Coffee is made-to-order and, now, so are PDUs. Customize this important piece of IT equipment to optimally protect and distribute power within your unique environment. IT professionals: Here's the infographic you never knew you needed!
Managing distributed IT environments has emerged as a key responsibility for many data center operators to meet the dynamic challenges of digital transformation. Decentralization of infrastructure has enabled the proliferation of critical IT components to drive faster data and services to end users on college campuses, in hospital systems and other distributed environments. However, as operators embrace connected technologies to integrate devices and automate essential processes, the potential for more cybersecurity risk must also be addressed.
Systems are becoming more interconnected, which increases the number of potential entryways for malicious activity across a network. Data center operators responsible for managing distributed networks must be aware of these possible vulnerabilities and create an end-to-end strategy that factors securing power management into the equation.
Connected systems, new risks
The trend in high-profile breaches exemplifies the changing cybersecurity threat landscape. Like HVAC units and other more recently connected devices, power management devices such as uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs) are becoming more interconnected to enable integration with software, services and other IT infrastructure in a way that enables operators to manage and monitor these devices remotely. These components must be secured just like every other network access point.
Driving home the urgency on this point, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and Department of Energy recently released a public advisory regarding cybersecurity for internet-connected UPSs. The advisory urged organizations to take mitigation measures to protect UPSs and all other emergency power systems against potential threat actors.
Steps to securing backup power in distributed environments
Physical security measures, including the use of security locks on IT racks, can also help to ensure that only authorized personnel have access to IT equipment. And as the proliferation of smart, connected devices link together more elements of IT operations in distributed networks, it will be helpful to partner with technology and solutions providers that demonstrate an ongoing commitment in protecting against cybersecurity risks
Securing the future
Digital transformation is poised for continued acceleration, and with it, managing distributed IT environments will be a growing responsibility for data center operators as they seek to drive even better and faster data services. This transition will create new possibilities for connected infrastructure, and it remains imperative that operators take the necessary steps to secure these devices across their increasingly interconnected networks. By implementing proper cybersecurity measures to secure power management equipment, operators can better prepare for the continued evolution of their networks.
By 2025, data centers are expected to consume about one-fifth of the world’s electrical power. Between running IT infrastructure, cooling, power backup, and general maintenance, data centers require a lot of energy. However, as an IT administrator, you can take steps to increase infrastructure sustainability, especially as the number of small data centers multiplies at edge computing sites.
One step involves updating your uninterruptible power supply (UPS) fleet with devices designed for greater efficiency and less maintenance. Another step is implementing an infrastructure monitoring strategy focused on minimizing on-site maintenance and troubleshooting.
More Efficient UPSs
The amount of energy consumed by a single UPS device may seem insubstantial. It amounts to roughly 1% of the total power consumed at a data center or edge computing site. However, let’s say you’re a bank with 100 branches or a retailer running 1,000 stores or more. Each of those locations is supported by an edge site containing a UPS. When multiplied by all those locations, that 1% adds up to a lot.
Therefore, you’d want to deploy the most efficient UPSs available. A new breed of UPS with innovative technologies helps you meet that goal in several ways. First, these devices use wide-bandgap semiconductors that enable operation at a higher voltage and higher frequency than possible with traditional semiconductors. This results in fewer power losses, which translates to more powerful and energy-efficient devices. The outcome is a lower electric bill.
Another benefit of the new UPS technology is the use of lithium-ion batteries that last up to 10 years, compared to three to five years for valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. As such, the units need to be replaced less frequently. And that means using less power for manufacturing and less fuel in transporting the units, which are smaller and lighter, taking up less space in trucks. Disposal costs at the end of life for the units also decrease. Anything that helps reduce carbon emissions is a plus. To further understand the differences between VRLA and lithium-ion battery life cycles and how that impacts sustainability efforts, check out this recent blog post.
Real-time monitoring and management for edge computing sites
Newer UPSs also help achieve sustainability goals at the edge through remote monitoring and management. Connectivity enables the capture of data for real-time monitoring and management and is enterprise management system compatible – letting you make device information available to your monitoring and management platform or third-party Enterprise Network Management System. This capability helps reduce the need for truck rolls for maintenance and troubleshooting.
