal care needs. One of its most well known products is Liv.52, which was launched in 1955 for treating liver disorders, the company however is better known for its drug Serpina, believed to be the world’s first antihypertensive drug, launched in 1934, four years after the company was founded.The company operates in over 90 countries across the globe and its products prescribed by 400,000 doctors worldwide. With its headquarters in Bengaluru, the company has offices in the US, Europe, Singapore, South America and Dubai.
“It was only in around 1998 that we entered the consumer market and launched our personal care products under the brand name Ayurvedic Concepts,” recalls R Srinivas, General Manager – IT Infrastructure and Security at The Himalaya Drug Company.
While the company transformed into a multi-product company across various segments with a primary goal of keeping its consumers well from head to heel; Srinivas and his IT team decided to take on a critical task for themselves. They wanted to create a new data centre for the company, the heart of most businesses, and the central channel for any data moving in or out of an organisation.“We were hitting the wall with our old data centre and struggling to keep pace with accelerating business demands and growth,” says Srinivas.
The Himalaya Drug Company’s legacy data centre was 100 percent virtualised infrastructure running around 200 plus servers. There were about 13 blade servers, having two storage boxes along with switches, routers etc. As the business grew, the data centre space was hitting the threshold, and there were limitations in the infrastructure as well.
There was no Precision Air Conditioning (PAC) unit in place for data centre cooling. There were instances when the power went off and the existing air-conditioning (AC) would take time to switch over even when the power was restored using a generator, and at times it would remain in the off mode causing high heat to be generated in the data centre that raised alarms, and the team had to intervene.
The other challenge was around the Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems that form a critical component of data centre backup power.“We were not able to provide the downtime for maintenance to our electrical department team. This was because we were running a 24X7 business and we couldn’t afford a downtime. We required a separate UPS module so that the maintenance could be done online, with zero-downtime,” says Srinivas.
In short, the IT team wanted to expand its data centre size, keep pace with accelerating business demands for more storage and compute resources, and take full advantage of new technologies designed to improve infrastructure performance, scale and economics. “Being a manufacturing company, we already had 24X7 availability of power in the campus. We didn’t opt for co-location or cloud as we had all the resources like 24X7 availability of power, electrical equipments, diesel generators, etc. in-house,” says Srinivas.
Choosing to build a data centre is not a simple task for an organisation. After selecting the new space for the data centre, Srinivas and his team started to evaluate various providers for the data centre solutions.
Making the right choice
During the evaluation process for the data centre design and necessary infrastructure equipments, the team found that the solutions being offered by the service providers would require additional space. For instance, one provider offered having an air-conditioning unit next to the rack.
“This meant that we needed to have more racks to fill the servers. We wanted to have the best solution for the space that we had chosen,” says Srinivas.
That’s when Srinivas zeroed down on Schneider Electric, who took the complete details of the data centre requirement and came up with a room-based solution. The Himalaya Drug company chose Schneider’s EcoStruxure solution to meet its data centre needs.
“The solution was impressive, and it came along with PAC, modular UPS, fire suppression system, water leakage alerting system etc. We got a complete solution for all our requirements and within our existing space,” says Srinivas.
A dedicated manager from Schneider Electric was appointed who monitored and carried out the entire deployment of the new data centre. In a span of three months the data centre setup was completed.
The migration of all applications took another three months. Srinivas explains that this delay in the migration was primarily because the IT team did not want to have any downtime considering that the data centre was accessed across geographies.
“The migration was so smooth that our global offices didn’t realise that we had moved to a new data centre environment,” shares Srinivas.
Srinivas mentions the use of EcoStruxure Asset Advisor mobile app that has helped his team monitor the new data centre on a continuous basis. The app features offer incident tracking, fast alarm resolution, and collaboration through chat with the IT team and Schneider Electric.
“Schneider Electric EcoStruxure Asset Advisor is a great app to have. It has helped us to monitor UPS loads, the temperature of the racks and has given us alerts when there is a swing in data centre temperature. This is a proactive support from Schneider and a great advantage for us,” says Srinivas.
When asked about the cost savings in the data centre project, Srinivas states clearly that the high availability of the data centre to meet business growth was more important than measuring the cost savings.
“Since we have our own power supply, we have optimised on the power consumption. The monitoring of the data centre via the app has helped us to have a complete data centre visibility. This has translated into a better work-life balance,” Srinivas says.
However, he is quick to add on the cost savings front regarding a migration scenario from SAP EC6 to SAP S/4 HANA after the new data centre was operational. Before rolling out S/4 HANA, Srinivas evaluated the cost of hosting the application on the cloud vis-à-vis on premise. The cloud option was 4X costlier than hosting it within the data centre.
“This was possible only because of our new data centre capabilities,” says Srinivas.
Data centre projects are complex undertakings. But when it’s done right, like The Himalaya Drug Company, a brand new data centre emerges to support the business objectives and meet current and anticipated future needs.
About Schneider Electric
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