It’s clear that lithium ion (Li-ion) batteries stand poised to deliver some dramatic changes to the field of data center uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), mainly due to their longer lifetime along with reduced weight, footprint and cooling requirements compared to lead-acid batteries that are commonly used in UPSs today. In this post, I’ll try to paint a picture of just how dramatic that change might be in small to medium-size data centers (and, in a future post, I’ll discuss potential impacts for facility-scale UPSs).
For starters, valve-regulated lead-acid batteries (VRLA) take up significant space. This is one of the reasons why large, or even medium-size companies, typically don’t place them in the IT “white room.” What’s more, many organizations in recent years have been raising the temperature of their data center server rooms to save on cooling costs, keeping in line with guidance from organizations such as ASHRAE (the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers). IT equipment and UPSs can tolerate the higher temperatures just fine. VRLA batteries, on the other hand, will age and die prematurely at those higher temperatures.
For all of these reasons, companies tend to create battery rooms specifically to house their VRLA batteries. Li-ion technology promises to enable a dramatic reduction in the size of these rooms, by a factor of 2 to 3, simply because Li-ion batteries pack so much more energy into a much smaller footprint. This will increase the footprint available for IT space while also reducing cooling requirements, which saves on both capital costs and ongoing operating costs.
What’s more, in some instances Li-ion batteries may obviate the need for separate battery rooms altogether, by enabling batteries to be installed in the IT room along with the UPS. This is especially likely for small- to medium-size data centers. The strategy frees up useful space, simplifies installation and positions the UPS and associated batteries closer to the IT load, which provides better protection from any potential upstream electrical issues.
Similarly, companies that use scalable and adaptable integrated data center architectures such as Schneider Electric InfraStruxure, could benefit further from Li-ion technology. With such architectures, IT racks, power and cooling components are built and tested as part of an integrated data center solution which can then be expanded as necessary over time. Li-ion batteries will make these integrated “pods” even more space- and energy-efficient than they already are, while delivering the same benefits associated with having the UPS/battery combination close to the IT loads they protect, and easily scalable to keep up with data center growth.
In addition to reducing space and energy requirements, Li-ion batteries last twice as long and require less maintenance than their VRLA counterparts. They also come with advanced battery monitoring systems (BMS), giving IT groups easy, remote access to a reliable measure of the “state of health” and “state of charge” for their batteries. And with less maintenance to perform, that means fewer non-IT people need to be in the data center, which addresses a constant concern for IT groups.
I expect we’ll also see great improvement in smaller, single-cabinet UPSs thanks to the combination of higher density power electronics and Li-ion batteries. A cabinet that today supports about 60 kVA with 10 min of energy storage with VRLA batteries, may one day protect 150-200 kVA with that same 10 min. of storage using Li-ion batteries, effectively more than doubling its power density. Such density improvement should substantially change the old knock against UPSs, that they’re “necessary but bulky.”
With this paradigm shift, it is also not difficult to imagine more power protection integrated right into IT racks, because it will take up far less space and require dramatically less frequent maintenance.
These are just a few of the ways I expect Li-ion batteries will change the 3-phase UPS landscape in data centers in coming years. I’d love to hear your take on the topic, so feel free to let me know using the comments below. And keep an eye out for my next post on what Li-ion technology will mean for large data centers and facility-scale UPSs.
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Eaton’s power quality portfolio encompasses a comprehensive suite of power management solutions, including uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs), surge protective devices, power distribution units (PDUs), remote monitoring, software, power factor correction, airflow management, rack enclosures and services. With all our products, Eaton strives for continued success in leveraging technical innovation to develop next-generation solutions.
As an Eaton Certified Partner and provider of professional IT services, we are the leader in pricing, engineering, and educating our customers while constantly striving to advance and evolve. Our dedication to being the best at what we do, along with a fanatical focus on customer service, has allowed us to be recognized as a leader in the IT industry.
Would a "vintage" data center actually be newer than what you have? Check out this flow chart to see if its time for an upgrade.
eConnect Electronic Access Control (EAC) provides an easy-to-use and economical networked electronic lock solution for data center cabinets.
eConnect EAC is a cost-effective networked locking solution that works with CPI's eConnect Power Distribution Units (PDUs) to support the three key elements of remote management at the cabinet level: power monitoring, environmental monitoring and physical access control.
This integrated PDU-based cabinet ecosystem uses a single network connection and one interface to monitor all three elements, greatly simplifying rack management.
Through the eConnect interface, users are able to remotely program, monitor and control each cabinet access and keep a log entry for security and regulatory compliance purposes.
Additionally, CPI Secure Array IP Consolidation, a feature of eConnect PDUs, allows up to 32 PDUs (16 cabinets) and any connected locks and sensors to share a single network connection which significantly reduces networking costs.
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eConnect power and security products are key components of the cabinet ecosystem. When combined with CPI's GlobalFrame or TeraFrame Cabinets, it is possible to integrate electronic access control, power management and environmental monitoring using one interface. Integration with eConnect PDUs removes the need to power and network the locks separately.
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Top benefits of cloud computing
Cloud computing is a big shift from the traditional way businesses think about IT resources. What is it about cloud computing? Why is cloud computing so popular? Here are 6 common reasons organizations are turning to cloud computing services:
Cloud Computing eliminates the capital expense of buying hardware and software and setting up and running on-site datacenters—the racks of servers, the round-the-clock electricity for power and cooling, the IT experts for managing the infrastructure. It adds up fast.
Most cloud computing services are provided self service and on demand, so even vast amounts of computing resources can be provisioned in minutes, typically with just a few mouse clicks, giving businesses a lot of flexibility and taking the pressure off capacity planning.
3. Global scale
The benefits of cloud computing services include the ability to scale elastically. In cloud speak, that means delivering the right amount of IT resources—for example, more or less computing power, storage, bandwidth—right when its needed, and from the right geographic location.
On-site datacenters typically require a lot of “racking and stacking”—hardware set up, software patching, and other time-consuming IT management chores. Cloud computing removes the need for many of these tasks, so IT teams can spend time on achieving more important business goals.
The biggest cloud computing services run on a worldwide network of secure datacenters, which are regularly upgraded to the latest generation of fast and efficient computing hardware. This offers several benefits over a single corporate datacenter, including reduced network latency for applications and greater economies of scale.
Cloud computing makes data backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity easier and less expensive, because data can be mirrored at multiple redundant sites on the cloud provider’s network.
Types of cloud deployments: public, private, hybrid
Types of cloud services: IaaS, PaaS, SaaS
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Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming and spring is in the air. Yard sales will soon become Saturday morning’s most prolific event for homeowners set on cleaning out their clutter. Are you taking the same steps to clean up your IT environment? At this point, you may have just finished setting up some of the precious new IT equipment that you weren't able to squeeze into the 2016 budget or you’re beginning to finalize your spend for this year. Regardless of your situation, here are a few tips to be more successful in your IT spring cleaning adventure and prepare for a more productive 2017.
IT maintenance is a must, whether it’s your network closet itself or the equipment that resides in it, so try to schedule a reoccurring time to do some technology housekeeping. It will not only help you on a daily basis, but it will look like you truly value your company’s investment. Who doesn’t like getting kudos from the boss? I hope these 3 tips are helpful reminders that you can put to use. What are some of your most efficient cleaning tips?
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