For one thing, you can reboot attached loads. And you don’t need to dispatch someone to a site to check on battery status because you can remotely monitor battery health and performance. Data collected from the batteries allows you to accurately estimate when a battery will need replacement instead of going on-site to check.
When you are running hundreds or thousands of sites, this translates to spending a lot less on fuel and travel costs. And when a technician shows up with a replacement battery, you can be confident it’s the right time for a replacement.
Discover a more sustainable kind of UPS Everyone in an organization – and society itself – has a responsibility to work toward sustainability goals. Reducing power consumption at data centers and the edge isn’t always easy, but it’s possible. And one effective way to do so is by deploying efficient UPS technology at the edge.
Discover a more sustainable kind of UPS
Everyone in an organization – and society itself – has a responsibility to work toward sustainability goals. Reducing power consumption at data centers and the edge isn’t always easy, but it’s possible. And one effective way to do so is by deploying efficient UPS technology at the edge.
Find the Right Power UPS to Protect Your Critical Electronics
Standby UPS protect against 3 of the 10 most common power problems. This low cost UPS provides basic protection and will reduce equipment downtime. Standby UPS are most commonly used to protect single workstations, ATM/Kiosk, IP telephony, and POS terminals.
LINE INTERACTIVE UPS
Line Interactive UPS protect against 5 of the 10 most common power problems. This midrange protection adds Automatic Voltage Regulation (AVR) feature to the Standby UPS topology. Line Interactive UPS are most commonly used to protect servers, small network systems, IP telephony, POS terminals, and POE equipment.
Online UPS, also known as double conversion technology, protect against 9 of the 10 most common power problems. This topology first converts AC utility power into DC power, then converts back into AC power. Online UPS are most commonly used to protect mission critical applications including critical servers, phone systems, medical devices, and equipment requiring long battery runtimes.
ISOLATED ONLINE UPS
Isolated Online UPS, also known as Power Conditioned Online UPS or Laboratory Grade UPS, protect against all 10 of the common power problems. This premium technology adds galvanic isolation transformer to the online UPS topology providing protection from common mode noise. Isolated Online UPS are used to provide the cleanest power in difficult applications such as industrial environments, laboratories, retail, and any installation with grounding or noise issues.
If you work in a dedicated data center facility, you’re probably already aware that rack PDUs are more than just power strips. With power distribution units numbering in the hundreds or even thousands, having the right rackmount PDU can be a critical asset to managing your data center effectively. Let’s take a look at some of the top things to look for when purchasing a rackmount PDU for your data center.
Let’s face it — your business is essential, and it needs electricity to keep its operations going around the clock. But, despite your best efforts, you’re still struggling to find a way to maintain always-on, always-connected operations. One solution you may want to consider: an uninterruptable power supply (UPS) system.
UPS systems are essential for essential business during hurricane season and after it ends. To understand the value of UPS systems, let’s examine these systems in detail.
What is a UPS?
Don’t let the name fool you — this type of UPS is not a package delivery and supply chain company. Like the globally recognized brand. However, a UPS system can help essential businesses stay on track.
A UPS is a device that provides emergency power after an initial electricity source fails. In other words, it is a surefire backup plan for essential businesses because it protects computers, telecommunications equipment, and other critical devices against power disruption.
How does a UPS system work?
A UPS delivers backup power if a primary power source fails or voltage falls below a predetermined level. In this instance, the system safely provides power for a set amount of time.
The size and design of a UPS determines how much power will be provided and how long it will be provided. If the system runs out of backup power, it allows business users to safely shut down any connected equipment.
Types of UPS
UPS systems are classified based on the level of power protection they provide. Common types of UPS systems include:
A standby system delivers backup power if a blackout, voltage sag, or voltage surge occurs. The system detects instances when utility power falls below or surges above safe voltage levels then switches to backup battery power and runs it to connected equipment. It is frequently used for consumer electronics and other basic electronic equipment.
A line-interactive system can handle minor power fluctuations without resorting to a battery backup. The system may be used for consumer electronics, PCs, network equipment, and servers.
3. Double conversion
A double conversion system provides the same quality and level of power, regardless of the power source. The system is ideal for mission-critical IT equipment, data centers, and high-end servers.
