Designing Data Center UPS Infrastructure

By Angelo Baggini, University of Bergamo

Data Center UPS Infrastructure

Designing Data Center UPS

The data center has become a critical component in all types of organizations. It must be suitably planned and designed so as to allow sufficient guarantees of quality, efficiency and service continuity, regardless of the dimensions and the sector in which it operates.

Electrical power distribution systems are fundamental infrastructure for most production processes, and information technology (IT) infrastructures contribute to determining their performance, for example, in terms of safety, reliability and ease of maintenance. If system safety is a compulsory specification due to legal requirements, then reliability, availability and ease of maintenance are characteristics that nevertheless impact directly on the end user, but for which each business must establish its own policies.

Finally, when designing a data center, it has to be considered that the IT industry, which owes its existence to electrical power, is heading toward a crisis period arising from huge costs, and will probably be one of the first sectors forced to adapt to new scenarios of low energy consumption. Indeed the issue of energy consumption in data centers will probably be one of the key issues in the management of IT infrastructures over the next few years. It is estimated that data centers, web factories and similar structures will dissipate almost five per cent of power generated globally into the environment.

Obviously, only some of a forementioned components are relevant to the design of the electrical power infrastructure.

In addition to considering typical personal safety aspects, the careful design of a data-center power distribution system is particularly important in relation to the high costs typically associated with downtime caused by power dips and interruptions.

In addition to the constraint of low-power consumption mentioned above, which is dealt with in a specific white paper in this series and which will not therefore be discussed further in this document, probably the main aspects that must be take into consideration in the electrical design of a data center are power availability and maintaining power quality. In this context the choice of distribution scheme and static UPS systems plays a central role.

The following paragraphs deal with the basic concepts of availability, and discuss the main choices that the design engineer and customer are faced with when planning and designing the electrical distribution architecture of a data center.

Obviously, only some of a forementioned components are relevant to the design of the electrical power infrastructure. In addition to considering typical personal safety aspects, the careful design of a data-center power distribution system is particularly important in relation to the high costs typically associated with downtime caused by power dips and interruptions.

ELECTRICAL POWER AVAILABILITY

The main reliability parameter involved in the design of a data-center power distribution system is the availability of the power supply for a given user (for example a rack). In order to be able to make the right design and investment choices when planning the electrical power distribution system of a data center, it is necessary to consider the cost of interruptions in the service provided, taking into account that in the case in question even power dips result in long service interruptions.

From: Power Quality, Grounding & UPS Handbook, Vol 12, The Electricity Forum

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