Data Center

How a Modular UPS can Help Data Centers Protect and Scale their Operations

Data center densities continue to increase, and so does the demand for data. The global data center market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.5% over the next five years. With floor space at a premium, colocation providers and data center managers are challenged to expand operational capacity to add power without adding physical space or scheduling downtime. At the same time, data center operators must also consider reliability, cost, and employee safety in their expansion plans.

Modular uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems are a flexible, cost-efficient solution offering many advantages for data centers that need to grow along with their businesses. A modular architecture provides data centers with the ability to scale fast while keeping employees safer, with a cost-efficient, pay-as-you-grow model that minimizes their total cost of operation.

Evaluating a Modular UPS

Advantages of a modular UPS approach for data centers

Smaller footprint

Typical modular UPS cabinets are taller and slimmer than conventional horizontal systems. Many feature power modules located in two rows for further space saving. The smaller footprint uses up to 50% less floor space than traditional standalone units. Yet despite their compact size, modular cabinets can easily accommodate additional power modules as needed, giving data centers more flexibility to scale up power as their business demands without taking up additional data center real estate.

Scalability

Modular UPS architecture allows data centers to add power incrementally, to more precisely right-size capacity to match the actual load. As a result, system capacity can be expanded many times the original installed capacity to satisfy increased demand. By implementing more, smaller modular units to supply the needed power, each unit can operate nearer to its maximum capacity and be more efficient without sacrificing reliability.

Availability

Continuous power, or availability, is critical for data center operations. However, maintaining power can be a challenge for data centers with traditional UPS systems because they may need to be bypassed or even taken offline during maintenance or expansion, which requires scheduled downtime. With modular UPS systems with third-party verified Live Swap, power modules can be added or replaced in just a few minutes while the system is running, which reduces or even eliminates the need for scheduled downtime. The energized swapping capability can also speed up mean time to recovery (MTTR) if power module replacement is required.

Safety

The ideal modular UPS system offers third-party verified energized swapping and helps reduce the risk of shock and arc flashes. This enhances the safety of operators and service personnel as they add or replace modules while the system is running.

Live Swap: A game changer for energized swapping

In response to the evolving needs of colocation and data center operators, companies like Schneider Electric continuously improve and refine their 3-phase UPS offerings. For example, Schneider’s new Galaxy VL 200-500 kW 3-Phase UPS introduces an innovative Live Swap capability that enhances availability, reliability, and employee protection. While energized swapping has been around for a long time, the Galaxy VL’s Live Swap capability ushers in a new level of compliance with electrical safe work practices.

Keep data center employees safer

Driven by Schneider Electric’s strong safety culture, Galaxy VL was designed in response to national and local electrical safe work practices and regulations. Live Swap is engineered to help reduce the risk of shock and potential arc flash during the insertion or removal of power modules and ensure touch safety throughout the entire Live Swap operation. Live Swap also passed numerous rigorous tests that a recognized third-party laboratory witnessed and verified. While the Galaxy VL is online, the incident energy levels are kept below 1.2 cal/cm2 while power modules are added or replaced.

Scale fast with no scheduled downtime

Live Swap enables data center operators to quickly and easily add, replace, or remove power modules in the Galaxy VL 200-500 kW UPS while the unit is online and fully operational. There’s no need to transfer the UPS to maintenance bypass or battery operation during power module maintenance or expansion. Just-in-time data center expansion is effortless, with minimal impact on business continuity.

Optimize your investment

Galaxy VL’s modular and scalable design optimizes upfront capital investment. With the ability to instantly scale power in 50 kW increments from 200 kW to 500 kW as power requirements evolve, data center owners have more flexibility to expand power and pay-as-they-grow.

Discover the modular UPS that is right for you

Choosing the right UPS is an important part of the strategy to adapt to growing data center market demands for uptime, efficiency, and sustainability goals. UPSs like the Galaxy VL UPS are well suited for medium and large data centers, edge computing sites, internet data centers, cloud computing, telecommunications, and networking, as well as commercial and industrial facilities. When combined with Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxureTM IT suite of software and services that provide monitoring and data-driven insights, data centers can optimize resiliency and performance. It also enables proactive troubleshooting, which reduces the risk of unplanned downtime.

Learn more about the Galaxy VL UPS and how it might benefit your application. To access more information on Live Swap technology, download the White Paper, “Mitigating Electrical Risk while Swapping Energized Equipment.”


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