With the growing utilization of cloud computing and cloud-based services, the number and size of data centers worldwide is rapidly increasing. Leading cloud service providers, such as Google, Amazon Web Service (AWS), and Microsoft Azure, have developed a number of large-scale data center projects in recent years and will continue to lead cloud computing innovations in the future.

In addition, the number of social media users is escalating. Statistical data from 2019 reveals that there are currently 3.2 billion active social media users globally, which equals almost 42% of the world population. Websites like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest are loaded with visual content, which is further pushing the demand for reliable and efficient cyber storage space.

Data center downtimes or power outages increase the risk of hardware damage and loss of data. In fact, a study demonstrates that, on average, downtime can cost about $5,600 per minute. Statistics also suggest that 93% of organizations that experienced data center downtime for over 10 days reported bankruptcy within a year of the event.

This creates a strong need uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems. A UPS system facilitates hardware protection and prevents loss or corruption of data. It is estimated that the global data center UPS market size will hit $5 billion by 2026.

How are technological advances making UPS technology more efficient?

Enterprises are becoming increasingly dependent on edge and micro data centers to capitalize on trends and technologies, such as the IoT, cloud computing, and mobile applications. All of these require compute power at the network edge. This is encouraging manufacturers to upgrade their existing UPS technologies to make them more compact, sustainable, and energy-efficient.

Advances and innovations in UPS technology are aimed to deliver cost-effective protection for edge and micro data centers. Technological advancements in three-phase UPS systems promise to bring greater efficiency and modularity and lower the total cost of ownership, offering improved connectivity and a reduced carbon footprint.

  • UPS systems are getting more compact

Minimizing the physical size of UPS systems is one of the major challenges, especially in edge data centers. Ongoing developments show that modern UPS sytems are much more compact (up to 25% or more) compared to their legacy counterparts while offering additional features and greater power density. Newer models require only about 6 inches of rear clearance compared to legacy UPS systems that required 22 to 30 inches.

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  • Today’s UPSs are more energy-efficient

Implementation of energy-saving technologies are making UPSs more energy-efficient. These features can boost the energy efficiency from nearly 94% for legacy UPSs to around 99% on newer models. Based on average electrical rates in the U.S., this can lead to savings of up to $5,000 per year per UPS system.

  • Increased use of lithium-ion (li-ion) batteries

Use of li-ion batteries in UPS systems offers a range of operational benefits over conventional valve-regulated, lead-acid (VRLA) batteries. Li-ion batteries can withstand higher operating temperatures and can last up to three times longer than VRLA options. Moreover, li-ion batteries are lighter and smaller, further reducing space requirements.

Regulatory norms are further encouraging manufacturers to invest in research and development (R&D) activities for more energy-efficient products. ASHRAE recently released the revised version of its energy standard for data centers, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 90.4. The updated standard includes significant improvements to UPS technology and other equipment to make data centers more sustainable and efficient.

Growing incidences of power outages and data center downtimes, and the subsequent risk of data loss and hardware damage, will boost the adoption of efficient data center UPS solutions. Increased R&D efforts and investments from industry players will continue to drive the industry trends over the coming years.