Be prepared: How to select your UPS power protection appropriate to your ICT installation’s criticality

Power outages seem very unusual in West European countries. We are always on, the infrastructure is running, we do not expect any power cuts.

But still, the risk remains. And if a company experiences a blackout, not only the ICT hardware may be damaged; the loss of data and service continuity, and consequential the harm to reputation, will likely be far more serious.

The colleagues at Kohler UPS are also convinced by this. They have compiled an insightful article on “The reality of power cuts” and look at the options available to secure a level of UPS power protection appropriate to your ICT installation’s criticality:

“The off-line UPS system’s advantages are its lower capital and operating costs, but it subjects its load to poor regulation and any power aberrations arriving from the mains supply during normal operation. The load also suffers a typical 2 – 10 ms power interruption during transfers between the inverter and bypass line. If your load can tolerate these interruptions, and the transient filtering provided by the off-line UPS system is considered sufficient, it may be a viable choice. However, most users with critical loads select on-line UPS solutions, to benefit from the continuous and truly uninterrupted power protection they provide.

Finally, the availability of the UPS itself must also be factored in; fortunately, with most modern UPS architectures, this can be very high. The best approach is to use a modular UPS system with “hot-swap” capabilities. Modules can be incrementally added to build scalable UPS systems with efficient redundancy, while hot swappability means that MTTR times are minimised. Both these factors contribute to today’s high UPS availability figures.”


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Data center infrastructure: Open Compute Project is gaining traction

The cloud market is growing and growing, and on the back of this, The Open Compute Project (OCP) is gaining traction. Recently the German infrastructure manufacturing company Rittal joined the project after developing OCP-compliant racks („Open Rack“) and cabinets for several years.

The Open Compute Project was established in 2011, as Facebook was redesigning its data center in Prineville, Oregon. After the facility was complete, Facebook decided to openly share standardized infrastructure designs for components such as compute nodes, storage servers, network switches and racks. So far, the OCP has attracted many corporate-level members like Microsoft, Apple, HPE and Cisco. The general idea behind OPC is, that open standards will win out in the data center and the wider infrastructures where they are placed.

There are many reasons for evaluating what the Open Compute project has to offer for everybody who is in the data center business: Data center efficiency is a main topic for OCP. In general, the design principles oft he project can lead to important cost savings and a smaller carbon footprint.

That’s why enterprises like Goldman Sachs have a significant amount of OCP equipment in their data centers, and Rackspace – a founding member – heavily utilises OCP for its operations. Microsoft is also named as a frequent contributor, reportedly running over 90 % of their hardware as OCP.

From today’s point of view, the idea of bringing together a community from a wide range of business disciplines, with a common goal to build better hardware is convincing: When companies are not sworn to secrecy, they can work together in the open. That ignites innovation and leads to a more efficient data center infrastructure.

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New standards by the U.S. Department of Energy suggest how to improve UPS energy efficiency

At the end of December the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), has issued the first-ever energy efficiency standards for uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). According to the DOE, the new UPS standards will mean 87 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity saved over the next three decades. This represents an energy savings of 15 percent relative to the electricity consumption of these products in the absence of an efficiency standard.

The department‘s analysis lists variety of technology options that manufacturers can use to improve the efficiency of their products.

„DOE identified three technology options for UPSs that would be expected to improve the efficiency of UPSs. The technologies options are: semiconductor improvements, digital signal processing and space vector modulation, and transformer-less UPS topologies.“

And further:

„Transformer-less UPS designs offer some of the highest efficiencies in the industry with lowered weight, wider input voltage tolerances, near unity input power factor, reduced harmonic distortion and need for components that mitigate electromagnetic interference (EMI) generated by the device.“

For the sake of completeness one must also say, that the DEO did not evaluate transformer-less UPS design because „interviews with manufacturers have shown this to be a limited access technology with select manufacturers holding the intellectual property required for effective implementation.“

However, the DOE does not prescribe how manufacturers should make their products more efficient. The standards are being set in a performance-based manner, allowing manufacturers the flexibility to innovate. Thus, the document can also be interpreted in such a way that transformer-less UPS design is always a future-proof choice in terms of efficiency.

Chris Granda, blogger at Appliance Standards Awareness Project, comments:

„Had DOE included transformer-less design in their analysis, we believe even stronger UPS efficiency standards would have been justified.“

U.S. Department of Energy: ISSUANCE: 2016-12-28 Energy Conservation Program: Energy Conservation Standards for Uninterruptible Power Supplies; Final Rule»

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Report predicts strong growth in global UPS market, names ABB as one oft he dominating key players

Research and Markets has announced the addition of the “Global Industrial Uninterruptible Power Supply Market 2017-2021″ report to their offering. The report covering the Americas, APAC and EMEA forecasts the global industrial uninterruptible power supply market market to grow at a CAGR of 6.35% during the period 2017-2021.