Five reasons why your essential business needs a UPS system
The bottom line: a UPS system is a must-have for your business. Here are five reasons why UPS systems are essential for essential businesses.
1. UPS systems guard against power interruptions
Research indicates that approximately one in four businesses experience a power outage at least once a month. Meanwhile, power interruptions make it virtually impossible for businesses to provide customers with the products and services they demand in real-time. As a result, power outages can cause revenue losses, damage brand reputation, and cause other long-lasting problems for businesses of all sizes and across all industries.
With a UPS system in place, your business is well-equipped to avoid a power outage that otherwise hampers your ability to serve its customers. A UPS system keeps your critical systems running, so your employees can use these systems to achieve their desired results.
At the same time, a UPS system ensures that your customers won’t be affected if a power outage occurs; instead, your company can continue to perform at its expected levels.
2. UPS systems prevent data loss
Your employees may work diligently at their computers, and they may store a wide range of information on them. But, if a power outage occurs, your business risks data loss. Once your company loses data, it may require significant time and resources to recover it. In the worst-case scenario, your company could lose this data altogether.
A UPS system minimizes the risk of data loss due to a power outage. The system keeps business computers running, even if a primary power source is disrupted. That way, you won’t have to worry about losing critical data.
3. UPS systems protect against “bad” electricity
There is no guarantee that your business devices have a clean, consistent supply of electricity. In fact, direct alternating current sometimes results in power fluctuations that can cause electronic devices to deteriorate.
A UPS system can filter electricity as it is delivered to your business devices. For example, a line-interactive UPS system refines power as it comes into the system and adjusts its output accordingly. In doing so, the system ensures that business systems receive clean, consistent power.
4. UPS systems mitigate the risks associated with power surges
There is no telling when a power surge will occur, but the incident can have far-flung effects on your business. During a power surge, a transient wave of energy disrupts an electric circuit. When this happens, the surge can damage electronic equipment.
A UPS system can detect power surges, spikes, and dips as they happen. The system automatically switches to alternate power, and as a result, protects against these issues before they cause damage.
5. UPS systems provide surefire emergency power
Your essential business needs a Plan B if a power outage occurs. Otherwise, your company puts its employees and everyday operations in danger. It also cannot provide its customers with the support they need, precisely when they need it.
A UPS system acts as a surefire emergency power supply. The system provides reliable alternate power, even if electricity is unavailable from a primary power source for an extended period of time. Thus, the system delivers a viable temporary power solution.
Does your business need a UPS system?
A UPS system is a must-have for essential businesses in South Florida, particularly during hurricane season. The system ensures your company won’t have to worry about power disruptions. Plus, the system is easy to use and won’t break your budget.
At Universal Electrical Services, we provide UPS systems throughout South Florida. Our team can teach you about different UPS systems and help you find the right one for your essential business. To learn more, please contact us today.
Power outages have become more frequent and severe in recent years. Communities in Texas and throughout the southern U.S. are recovering after the largest forced blackout and power grid failure in history. As an IT professional, you may be well-versed in the ways to prepare and protect IT equipment — uninterruptible power supplies, generators, etc. — in the event of a power outage. (If you need a refresher, this blog post is a good place to start.)
But what about after the power comes back on? What are the questions you need to ask to evaluate your IT infrastructure during the recovery stage?
In this post, I outline four questions you need to ask as you assess your IT equipment after a power outage.
IT equipment recovery checklist
1. Did I plan accordingly?
Even the most advanced facility cannot guarantee 100 percent availability of its IT infrastructure — there’s always a risk of an outage. One of the best ways to ensure a fast and effective response when an outage does happen is to have an emergency plan in place.
No plan? If you didn’t have a plan in place, it’s time to create one. This paper: “How to Prepare and Respond to Data Center Emergencies, ” is a helpful resource. It includes detailed information on the essential elements to include in your plan, including emergency response procedures, emergency drills, and incident management information. Keep in mind, this document is specific to data centers, but you can apply it to any facility with critical IT infrastructure.
Have a plan? Great. Take a look back at your emergency plan and determine if it met your needs. The biggest question to answer is: Did everything work as intended? If everything worked as planned, meaning there was no asset / facility damage or data loss, the right people mobilized quickly, and you wouldn’t do anything differently, then kudos to you.
