Posts Tagged UPS

Small and Powerful: IT Solutions for Server Rooms and Network Closets

Posted by on January 10, 2013  |  No Comments

Bigger isn’t always better. With everything from racks, to PDUs to management software, APC by Schneider Electric can turn any space into an IT environment.

Smart-UPS™ C LCD Operation Overview

Posted by on January 10, 2013  |  No Comments

The Smart-UPS C series is the newest addition to APC’s Smart-UPS family of uninterruptible power supplies. The new LCD display with supplemental LEDs provides a comprehensive status at a glance including battery and load levels.

Remote Monitoring Service

Posted by on January 10, 2013  |  No Comments

Remote Monitoring Service, referred to as RMS, is a secure 24-hour monitoring service that keeps your system up and running at optimal performance.

Smart-UPS™ C Overview

Posted by on January 10, 2013  |  No Comments

The C series is the newest addition to APC’s Smart-UPS family of uninterruptible power supplies.

Smart-UPS™ Rack Mount Installation

Posted by on January 10, 2013  |  No Comments

This video reviews how to install Smart-UPS® models in a two post and 4 post rack configuration.

Back-UPS Features and Benefits Overview

Posted by on January 10, 2013  |  No Comments

Dan Farnsworth gives a brief overview of Back-UPS and its key features and benefits.

Don’s Corner: Who’s Responsible For The UPS, the IT Staff or Facilities Maintenance?

Posted by on September 5, 2012  |  No Comments

Don Melchert, Critical Facility Specialist

Who’s responsible for the UPS, the IT Staff or Facilities Maintenance?

I have been asked this question many times, for all sorts of infrastructure equipment.  From the structure windows to the CRAC, I’ve heard this same question asked both before and after an expensive catastrophe has brought everyone into the boardroom.  To properly entertain answering the question, we have to approach it from two fronts: Old School and New School.  Without first defining those two parameters, there’s no way to stop the finger pointing if it all goes wrong, so let’s start there.

The “Old School” Platform

In times long ago (now if that doesn’t sound like the beginning of a new Tolkien novel, I don’t know what does) anything and everything that did not physically house the critical network was placed under the governorship of Facilities Maintenance.  Quite literally, the only exclusions were the racks, servers, telecom equipment and associated cords and peripherals.  If one wanted to relocate a server to another side of the room, powered from a different breaker, the first mission was to request approval from a Facility Manager.  Wait a second! There still are data centers out there that live under the iron rule of Facilities Maintenance, but that topic is best kept in the file labeled “Future Don’s Corner Topics”, at least for now.

If I were to provide an answer to the “Who’s responsible for the UPS?” question, based on the Old School platform, the answer is:  Facilities Maintenance, with operational approval from the IT Director. The reason for this is, originally, IT personnel focused on the devices and the network itself, and so did the educational institutions that certified the personnel of yesteryear.  This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Consider this; imagine asking a Facilities Engineer in 1987 that works in the sun, rain, wind, and snow maintaining the building’s HVAC system to log into the network.  Just speaking that way to a member of the facilities staff would have caused them to panic, possibly invoking memories of scenes from the movie War Games!  However, this works both ways.  Can you imagine asking a member of the IT staff to check the run hours on the CRAC unit?  They probably would have called security on you, knowing you must have lost your mind.  Few IT personnel would have considered dirtying their hands, and no self-respecting member of the facilities staff had the patience for “C://”.   In my answer, I said “with operational approval from the IT Director.”  If you’re not immediately in agreement, give UNS a call and we’d be happy to help bring you safely back from cryo-stasis and into the new world of today’s IT management!

The “New School” Platform

IT has fought hard for the past 30+ years to improve every aspect of network operations.  This is fact, as I have, willingly enough, seen this from both sides of the fence, first, as a Facility Manager, later as part of the IT consulting community.  Unknowingly, though, we were all working toward the same goal of efficient operations, more with less.  The UPS, the In-Row Air Conditioner, the servers, even the programs we were running…everything associated with the critical IT network became self-serviceable or hot-swappable in some way.   What used to require a shutdown of the network during a midnight to 7am all-nighter to swap out a bad component now requires little or no notification, no shutdown at all, and it all takes place in about five minutes, including unwrapping it from the box!

However, all of this new technology means two things: First, it’s easier for us to access the critical network, so we just expect it to be there waiting for us, whenever we open our iPhones; Second, all of our devices expect the exact same thing, only just like The Matrix, our numbers pale in comparison to theirs, and so does our priority levels on the network.  We, the custodians of our NCPI and its assets, must maintain this uptime requirement and now, more than ever before, the IT community is prepared, both technically and internally, to do so.

If I were to provide an answer to the “Who’s responsible for the UPS?” question, based on the New School platform, the answer is: IT, with operational approval from the Director of Facilities Maintenance.  Together, with sound communication, both are providing a service to the company’s critical network and should be able to count on each other to continually provide primary and uninterrupted back-up power to the company’s Network Critical Physical Infrastructure.  Again, if this does not make immediate sense, please, don’t hesitate to call UNS for an explanation of why this shared responsibility is so important.  The job you save may be your own!

