The future of data centre power protection

Power Control
08 Jun 2018

The demands of the data centre are becoming increasingly onerous, past choices are now becoming essential requirements.
While in the past a data centre could have muddled through its life, wallowing in its middle age and rundownto its retirement, the modern data centre needs to stay alert and flexible through its entire design life cycle.

The IT layer within the data centre has evolved to be agile and adaptable; however, it has been the physical infrastructure supporting this which has taken time to adjust. No more so than the UPS System itself.

Yesterday, it would be typical for an over bloated UPS System to be installed within a desolate plant room, meandering along at a ridiculous low load due to multiple ‘finger in air’ load estimates for where the Data Centre was predicted to be 5 or 10 years later along with the ubiquitous 20% extra for further contingency. The same UPS System was cooled with what can only be described as an arctic blast from mechanical air conditioning units and rewarded once a year by the presence of a UPS Service Engineer to check its vital signs!

Yes this described system had capacity for future expansion, and usually way beyond the wildest dreams of the data centre manager, but this behemoth of a UPS has done nothing but harm to the efficiency of the data centre, the power usage of the building and the purse of its owner through exorbitant running costs and reckless maintenance regimes.

UPS Systems for the present day and the future

Today, we must treat the selection and design of the most essential element of any data centre with a little more sensitivity, with more care placed on understanding the demands on it both on its first day of operation and throughout its life. Thought and planning must be given to ensure the UPS System can grow and adapt as the data centre matures and changes. The UPS system not only needs to meet both the commercial drivers of cost and efficiency, but also the technical design drivers of the organisation. It needs to be operated in a climate controlled environment closely matching the demands of the UPS and batteries, and receive just the right level of care and attention from a tailored site specific maintenance regime.

In two words we are talking about Right Sizing…
Yes, this has been the buzz phrase for many years when considering the design of any new data centre facility. It may even be considered as old news, but if so why do we see company sites on a daily basis where the UPS System is as initially described? Is it because of the safety factor (the Insurance Policy comparison), a lack of knowledge, an afterthought in the overall design of the data centre or an overestimation on the future load demand of the data centre? In reality, it is probably a heavy mixture of all.

Therefore specialist advice in this specific area of the design of a new data centre facility is incredibly important so that better informed and more intelligent decisions can be reached for any future investment in a power protection project.
Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) specialists Power Control Ltd offer full turnkey power supply solutions through their dedicated Technical Services division. Our Technical Services design and deliver the entire protected power infrastructure within the data centre including the cooling solutions required to maintain stable environmental conditions.

As power protection specialists Power Control understand exactly what is required to achieve the scalability, agility and efficiency requirements working closely with all their customers to design and deliver a clearly defined site specific power protection strategy for their data centre. No matter how big or small your business is, Power Control adopts a proven five step approach to develop bespoke design solutions that achieve all specific technical and commercial drivers of each individual client.

Commenting on this, the company’s technical services manager, said “There are many factors that need to be considered when ensuring your data centre UPS System is running to its maximum efficiency. In today’s business environment, companies are expected to grow quickly, this means their data centres must grow quickly, too. Scalability in the power protection layer is a discussion Power Control has with its customers from the initial meeting. Understanding potentially how the data centre will grow at the beginning of the project is key to a cost effective, scalable and agile data centre power protection strategy”