But due to the nature of power outages, emergency responses aren’t always seamless. If you noticed some areas for improvement, drill down further into the problem by moving onto the next question.
2. Did the system in place work as expected?
Your emergency plan likely includes many elements to keep your IT infrastructure protected during an outage. For example, it may detail what to do during a utility or transformer failure or how to troubleshoot standby generators and uninterruptible power supplies.
Because you’ve determined that there were areas for improvement with your emergency plan, get down to the root of the issues. Common problems that impact IT infrastructure during and after an outage involve circuits, backup power, cooling, and software — so start there.
A “no” answer to any of these questions warrants a deeper dive into the problem. For example, if the uninterruptible power supply did not run long enough, you may need to work with Brisk Worldwide to replace older batteries or swap your battery cabinet with a larger one to increase runtime.
3. Was there damage?
Power outages often result from natural disasters. During these events, high winds, water, and fire, along with seemingly minor environmental changes like a temperature fluctuation, can damage IT equipment and cause downtime.
At this stage in the recovery process, identify the location and scope of the damage. And as you or a service provider correct breaks or issues, also remember to address the root cause. Let’s say a server was damaged from a voltage spike. In that case, you may want to look at enhanced surge protection solutions.
4. What would I do differently next time?
Wrap up your checklist by gauging your overall feeling about the power outage response. If you felt comfortable with your plan and execution, then note that in your plan, detail any lessons learned, and rest assured that you’re ready for the next outage.
But if you note any glaring areas for improvement, it’s time to revisit your power outage strategy. As you put together a revamped plan, consider both clear misses and near misses. And after the new version is complete, perform emergency drills to evaluate and fine-tune the process.
Additional support for IT infrastructure
Power outages are a given. But a swift recovery isn’t. Following the four-step checklist outlined in this blog will help you assess your equipment and plan, and give you direction on how to best prepare for the next outage.
Do you need additional support? We can help. Click here to explore more power outage resources.
This NEMA report outlines standards for evaluating, replacing, and / or reconditioning water-damaged electrical equipment.
It’s unprecedented to see a single uninterruptible power system (UPS) model approaching four decades of exceptional performance on the market. But that’s precisely the case for the Eaton FERRUPS, introduced 38 years ago and still going strong. While end users have embraced the unit for years – most notably in industries such as oil and gas, military deployments, 911 centers, machinery automation, industrial automation, manufacturing facilities and other harsh electrical environments – issues with obsolete parts forced Eaton to rethink its design.
Redesign & rebrand
Rather than retire such a rugged, reliable and popular unit, Eaton instead opted to completely revamp the industrial UPS into the Ferrups FX. Available this month, the shiny new model combines the legendary reliability of the original FERRUPS with industry-leading communication capabilities and IIoT-ready protection ideal for industrial power infrastructure.
The impressively updated UPS builds upon decades of proven performance of the original FERRUPS UPS. Maintaining the aspects that customers value in the legacy platform – including its ferroresonante transformer and bulky design to withstand high temperatures – the revitalized Ferrups FX includes new sought-after features such as remote monitoring and network connectivity card options providing cybersecurity protection. This enhanced level of communication and cybersecurity is especially advantageous in light of industrial customers’ increasing desire to bring IT onto the factory floor and perform IoT and edge computing capabilities.
Improved display, updates at a glance
In addition, the Ferrups FX includes a top-notch user interface designed to withstand dust-intensive environments – a significant improvement over the unit’s previous ‘80s-era display. The remote-control display with LED status bar enables quick and easy status updates to ensure systems are protected and running without interruption.
The new Ferrups FX represents an excellent opportunity for partners whose customers have been buying the legacy FERRUPS product for decades, enabling them to upgrade their existing installed base with the new UPS. And just like its predecessor, the Ferrups FX is eligible for attractive discounts through the PowerAdvantage deal registration program.
Next redesign? Maybe 2060!
By combining its existing rugged design with exceptional communication and cybersecurity capabilities, the new Ferrups FX model is an ideal product for the industrial Iot and nascent edge computing markets. Even more, it promises to continue meeting the needs of harsh power environments where traditional UPS models are susceptible to power surge events for decades to come. Here’s to another 40 years!
