Uninterruptible Power Supply Industry Changes in Technology

UPS Technology







Important Changes Taking Place In The Uninterruptible Power Supply Industry

It’s taken for granted that the technology field is changing every day.  Because data centers and the uninterruptible power supply systems connected to them are found in an increasing number of organizations you’ll need to keep up with the tech news related to these subjects if you’re going to stay competitive.  Uninterruptible power supplies (also called UPS) are a vital part of an organization’s informational infrastructure; they power the networks and servers required by an organization.  One of the latest UPS developments to be experimented with is called the N+1 strategy.  This strategy makes redundancy an asset rather than a liability and introduces a new way of thinking about the overall design of UPS systems.

Rethinking the Role of Redundancy

Redundancy is typically thought of as unnecessary repetition; it’s often considered a negative thing because it adds waste to an otherwise efficient system.  While redundant steps in protocol and redundant stages in management are to be avoided, there are instances where excess can be helpful, even necessary.  The additional repetition of elements within an uninterruptible power supply system may be the key to avoiding some of the most complex and costly problems associated with these systems.  The N+1 strategy first calculates the number of power modules that are absolutely necessary to run any given UPS system.  That number (represented here by the variable N) is then increased by one- thus, the N+1 equation.

The large individual UPS modules that are present in the data centers of most modern enterprises are vulnerable to failure; this inherent vulnerability is a primary drawback of these modules even though their use is standard across industries.  If a failure occurs, there is no backup available to continue the data center’s normal operation.  In an N+1 system numerous smaller modules are grouped together and given their own batteries.  The streamlined operation of the discrete large modules is duplicated by these smaller grouped modules; under normal circumstances grouped modules will behave the same way as an individual one.  The similarity in operation makes it simple to integrate new module formations into an existing data center.

The Primary Benefits of the N+1 UPS System Design

Though the large UPS modules perform admirably in normal circumstances, if a failure occurs the entire system goes down.  System down time is very costly and can cause severe information compromise if the down time is not being managed.  Even the managed down time required for maintenance can cost a lot in terms of lost money and productivity.  The main advantage of the N+1 system is that there are always enough modules in operation to sustain the system’s power, thus fulfilling the promise of an uninterruptible power supply.  The redundant module built into the system allows for any individual module to be serviced without sacrificing any data center function.  Once that module has been addressed, it can be brought back online and another module removed for servicing.  All necessary maintenance and service can be taken care of without planning for downtime or anticipating any of the problems that can happen as a result.

The Anticipated Growth of UPS System Usage

As interesting as the development of N+1 systems are, the news that has really gotten people talking is a recent study conducted by Pike Research that gives developers a solid prediction with regards to the growth of energy storage use in commercial buildings.

Commercial buildings, energy storage, and UPS systems are closely connected and are anticipated to become increasingly reliant on each other.  Because commercial buildings house agencies whose work demands a stable and secure source of power for their computer servers, energy storage is now an anticipated architectural consideration during preliminary building planning.  Those agencies without current UPS needs occupying buildings with the capacity for these systems are likely to express interest in taking advantage of this potential.  As an agency grows it can either make use of existing facilities or relocate to a building that can better accommodate them.  Companies creating commercial buildings need to anticipate the changing needs of growing agencies and build in the resources that will be required at different stages of development.

Some Useful Facts and Figures

In 2011, UPS systems were estimated to have generated $3.4 billion worldwide; in 2013, the income generated is predicted to be nearly $4 billion.  By 2016 analysts are predicting that UPS will mature into a $4.8 billion industry worldwide.  Feeling comfortable with these systems and the way that they dovetail with other related fields is going to help organizations strategize for short and long term growth.  How so?

  • Understanding these related concerns will help with selecting the facilities that will house your organization and any affiliated groups housed in distant locations.
  • Computer technicians, network administrators, and computer system designers can provide valuable input with regards to space selection to help decision makers select appropriate facilities.
  • Knowing what energy supply infrastructure is present in a building will help decision makers create more accurate budgets for the purchase of necessary UPS components and for future operation and maintenance costs.
  • Vetting potential UPS suppliers will be simpler because decision makers are already familiar with both the power supply needs of their organization and with the infrastructure available on the property.

Other Industry Changes Due to the Growth of UPS Demand

As demands for UPS systems accelerate and multiply, more companies offering supplies, maintenance, and installation will come into existence.  This increased competition means more options for the consumer.  It also means that the consumer needs to be more aware of the ins and outs of their data center and the power supply that’s connected to it.  Though the Pike Research study didn’t explicitly state the intangible impacts of increasing UPS usage, it’s safe to assume that this increasing demand will translate into an increasing literacy among employees working at all levels inside an organization.  Just as computer literacy has become so widespread as to be assumed, familiarity with the basics of UPS can be expected to spread in a similar, though rather more limited, manner.

The growth of UPS system demand and its impact on related fields and the development of N+1 redundancy planning are just two examples of the changes taking place in the data center industry.  As the need for these systems continue to grow, it’s certain that many more exciting changes will take place.

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