Networks Europe Issue 19 January/February 2019 - Page 52

52 UNINTERRUPTIBLE POWER SUPPLIES status, which ensures continuity by providing real-time alerts of potential power loss or failures. A primary example here will mean that batteries can be proactively replaced in a timely fashion, mitigating the potential for downtime and ensuring continuity for the user. life-cycle. Dust filters, for example, may need to be replaced frequently, therefore deploying a solution where they are placed on the front will allow them to be easily removed and lower any potential issues with other critical components. Many traditional UPS will utilise valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) battery systems, which can be far less efficient in terms of energy use, than Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) chemistries. Li-Ion offers a far longer life-cycle to the user – nearing 10 years – which is often double that of VRLA. Not only does this reduce maintenance costs and the accompanying challenge of human error, but operating costs are lowered as batteries need to be changed less frequently. Finally, the use of IoT-enabled sensors within newer UPS models facilitates greater remote management capabilities. Big data analytics deliver detailed insights into the system Driving efficiency & selecting operating modes Many new UPS systems will have an energy-saving mode of operation, namely eco-mode, which bypasses the filtering stage and connects the power directly to the load. In situations where the power is unreliable and continuity is an issue, filtering of energy from the mains is highly desirable. Provided that there’s a reasonably secure and consistent delivery of power, however, eco-mode trades only a small amount of reliability to deliver a resilient level of protection whilst reducing energy costs, in some cases by up to 98%. Conversely, if operating in double-conversion mode, power output from the UPS will always pass through an inverter, providing a regular supply to the load. This provides continuity for the user as there’s no loss of power in the face of an outage. However, using this mode means there is constant wear on the power components, with attendant reduction in Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) and a knock-on effect on reliability, which must be considered in any continuity plan. The use of Li-Ion technologies also plays a crucial role in lowering energy costs associated with UPS systems. Research by Schneider Electric and detailed in White Paper #266, found that the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of Li-Ion UPS can be much lower than VRLA, despite the initial Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) being higher. VRLA batteries, for example, will typically need to be replaced every four years, whereas Li-ion can remain operational for ten. Over the course of that life-cycle, the research found that the use of Li-ion can provide savings of up to 53%. Data-driven monitoring & management To ensure the highest levels of continuity, a final consideration might be the use of advanced software to drive monitoring and management. In their most basic form, UPS systems might include an intuitive graphical user interface (GUI), which allows for simple system configuration. However, for more in-depth system monitoring, a user might choose to deploy an on-premise Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software application. For the highest levels of continuity, deployment of cloud- based Data Centre Management as a Service (DmaaS) software becomes increasingly important, especially for customers who prefer to outsource management of their facility to external service providers. The data harvested via DMaaS is pooled and analysed to deliver detailed insights into how a data centre application is performing, providing the user with real-time recommendations to drive resilience and continuity. For many, this software provides round the clock monitoring of any IoT-enabled UPS or infrastructure system, delivering updates directly to the user’s smartphone. As any potential issues arise they can be addressed quickly and proactively, enabling a better level of continuity for the user. If ever a more severe problem is detected, use of the software can also allow a service professional to be dispatched to deal with the problem in person, which is especially important if the issue requires external expertise or management across a number of sites. n