Schneider Electric Acquires Viridity to Increase Power Management Offerings

With its acquisition of Viridity, Schneider Electric is the latest in a long list of UPS hardware manufacturers that are investing in software to expand their product portfolio.

Schneider Electric is acquiring Viridity's EnergyCenter 2.0 platform, aiming to provide data center managers complete visibility over IT and facility operations, especially when it comes to power management and green technology.

Schneider Electric's strategic investment in EnergyCenter 2.0 will enhance the company's existing data center management suite, StruxureWare, by adding functionality to track energy use more closely and manage resource efficiencies for IT components including routers, servers and switches. Viridity's software is designed to track server utilization, gather data and monitor IT assets for all mission-critical physical systems of the data center, according to Schneider Electric.

Although some of those capabilities already exist in Schneider's StruxureWare suite, the EnergyCenter 2.0 platform will add the ability to proactively manage energy use and increase efficiency.

"We are very pleased to welcome the Viridity team and their award-winning Energy Center 2.0 platform and look forward to incorporating this solution into Schneider Electric's line of software solutions," Schneider's CTO of IT Business Jim Simonelli wrote in a statement. "Our entrepreneurial cultures are extremely complementary and we expect immediate synergies in the development of Schneider Electric's next generation DCIM software."

The acquisition of EnergyCenter 2.0 follows a deepening strategy by French-based Schneider Electric to fill out its product suite for data center infrastructure management (DCIM). Earlier this year, the company acquired Lee Technologies, a North American service provider for data centers, and unveiled a modular power and cooling architecture for data centers.

Schneider Electric is not the only manufacturer to dive into power monitoring and management.

Eaton Systems is evolving its hardware and software technology to create a single pane of glass view of power usage at the UPS outlet level, while Emerson Network Power has been expanding its portfolio of power management and DCIM solutions.

David Cappuccio, an analyst at Gartner, noted in a recent report, "Forward-thinking companies have realized that to run data centers efficiently, and to extend their lives indefinitely, it is not logical to treat data center facilities and IT assets separately, because without one the other can't operate. When enterprises start to focus on all the components that make up the ecosystem, they will begin to make informed long-range decisions."

Apparently, DCIM and power management are starting to become growth-oriented technologies and the market is bound to heat up further as manufacturers extend their management reach deeper into the data center and enterprise operations. According to Forrester Research, DCIM is expected to grow to 60 percent by 2014, versus only 1 percent growth in 2010.

There are several trends driving the adoption of DCIM, including increased power and heat density, data center consolidation, virtualization and cloud computing, increased reliance on critical IT systems and green IT initiatives.