As data and applications become increasingly important for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs), the need for a reliable, high-performance data center is critical. Yet for many SMBs, IT — while a backbone for the business — is definitely not the business. In these situations, selecting the right colocation facility can be a daunting prospect — particularly when considering there is more that goes into a data center than racks of servers. What’s more, with today’s reliance on virtualization and converged infrastructure, the local colocation that seems like the best, most convenient choice may present overlooked legal ramifications that can be costly in the long term. When exploring colocation options, SMBs would do well to take a big picture assessment that goes beyond simply looking at hardware and software options.
Privacy: More complicated than you may think
Virtualization has undoubtedly been a boon for SMBs, allowing many to achieve the flexibility and compute capacity of much larger organizations. However, virtualization can also create challenges that can result in significant legal ramifications. For starters, the U.S. has different laws governing privacy of personal data than Canada, Latin America, or the European Union. SMBs need to explore whether data stored at a colocation will ever be transmitted to another jurisdiction — thereby violating privacy laws. SMBs also need to match their regulatory compliance requirements to the facility they choose. HIPAA, PCI, Sarbanes Oxley, SSAR 16, and SAS 70 are just a few of a number of standards that are meant to regulate how businesses handle sensitive data. Make sure colocation providers have put into place the necessary policies, procedures, and technology that allow their facilities to be compliant, thus allowing SMBs to have their sensitive business data located outside the confines of their own four walls.
Security: Both physical and logical
A colocation by its very definition is a multi-tenant facility. SMBs need to evaluate both physical access to servers and equipment as well as logical access to data and applications. It is fairly simple to determine how well a colocation physically secures access to its facility and equipment; more challenging is determining the integrity of logical security. Colocation services vary drastically, from traditional data center hosting of end user equipment to advanced offerings such as managed IT and cloud. When considering advanced services that take advantage of IT resources from the colocation, be aware that virtualization enables a single server to host applications and data from multiple sources. Determining whether or not a colocation provides for logical separation can be a critical factor when deciding suitability of a particular colocation partner or particular service.
Wholesale vs. retail
Not all colocations are created equal. Wholesale data centers typically provide space for servers and little else. This may be fine for SMBs that don’t require additional services and need excess computing capacity now and then. However, given that many SMBs are not in the data center operations business, additional services may be needed. This is where retail data centers come into play.
Such providers offer a multitude of services in addition to just floor and rack space. Those SMBs without dedicated IT staff may want to take advantage of a number of services, such as cloud-based applications, managed hosting, managed storage, and business resiliency, among others. In addition to the variety of services a retail colocation may offer, SMBs should evaluate service level agreement (SLA) options — both in terms of what is offered as well as what the capabilities are to make good on a contract should any issues occur. While many colocations may accurately boast 5-9s in terms of reliability, SMBs need to verify that such facilities have the ability — and the intention — to redress any service level problems that should arise, and do so with a high degree of urgency.
In a report released by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the multi-tenant data center type of providers are broken up and defined as seen in next column.
The facility factor
In addition to services, SMBs will need to evaluate offerings on the facilities side of the equation. While a colocation may offer enough power, make sure there is redundancy. Is the colocation provider using the latest technology in high efficiency power and sensible thermal management?
These are competitive advantages that will result in lower cost for the provider, and ultimately a better price for the tenant. In addition, check how easy it is to make changes.
Clearly, selecting a data center is an involved process that requires due diligence on the part of an SMB. Yet considering the mission-critical role data and applications play for many SMBs, it is important to do your homework. With virtualization and globalization, even those SMBs with only a local presence need to be aware of the implications that privacy requirements around the world could have on their operations. SMBs need to select a colocation they trust as a true partner. While the selection process may seem daunting, begin by looking at those colocation providers that have a reputation for service and reliability. If location is a priority, evaluate those facilities that are close enough to afford convenient site visits, then delve into the inner workings of those providers — everything from procedures and policies to hardware, software, and power equipment. One important criteria worth noting is whether a data center has SOC 2 certification, an independent designation that attests to adherence to security, availability, process, and privacy controls. Choosing such a data center can offer assurances that an SMB’s data is adequately safeguarded.
