Zonit Structured Solutions (www.zonit.com), a provider of data center products for “at-the-rack” data center infrastructure, today introduced the Micro Automatic Transfer Switch (μATS) – a feature-rich, affordable, ultra-small-form-factor (zero “U”) automatic power transfer switch for data centers of all types (enterprise data centers, large server farms, cloud computing facilities, Web hosting companies, containerized data centers, and co-location facilities). The Zonit μATS plugs directly into the back of single-power-supply devices (such as servers, routers, and switches). It features two power cords and intelligent circuitry that monitors the power quality of the main power source. If the main “A-source” power quality becomes unacceptable, the Zonit μATS automatically switches over and draws power from the “B-source”, thus keeping the device to which it’s connected up and running. The first Zonit μATS model is available in a 15-amp, 120-volt version. It is available for $289 in single-purchase; or $275 each for a 25-pack. It is available for shipment in November 2010.

The Zonit μATS is available through multiple Zonit channel partners. The Zonit μATS provides the features and functions of rack-mounted automatic transfer switches at a much lower price point, and consumes NO rack space in the data center. It also solves many key problems occurring in data centers, according to Bill Pachoud, Zonit chairman and founder. “Data center managers are always seeking ways to keep the equipment up and running (improve uptime), and to reduce power consumption – and the Zonit μATS solves both these problems,” he said.

Benefits of the Zonit μATS
  • Provides convenient redundant power for single-power-corded devices
  • Allows the usage of uniform A-B power everywhere in the data center (Eliminates the need to buy a second power supply for single-power-supply devices)
  • Enables 99 percent plus efficient power distribution designs for data centers
  • Reduces dual UPS power losses by 3 to 5 percent annually through a “load shifting” strategy
  • Saves rack space (Competing products have a 1U form factor and use rack space; the Zonit Micro ATS does not use any rack space)
  • Enables the easy relocation of data center equipment via “hot moves”
  • Significantly improves data center equipment uptime
How the Zonit μATS Saves Money
  • Eliminates the need to buy a second power supply for single-power-supply devices
  • Saves data center rack space, which can be used for servers, routers, and switches
  • Allows for the use of inexpensive filtered utility line power
  • Enables increased power system efficiency
  • Minimizes waste from UPS power conversion losses
  • Improves uptime
  • Built to last; can be re-used when a device is replaced with a newer generation of server, router, or switch.
The Zonit μATS addresses the following needs faced by data centers:

1) Providing Redundant Power for Single-Power-Supply Devices: Many servers and other data center and wiring closet devices come equipped with one power supply. If power to that device fails, the device stops working, which can impede mission-critical operations. A single-power device can normally only be plugged into a single branch circuit, so a power failure in that circuit (often from human error such as plugging in the 21st amp of power load into a 20-amp circuit) will shut down all attached devices. Typically, data center managers purchase a second power supply to provide redundant power for the device, which ranges from $150 to $1,000. For data centers with hundreds or thousands of servers, it’s incredibly expensive (or impossible) to provide dual power supplies to all single-power-supply devices. Instead of buying a second power supply (which usually cannot be re-used for the next generation of equipment), the Zonit μATS is designed for durability and long life, and can be re-used over and over again as servers and other data center devices are replaced. This is because the Zonit μATS has the most common IT equipment input plug type (C13).

2) Efficient Power Distribution:Dual Conversion UPS units typically are most efficient at 100 percent load with brand-new batteries. This is not a realistic production configuration; modern UPS units normally have a production efficiency of roughly 88 to 92 percent in well-managed data centers. The Zonit μATS enables the use of more efficient power distribution designs that only use UPS units for protected back-up power and use filtered utility line power for normal operations. The Zonit μATS is specifically designed with features to enable these ultra-efficient data center power distribution designs.

3) Improving the Efficiency of Dual UPS’s in Data Centers: Redundant A-B matched pairs of UPS units normally are deployed to equally share the total load, which limits each UPS to a 50 percent maximum power load (since either UPS must be able to carry the total 100% load if the other fails). This is well below the optimum efficiency for each UPS unit. The Zonit μATS can be used to decrease electrical power losses upstream in the UPS by putting all the load on one of the two UPS units and having the second UPS unit run with little or no load in “back-up” mode.

This is done as follows: The Zonit μATSis designed to always run off the “A” power source when it’s available and provides power of sufficient quality. The μATS only uses the “B” power source when the “A” power source is of insufficient quality or not available. If a μATS is installed on every single-power-supply device in the data center and on the second (or all N+1) power supplies of all devices with dual or N+1 power supplies, the electrical will all be carried by only the “A” UPS. This “Load Shifting” methodology doubles the normal operating load on the “A” UPS (for example from 40 to 80 percent) while the “B” UPS goes from 40 percent to zero. The “A” UPS now will operate much closer to its optimum efficiency, which equates to savings of roughly 3 to 5 percent of a data center’s annual power consumption. The “B” UPS will consume very little power since it is unloaded and idle. This methodology requires UPS units that can tolerate a sudden increase in load, but almost all modern UPS units can do this.

4) More Efficient Use of Data Center Rack Space: Efficient use of rack space in a data center is important in improving a data center’s bottom line. The Zonit μATS takes NO rack space; it simply plugs into the back of the device.

5) Facilitating “Hot Moves” of Data Center Equipment: Typically, when data center equipment is moved within the same rack or to another rack in the data center, it must be powered down. By using the Zonit μATS, data center managers can move servers, switches, and routers while they are still powered on and avoid downtime. They simply connect one power cord from the Zonit μATS to an extension cord near the new location of the device, and then unplug the unit from the A power source. The Zonit μATS automatically will switch over to the “B” power source, and the equipment can be moved to its new location while still powered on. This is practical with TCP/IP Ethernet-connected devices since you can unplug the network connection and reconnect it later, or move them to a different network port on the same Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN).

“The Zonit μATS is a breakthrough in automatic transfer switch technology,” said Ric Lukasiewicz, Zonit vice president of sales. “It provides a ‘positive perfect storm’ of small size, energy efficiency, unique features, and price point. It will be a valuable asset to any data center manager looking to improve uptime, and reduce energy costs.”