According to  the report, the growing market highly relies on the battery dynamics. Li-ion batteries have higher energy densities than lead-acid batteries or nickel-metal hydride batteries. Having high energy density means that the battery can store more electricity in the same size cell and with reduced UPS footprint. This is what makes the Li-ion batteries ideal for use in industrial UPS.

Aeorospace and railways play a pivotal role in the global industrial UPS market. The railway industry in the developing countries is expected to grow rapidly because of infrastructure development, rising industrialization, growing population, development of tourism, and modernization of railway infrastructure. There is a lot of emphasis on safety, increasing the length of fast tracks or corridors that has led to the requirement of wagons and high-speed passenger coaches, along with the expansion of metro train network to several cities. This augurs well for the UPS industry.

Further, the report states that the global industrial UPS market is dependent on the manufacturing and industrial businesses for its sustenance. The industrial business, on the other hand, is based on the global economy for its existence. In the times of strong macroeconomic numbers, the global appetite for the consumption of goods increase, thereby increasing the demand for manufactured products.

The report also includes a discussion of the key vendors operating in this market, naming ABB as one oft he key players.

Find out more»

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2016 in rewind: The most read articles in our blog

2016 comes to an end – and we look back one last time: Have a look at the five most-read articles of 2016.

(1) ABB introduces a modular UPS for industrial applications up to 120 kVA

At Europe’s premier technology trade show Hanover fair, ABB launched the latest addition to its industrial power protection portfolio. PowerLine DPA is a new modular uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system for use in light industrial applications. The UPS covers power ranges from 20 kVA to 120 kVA and is designed for use in industrial settings affected by dust, moisture, contamination and varying temperatures. Read more»

(2) Survey: DCIM has penetrated only half of the data center market

A recently published survey by Intel and Dell has found that almost half of IT managers have little about what is happening under the hoods of their data centers: Only 53 percent use data center infrastructure management (DCIM) systems, which can provide critical information about power and thermal usage, while also offering tangible ways to save money. Read more»

(3) New Video: ABB’s industrial power protection – PowerLine DPA UPS

ABB’s PowerLine DPA is an online double conversion UPS. It makes the advantages of ABB’s unique modular UPS architecture available for locations that are usually rough on electronic equipment. PowerLine DPA is based on ABB’s Decentralized Parallel Architecture (DPA) that ensures the very best UPS design in terms of availability, flexibility, cost and ease of use. Watch video»

(4) Why power factor has to be taken into account when specifying a UPS

When specifying a new UPS, its power rating must be well matched to the job in hand. If the UPS cannot handle the real power and the reactive power consumed by the load an overload situation will quickly develop that could lead to UPS damage or outage and the critical load becoming unprotected. Read more»

(5) Video: ‪ABB solves Volico Data Centers’ need for rightsizing and easy scalability

Volico Data Centers’ owner and director of operations, Gadi Hus, built his center with a pay-as-we-grow concept in mind. But when it came time to grow, it was a no-go because his UPS didn’t have the needed flexibility and scalability. That’s why Volico turned to ABB. Watch video»

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Report: What drives the global industrial UPS market?

Technavio analysts forecast the global industrial uninterruptible power supply (UPS) market to grow at a CAGR of more than 6% during 2017-2021, according to their latest report.

The analysts highlight the following four factors that are contributing to the growth of the global industrial UPS market:

