Networks Europe Issue 19 January/February 2019 - Page 51

UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER SUPPLIES Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) are a vital component of any organisation’s business continuity strategy, providing battery-based backup should the service from the mains become disrupted. The essential requirements of a UPS are that it’s reliable, easy to maintain, efficient to operate and unobtrusive – one wants to know that it’s there, but would prefer that it never be needed. They should be designed with simplicity in mind, ensuring such aspects as installation, monitoring, management and scalability are made simple for the user. Increasingly, given the high levels of automation and remote management in today’s data centres, UPS must have IoT enabled capabilities to ensure their status can be monitored, and where possible their operation be controlled, from outside the white space. Furthermore, any maintenance must be performed as quickly and easily as possible, with minimum downtime. Many new systems will accommodate all of these requirements, regardless of the choice to deploy them within the largest data centres or edge facilities. One thing, however, is clear, that backup power is essential to today’s requirement for business continuity. Installation and start-up The first place to begin in any UPS installation is with the start-up configuration. This might include the size of the solution required and whether it should be single or three-phase. Another consideration might be the speed of deployment and any sizing constraints to the area in which the UPS will be deployed. In terms of energy usage and predictability, it may need the capability to perform prerequisites such as an Easy Loop test, which will allow the performance to be verified well in advance of connecting the load. Finally, if the application requires a modular, scalable approach, will it need additional batteries and will those need to be configured internally or externally? Marc Garner, Vice President, IT Division, Schneider Electric UK IoT enabled UPS systems ensure their status can be monitored and are critical for business continuity Expansion, resilience & scalability Another key consideration for continuity might be plans to accommodate future growth. Here one might consider how to arrange the UPS configuration in order to provide increased capacity, ensuring that resilience, or uptime, is of the highest priority. For high levels of availability, a UPS may need to be deployed in a parallel, N+1 or distributed redundant design, so that the failure of anyone can be accommodated without risk to total loss of power within the configuration. If requirements for future expansion are critical, one might also consider the use of data centre reference designs to plan and configure power systems in a way that can serve growth. This will not only enable users to select and test potential configurations but also provides them with the reassurance that the architecture will indeed work as planned. Maintenance & battery considerations With the blame for many outages often lying with human error, maintenance is another aspect that has to be considered as part of any business continuity plan. To avoid downtime, it is recommended that a UPS be easily accessible from the front, which will simplify servicing throughout its 51