How data centres can enhance their sustainability with the right UPS

Demand for colocation is rising, as enterprises turn to hybrid cloud to meet the surge in infrastructure from accelerated digital transformation plans. Indeed, analyst firm Gartner has predicted that end-user spending on global data centre infrastructure will reach US$200 billion in 2021, an increase of 6% over 2020 expenditures.

Unsurprisingly, colocation providers are under pressure to meet this growing demand while maintaining their reliability and performance. Moreover, a growing awareness of the environment means that they are also under pressure to improve their operations baseline to move the needle on their organisation’s sustainability efforts – increasingly viewed as a competitive differentiator.

Why UPS matters

One way that data centre operators can step up on sustainability would be by achieving energy savings within their facilities. This can start with choosing an optimal uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system for their needs. By leveraging the latest technological advances, it is possible to gain heightened efficiency, improve sustainability, while simultaneously enhancing resiliency and safety.

Aside from UPS that offer better efficiency and power usage effectiveness (PUE), innovations in UPS design means that highly modular platforms are now available. They offer the ability for data centre operators to right-size their UPS to their needs today while incorporating the scalability for tomorrow’s needs, too. Other considerations include:

  • Energised swapping: Energised swapping makes it possible to replace or add power modules with a minimum of downtime. This not only reduces operational complexity to colocation providers and service personnel but enhances overall reliability.
  • Remote monitoring: Remote monitoring can give operators the necessary visibility to identify potential issues before they result in downtime, ensuring that they can proactively address problems at the earliest possible stage.
  • Ease of management: Paired with visibility, the ability to seamlessly manage multiple UPS using next generational software from a single control panel can substantially increase efficiency.

Taking it up a notch

Another development around UPS would undoubtedly be that of lithium-ion batteries. A UPS that eschews traditional VRLA batteries for the newer energy storage medium can see an increase in lifespan of up to three times. Moreover, lithium-ion UPS units weigh less, place less stress on reinforced floors, and operate efficiently at higher temperatures.

One example would be Schneider Electric’s Galaxy VL family of UPS, which is a 3-phase UPS designed for industrial applications or facilities and powered by lithium-ion batteries for enhanced operating lifespan. When operated in energy-saving mode, data centres can expect an efficiency of up to 99%. 

According to Bin Lu of Schneider Electric, the savings on energy bills alone can allow it to deliver ROI within two years. The Galaxy VL is also highly adaptable, with the flexibility of 50 kW power module upgrades that can be added without increasing the footprint of the base unit.

There is no question that the right UPS is an important part of a cohesive strategy for colocation providers to adapt to growing data centre market demands. The right system can ensure greater uptime and efficiency – and at the same time meeting sustainability goals. You can read more about Galaxy VL UPS from Schneider Electric here.

Article by Michael Kurniawan, Vice President - Singapore, Malaysia & Brunei, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric.

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