Power charge

Power charge

"We did a job in London a couple of years ago, in a financial company at Canary Wharf and they had data centres on two floors and moved a lot of servers from one centre to the other," he said. "So one [centre] had some load taken off but at the other site, where they had the servers, they found that by putting the extra servers in they actually lost the redundancy."

Roberts said the company simply took one module and batteries out of the UPS upstairs and carted them downstairs, fitted them in and turned them on. "So the load was protected again. Such [modular] flexibility certainly helped them," he said.

The traditional way to fix the problem would be to get a new UPS and connect it to the distribution board - and that would probably take days or weeks, he said. With modules, the new set-up took about 25 minutes.

"The biggest thing people are doing wrong is oversizing - as we move away from critical load into the actual capacity, we're becoming more and more inefficient," Roberts said.

He claimed some manufacturers' products were reasonably efficient but could waste energy rapidly once they reached 80 per cent of load.

"Today, we pay more energy out to fit the critical load and there's wasted energy in terms of heat, so you have to cool that as well," Roberts said.

Fuel cells offered a better environmental footprint and efficiency, Roberts said. Modularity also helped with efficiency. Even small businesses on a single phase solution might gain from modules, he said.

"We've a little bypass solution, which we call our hotswap chassis, which enables us to throw in a UPS and work in parallel so we can add 6kVA yet add another to make it 12kVA. And then you're probably going to a three-phase solution anyway. So that enables them to get a mini-solution," he said.

With so many other things changing in the data centre, it's difficult to keep up with power availability needs and still have redundancy.

All of these factors were opening up a major opportunity for resellers, Roberts said.

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