  • Growing demand for power backup solutions: The demand for power backup has increased significantly in several industry verticals. UPS systems are being recognized by countless organizations as an essential power backup to ensure continuous operations across businesses. Many manufacturing industries, especially the oil and gas, petrochemical and refining, and automobile design facilities, are using UPS systems for power backup to prevent loss of data and productivity. Thanikachalam Chandrasekaran, a research analyst at Technavio, says, “The demand for power backup from the manufacturing industry is on the rise in APAC. This is because of the growing industrialization, growth in economy, and rising demand for electricity.”
  • Government initiatives for industrial development: In March 2016, the European Commission initiated active efforts to preserve jobs and ensure growth in Europe by setting up a new policy that favors various industries such as steel, cement, automotive, and oil and gas among others. It has increased investments to incorporate new technologies across these industries to achieve process efficiency and cost-effectiveness. “In China, the government established cabinet-level programs in 2010 to help Chinese machinery manufacturers to compete globally. The government has taken several initiatives to encourage domestic manufacturers,” says Thanikachalam.
  • Increasing factory automation systems: The increasing demand for products that are superior in quality due to globalization and population growth has propelled companies to undertake automation in manufacturing. Investment in global process automation is continuing to grow at 6% and is projected to reach USD 120 billion by 2019.
  • Rising investments in railway and aerospace: Aerospace and railways continue to play a pivotal role in the global industrial UPS market. The railway industry in the developing countries is expected to grow rapidly because of infrastructure development, rising industrialization, growing population, development of tourism, and modernization of railway infrastructure. There is a lot of emphasis on safety, increasing the length of fast tracks or corridors that has led to the requirement of wagons and high-speed passenger coaches, along with the expansion of metro train network to several cities.



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DCIM: FNT and ABB join forces to improve data center infrastructure management interoperability

ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, today announced a new business alliance with FNT, a leading provider of integrated software solutions for IT management, data center infrastructure management and telecommunication infrastructure management worldwide.

Decathlon for Data Centers is ABB’s industrial data center solution for monitoring, managing and controlling enterprise, co-location and cloud data centers. It collects data from IT, power, cooling and building systems, and its open environment integrates data center toolsets faster, including uploading assets into tracking tools. Decathlon provides the visibility, decision support and automation technologies on an open platform supporting secure, bi-directional communications with mechanical, electrical and IT systems. Data is routed through the system in real-time to application modules that enable the user to comprehensively manage and optimize the 3 Cs: cost, capacity and control.

With FNT’s 2D and 3D white space floor planning tool FNT Command, the visualization of the inventory and operations at enterprise-, facility-, data hall-, rack-, and system-levels can be easily done in order to identify white space utilization (WSU) and rack space utilization (RSU) to track improvements.

The integration of these two DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) products – ABB Decathlon for Data Centers and FNT Command – creates one comprehensive data center management solution. Customers can now reduce time spent locating assets and enable their IT and facilities staff to collaborate to the highest degree possible. The shared data set supports capacity planning and improves space utilization to defer CAPEX (capital expenditures). Having the systems pre-integrated means that customers can deploy the combined solution with minimal effort, making them more productive more quickly. Additionally, FNT’s workflow tools to support moves-adds-changes functionality for more efficient data center operations complement ABB’s secure real-time power and environmental monitoring and alarming, ensuring up-to-the-second data is always in the hands of those who need it.

“Our customers will benefit from the joint, integrated solutions which pave the way to the industrial data center of the future,” says Nikolaus Albrecht, CEO of FNT. “FNT and ABB are leaders in their sectors. We are looking forward to working together with ABB on joint projects and to developing new ideas. Driven by the innovative strength and global footprint of our two companies, we are well positioned to boost innovation and success for our customers around the globe.”

“FNT software combined with ABB Decathlon for Data Centers will give our customers an advanced, seamless DCIM solution for their data center management, providing them a comprehensive view of their data center operations and enabling them to boost their agility and productivity.” said Ilpo Ruohonen, Managing Director of ABB’s Control Technologies business unit. “This offering strengthens our portfolio for this rapidly growing industry segment.”

With this cooperation, customers can rely on ABB’s extensive experience and technology leadership in power and automation technologies combined with the innovative solutions of the owner-run company FNT.

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How to choose an UPS for today’s and tomorrow’s demands

In an article published in the December 2016 edition of Inside Networks Alan Luscombe, director at Uninterruptible Power Supplies Ltd. discusses how data center managers can use the latest modular UPS topology to achieve the highest power availability and efficiency.

For many of today’s businesses going offline is not an option. High UPS availability is essential for delivering stable data center services to fulfill these needs. But increasing demand of data center power also puts pressure on the general availability of power.

Therefore facility managers are looking for UPS systems that offer the most efficient possible operation along with the highest availability that can be practically achieved. Luscombe: „Fortunately, evolution in UPS technology, particularly modular UPS solutions, enables implementations that can satisfy both these objectives.“

And further: „While data center and ICT facility operators remain under ever-increasing pressure to achieve near-perfect power availability and efficiency, modern UPS technology offers many tools to help them if it is deployed correctly. Availability can be maximised by using hot-swap modular topology in a redundant configuration. Newer technologies have raised UPS energy efficiency, and this efficiency can be further improved by using Eco Mode if site conditions and ICT equipment allow.“



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