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Located in Southeast Asia, the Philippines — home to a large population and a rapidly developing Internet industry — is actively seeking to transform itself into a digital powerhouse. According to data for January 2020, released by global creative agency We Are Social, in partnership with social media management platform Hootsuite, the country has 73 million Internet users, representing a penetration rate of over 60%. And with the average time spent online every day approaching ten hours, Filipinos are, perhaps somewhat surprisingly to learn, the most active Internet users in the world.

Converge ICT Solutions Incorporated — a leading Fiber To The Home (FTTH) broadband service provider — has been active in the Philippines market since first obtaining its broadband operation license back in 2009. By focusing on providing only high-quality products and services, in 2020, Converge's FTTH market share surged to over 50%. Indeed, the company debuted on the Philippine Stock Exchange in September of that same year through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) that proved to be the country's largest since 2016.

As a company with a reputation for being highly innovative, Converge is always looking for ways to grow its business by exploring new business models. Fresh in the wake of the nascent global digital economy, new services — such as cloud computing — are emerging in the Philippines' marketplace. Jumping at the opportunity, the company decided to use its own proven advantages in networks and data centers, to provide high-quality Information Technology (IT) rack leasing services and, with that, enter the Internet Data Center (IDC) market.

Data Center Expansion

Located at the company's headquarters in the National Capital Region of Metropolitan Manila, the first phase of Converge's data center was deployed in 2016, carrying core services such as broadband operations. As services developed rapidly over the years, and with a new direction set — to enter the IDC market — existing capacity was quickly becoming unfit for purpose. The second phase of the data center, expanding capacity, therefore needed to be brought online — fast.

The new data center's design separated the computer and power distribution rooms. To meet service requirements, Converge needed to deploy 80 IT racks in the computer room. However, the company quickly discovered that not enough space had been allocated for the power distribution room after construction had been completed, making it extremely difficult to deploy sufficient power supply devices. Compounding the problem, Converge insisted on ultra-high power supply reliability, using a 2N redundancy architecture that requires two sets of independent power supplies. This architecture doubles the number of devices needed for power supply and distribution, making power supply deployment even more challenging.

Huawei SmartLi UPS is Up to the Task

As a global Information and Communications Technology (ICT) provider with rich practical experience in the data center field, Huawei was well-positioned to provide a solution that met Converge's exacting needs. After evaluating the project and understanding its unique challenges, Huawei proposed its SmartLi Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) solution.

SmartLi UPS brings the twin benefits of a highly efficient modular UPS and intelligent SmartLi lithium-ion batteries. Offering an excellent user experience as well, SmartLi UPS is fast becoming a mainstream power supply solution in the data center field, since it offers multiple advantages compared to traditional solutions.

Footprint slashed: The energy density of SmartLi is three times that of traditional lead-acid batteries. And, for this project, that meant the physical footprint required for all battery components could be slashed by 70%.

Ten year lifespan: SmartLi has a lifespan of over ten years, compared to traditional lead-acid batteries that need to be replaced every five years. In addition the lithium-ion battery cycle numbers in the thousands, with service life unaffected even when frequent power outages occur in certain geographic areas.

Simplified O&M and hot swapping: As a fully modular UPS, all functional modules can be hot-swapped, simplifying Operations and Maintenance (O&M). Indeed, O&M is so easy that basic-level engineers can quickly correct the UPS within five minutes of any fault occurring. Online capacity expansion is also supported, significantly reducing Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) and saving on initial investment required. This is flexibility with prove vital as IT development pivots toward a high density trend. Additionally, online capacity expansion can be performed without powering off, improving power distribution capability.

Given all these advantages, Converge chose Huawei's SmartLi UPS solution to power its new data center. The solution has not only helped the company achieve its initial objective — to deploy sufficient power supply in a limited space — it also meets Converge's high standards for power supply reliability, with O&M greatly simplified as well.

A Bright Future

As the largest fiber Internet provider in the Philippines, Converge is striving to contribute more to the country's digital economy. It is our new strategic direction to build more data center infrastructure and provide reliable colocation data center services. Through this cooperation with Huawei, we have learned about Huawei's rich experience in this field. With Huawei's help, we are confident in the future. We hope that Huawei can provide more innovative solutions that make the seemingly impossible to fully feasible solutions, and help us achieve greater business success.

Sir Ronnie Cave Network Support Facilities Head
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