Don Melchert

Comparing Data Center Batteries, Flywheels, and Ultracapacitors

Posted by on August 16, 2012  |  No Comments

White Paper 65

Data centers require energy storage devices to address the risk of interruptions to the main power supply. Energy storage applications can be divided into three major functional categories:

  1. Power stability – When the power supply coming into the data center is unstable (e.g., power surges and sags), stored energy can be used as needed to balance out disturbances and assure a clean power supply to the load.

  1. Power bridging – When switching from one source of power to another (e.g., utility power to generator power), stored energy can be used (from seconds to hours) to assure consistent power.

  1. Energy management – This is the cost-optimizing strategy of charging stored energy when energy cost is low, and using stored energy when energy cost is high. This energy storage application is not discussed in this paper.

Although many varieties of energy storage technologies are available today, this paper will limit its analysis to those that are most applicable to data centers. Although some storage technologies can function across a range of applications, most are limited in their specific application because of economic considerations. The three technologies that qualify for practical use in data centers—batteries, flywheels, and ultracapacitors—are the subject of this paper (see Figure 1).

The intention of this paper is neither to provide detailed technical descriptions nor to compare in-depth TCO scenarios of energy storage alternatives. This paper attempts to simplify the analysis of energy storage alternatives by providing a relative comparison of mainstream and emerging energy storage technologies.

“Comparing Data Center Batteries, Flywheels, and Ultracapacitors” Full White Paper (Click Here To Download)

Executive Summary:

Most data center professionals choose lead-acid batteries as their preferred method of energy storage. However, alternatives to lead-acid batteries are attracting more attention as raw material and energy costs continue to increase and as governments become more vigilant regarding environmental and waste disposal issues. This paper compares several popular classes of batteries, compares batteries to both flywheels and ultracapacitors, and briefly discusses fuel cells.

Contents:

  • Energy storage and energy generation defined
  • Energy storage efficiency
  • Energy storage cost
  • Factors that influence the business decision
  • Data center storage technologies
  • Additional considerations

Conclusion:

The landscape of alternative energy storage is gaining more recognition. When selecting an energy storage solution, the first step is to determine the criticality of the data center operation; i.e., what would be the consequence of an unplanned IT equipment shutdown? A less critical operation may be able to tolerate an occasional shutdown as long as it can “ride through” the momentary power interruptions that make up the majority of power outages. A more critical operation may require a longer stored energy reserve.

As new energy storage technologies emerge, a fundamental question should be posed: What is the benefit of instituting a longer runtime (e.g., 15 minutes) as opposed to a short runtime (30 seconds)? If no benefit exists, flywheels, ultracapacitors, and smaller battery systems can represent a huge savings.

Why, then, aren’t data center professionals abandoning their batteries in droves and replacing them with flywheels, ultracapacitors, and smaller battery systems? In some cases, buyers of energy storage solutions cite issues such as cost, mechanical moving parts with lower reliability, or the inability to meet length of life goals. However, additional reflection leads to the conclusion that it is people, human beings, and not just pieces of equipment, that are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the data center.

As computer operations become more and more critical, the majority of data centers today require longer UPS runtimes, and, as a result, batteries continue to outperform flywheels and ultracapacitors in terms of cost, reliability and availability. Despite the growth of alternative technologies, the view over the next few years is that batteries will still remain the principle resource for energy storage in the data center.

For most data center professionals, time to react and respond to a problem or emergency is perceived to be at a premium during a crisis situation. Extra time during an emergency might allow a human to correct the problem such as discovering that an auto switch was erroneously left in a manual position. In addition, since most data centers are equipped with monitoring software, when a fault occurs, an automatic data center backup copy is launched. After the backup copy, the remaining battery time is used to launch a safe server shutdown. The servers are stopped cleanly and restarted immediately when power returns. From a data center operator’s point of view, the more time to resolve an issue, the better. Since batteries currently provide people with more time to react, they are favored and take on the role as the primary energy storage mechanism in the data center.

As power generation and storage technologies combine (e.g., fuel cells combining with ultracapacitors) and manufacturers strive to introduce cost effective and cleaner hybrid solutions to the marketplace, choices for viable data center energy storage technologies will increase.

White Paper Written By:

Stephen McCluer is a Senior Manager for external codes and standards at Schneider Electric. He has 30 years of experience in the power protection industry, and is a member of NFPA, ICC, IAEI, ASHRAE, The Green Grid, BICSI, and the IEEE Standards Council. He serves on a number of committees within those organizations, is a frequent speaker at industry conferences, and authors technical papers and articles on power quality topics. He served on a task group to rewrite the requirements for information technology equipment in the 2011 National Electrical Code.

Jean-Francois Christin is Business Development Manager for APC-MGE’s Secure Power Solutions organization.  His 17 years of experience in the power systems industry includes management of technical support in APC-MGE’s South Asia and Pacific region, and management of technical communication and business development in the EMEA/LAM region.  He is member of LPQI, actively participates in international power and energy conferences, and trains subject matter experts on topics related to power quality.

Universal Networking Services’s partnership with Universal Power Group, Inc. has enabled us to build a strong distribution network of battery and related power components that meet consumer needs for accessibility, portability, security and mobility, coupled with value added offerings such as battery pack assembly and battery replacement/recycling programs.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions regarding this topic.

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