New, smaller UPS batteries from Schneider Electric

16th July 2021
Alex Lynn

There’s an ongoing push to improve data centre technology, especially because the facilities are essential for helping society operate. Data centre outages could affect online banking, remote work, telemedicine appointments, and much more. That’s why data centre operators invest in uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) that can take over if the main power source fails or suffers quality issues. 

A UPS — also known as a battery backup system — is crucial for ensuring data centres stay reliable. Schneider Electric recently brought its new, smaller UPS batteries to the market, offering more power in a smaller package.

Power density

Schneider Electric reports that its APC Smart-UPS Ultra UPS batteries are 3kW 1U single-phase options. Additionally, they provide 2.4 times the power density at half the size and weight of competing batteries.

People can also mount the batteries on walls, racks, towers, or ceilings, giving them more flexibility with their data centre setups. Moreover, these batteries are suited for edge computing environments, where there’s often an emphasis placed on making the best use of available square footage.

Edge computing is getting more popular, and that trend seems set to continue over the next several years. A recent survey found that 31% of data centre owners/operators don’t have edge facilities now. However, the figure drops to 12% when the same group anticipates what will happen in two to three years.

Just as data centre owners and operators must plan for the future, so too do companies like Schneider Electric that offer relevant products. These batteries represent part of a broader effort to create data centre technologies that suit current needs as well as those that may arise soon.

Moving towards a greener data centre

Another notable thing about these UPS batteries is that they’re lithium-ion power sources. It’s well known that data centres consume tremendous amounts of energy, contributing to higher emissions. Then again, even most activities people do without thinking have more environmental impacts than they probably realize.

For example, a person could generate 1.4 tons of carbon dioxide annually by merely using their smartphone for an hour per day.

However, collective efforts to focus on sustainability tend to cause larger positive impacts over time. In an interview with Data Centre Knowledge, Jay Owen, Schneider Electric’s Senior Vice President of its North American IT division, recognized that progress after pointing out that Li-ion batteries are recyclable and last longer than other types, such as valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries.

He said: “From my point of view, if you think about those benefits, it makes perfect sense to move in the direction of lithium-ion from VRLA, or other, older battery technologies. Is it the end-all/be-all? No, probably not. But it is the best solution today, for the application that we have.”

These batteries last three times longer than USPs powered by VRLA batteries. Moreover, they do not require replacing when used under normal operating conditions. That aspect makes them more user-friendly, too, since battery maintenance can be a cumbersome task.

Equipped for cloud-based monitoring

The APC Smart-UPS Ultra UPS batteries also accommodate the fact that data centre managers can’t be everywhere at once, but they still need ways to keep an eye on operations. More specifically, the batteries work with Schneider Electric’s EcoStruxure cloud-based monitoring system.

People can also receive data-backed recommendations to optimize performance or log into a web portal to get updates about the health of the UPS system. Such tailored alerts make upkeep simpler and more efficient. Since the cloud technology works across multiple UPS devices located in numerous places, it’s ideal for brands with facilities spread out around the globe.

Available to buy soon

People in North America can buy the APC Smart-UPS Ultra UPS batteries starting in September 2021. Schneider Electric anticipates offering them to more global markets later this year. That gives people ample time to conduct further research and take a facility’s specific needs into consideration, using the available information to guide their purchasing decisions.

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