Maximizing data center operations
To find the most appropriate data center, SMBs need to do thorough research. After all, their business depends on IT. Yet selecting the right data center is only one part of the equation. To ensure maximum operational effectiveness based on an SMB’s individual reliability and security needs, it’s necessary to think on a granular level. After all, most colocations are focused on the operations of the facility overall. It’s the job of an SMB to take care of operations down to the rack level to get the most out of the data center.
Whether an SMB has a rack, a group of racks, or equipment segregated in a caged section, it’s important to be able to monitor and manage its own equipment within the facility. Even though a colocation may have superior thermal management and heat rejection systems throughout the facility, an SMB’s individual rack may be vulnerable to hot spots caused by neighboring racks. Environmental rack monitors and probes can keep tabs on racks, allowing SMBs to know temperature and humidity levels for their specific equipment.
For SMBs that require reliability and availability above all else, installing a UPS at the rack level can provide an additional measure of redundancy. When evaluating UPS devices, SMBs should look for the following features:
To ensure reliable and cost-effective power operations, combine a rack UPS with an intelligent rack power distribution unit or rack PDU. Taken together, these two devices can provide detailed and granular information to ensure efficient rack operations. Ideally, intelligent rack PDUs should have the following features:
Along with monitoring outsourced equipment and environmental conditions at a colocation, SMBs need to monitor and manage what remains behind, the on-premise IT components that ensure connectivity with the colocation facility. For onsite equipment, SMBs need to pay attention to power conditioning, security measures, and cooling and heating practices. In effect, SMBs need to operate a data center in a box — a concept that encompasses organization, protection, and management.
When it comes to organization, racks that include cable management options can both streamline troubleshooting and reduce the incidence of human error. Protection of on-premise equipment can include the use of rackmount UPS devices with form factors that fit into the confines of network closets, as well as UPS devices that support virtualization via a network card.
On the management side, intelligent power management software used in conjunction with environmental probes and rack monitors enable SMBs to accurately gauge how efficiently onsite equipment is operating and identify issues before they become full-blown problems. Such management tools allow IT administrators to remotely monitor and manage multiple devices across the network from a single interface, so they get the right information in the most preferable way to manage the IT environment.
While selecting the right data center in terms of the facility, location, and reliability is critically important, SMBs need to understand they can realize significant value when they insist on maximizing the operation. SMBs should not assume their equipment is well-tended just because the colocation is operating smoothly, and therefore SMBs should take the initiative when it comes to organizing, protecting, and managing their own equipment — both at the colocation as well as on-premise
An uninterruptible power supply or a UPS system is an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source or mains power fails. A UPS system performs three primary functions: conditions the incoming dirty power from the utility company to give you clean, uninterruptible power, provides ride-through power to cover for sags or short-term outages, and enables seamless system shutdown during a complete power outage.
What is the difference between single-phase UPSs vs. three-phase UPSs vs. split-phase UPSs?
Phases of a UPS, such as a single-phase UPS or a three-phase UPS, describe the number of electrical phases that a UPS receives and transmits. Electrical utilities generate three-phase power because that is the most efficient way to transport electricity over long distances. And for larger power consumers, such as large data centers, industrial manufacturing and hospitals, the power stays as three-phase, requiring a three-phase UPS. For smaller power consumers, including residential or office buildings and most K-12 schools, the power is converted to single-phase power.
Some applications contain a mix of single-phase and three-phase equipment and require a UPS that can protect both. For those deployments, a split-phase UPS, which can simultaneously provide 120V and 208V output, is often the best option.
What size UPS do you need?
UPSs are given a power rating in volt-amperes (VA) that range from 300 VA to 5,000 kVA. This rating represents the maximum load that a UPS can support, but it shouldn’t match exactly the power load you have. To allow room for growth, the best practice is to choose a UPS with a VA rating that is 1.2x the total load you need it to support. If your UPS will be supporting motors, variable-speed drives, medical imaging devices or laser printers, add more VA capacity to your requirements to account for the high power inrush that occurs when those devices startup.
Companies that are anticipating rapid growth should use a higher multiplier than 1.2x. Newer server hardware tends to have higher power requirements than older models, so factoring in additional VA will account for adding more and newer equipment.
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