Many Organisations rely on their IT infrastructure for their daily operations and strategic decisions. All of the data processing equipment and the network hardware that allows it to communicate, must be driven by clean, uninterrupted power at all operational times.
A typical choice to deal with this is to install a large UPS system which feeds the IT equipment both within the data centre and across the site. But a single system topology like this may not be the most cost-effective way of providing a power availability solution, because only the most highly critical load would warrant the investment required. Under many circumstances it makes more sense to purchase a UPS installation with availability appropriate to the site’s criticality and power requirement.
In a recently published article Kenny Green, Technical Support Manager at Uninterruptible Power Supplies Ltd, a Kohler Company, looks at how a total but effective power protection strategy can be developed by deploying UPSs suitable for each of these distributed, varied demands for power protection – and to how define exactly what is meant by “site criticality”.
Mainly he recommends to address this issue with a look at the four tiers of availabilty developed by The Uptime Institute. These relate to levels of redundancy built into the data centre components and distribution paths, and act as guidelines for organisations seeking the solution most appropriate to their type of operation (see also: The impact of Tier Classifications on UPS power).
“Using smaller systems […] in a distributed power scheme is not practical or desirable in all situations. If an entire site is dedicated to supporting a large international 24/7 operation involving e-commerce and online transactions, then the complete UPS installation may have to be configured to Tier lV levels with redundant distribution and components. This is essential to avoid compromising the tier rating of the rest of the facility. However if some areas of ICT within the site can safely be identified as less critical to overall operation, then a distributed scheme can reduce costs by using lower but still acceptable levels of availability and protection where appropriate.”