IT managers put out call for pay-as-you-grow power protection

IT managers want an ability to pay as they grow when it comes to uninterruptible power supplies.

IT managers want an ability to pay as they grow when it comes to uninterruptible power supplies.

Or so a focus group of 500 IT managers from around the world, including New Zealand, told researchers employed by American Power Conversion (APC).

Uninterruptible power supplies, or UPS, protect electronic equipment from the unexpected loss of electrical power and current surges.

The findings, compiled over the past 20 months, have led APC to develop a new power architecture for data centres. Called PowerStruXure, the architecture is a departure from the traditional approach under which companies had to build the data centre infrastructure to full capacity from the start.

APC managing director for Australia and New Zealand Leanne Cunnold says the focus groups came up with 22 imperatives for designing a data centre UPS, which were classified into five areas — life cycle costs, adaptability, availability, manageability and maintainability.

The main feedback, says Cunnold, was that customers wanted to optimise capital investment. “You should be able to adapt to changing power requirements and densities. IT equipment changes every three to five years, so how much power density will a rack need? You need to plan for your electrical and mechanical infrastructure 10 years out. People end up guessing and adding safety margins and come out with a facility which is oversized.”

APC claims PowerStruXure is capable of saving data centres up to 50% in capital expenditure and 20% in operating costs. “Uncertain estimates of future needs have resulted in long deployment schedules, wasted capital and the maintenance of expensive service contracts for underutilised systems,” the company says.

Cunnold says people also wanted to lower the costs of server contracts. “They were saying things like, I have an installation that is only 20% utilised but I pay for 100% utilisation.” In addition, IT managers wanted to reduce the cost of service contracts and have “mean time to respond” as opposed to “mean time to repair” contracts. APC claims all of these issues are addressed in the new architecture.

PowerStruXure consists of three types: type A tops out at 12kW, type B goes to 40kW, while C, which has not yet been released, goes to 160kW. “It’s all modular so it can be scaled. People might initially put in a 20kVA power module for the next couple of years and they can add in another kVA module as they need it,” says Cunnold.

The CSIRO government research centre in Australia, the first Australasian site for PowerStruXure, is using a 40kVA solution in its data centre.

PowerStruXure also integrates into SNMP network management platforms.

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