In many ways, your data center uninterruptible power system (UPS) isn’t all that different than your car; provided you take proper care of it, it should reliably carry you many miles. If you routinely check under the hood, replace vital fluids and rotate the tires, it’s reasonable to expect that an automobile will last 15 to 20 years. A properly serviced UPS is much the same.

But what if you had the option to slide behind the wheel of a brand new car that would not only be equipped with all the latest bells and whistles, but offered a smoother ride? Better yet, what if it promised significantly better gas mileage and safety options? If your car isn’t obsolete, then the improvements in technology may not be worth the upgrade, but if that new vehicle could actually put money in your pocket the choice becomes much more obvious.

While not likely with an automobile, when you consider the advancements in power protection technology, the prospect of a new UPS creating a financial return for your organization is a real possibility.

Over the past decade, there have been significant improvements and changes to UPS technology. As a result, even though your existing unit may be delivering reliable backup power, you could be missing out on considerable advantages. For instance, modern UPSs offer sophisticated software with important monitoring and analytical insights that can predict future problems and gauge performance. Furthermore, newer UPSs seamlessly integrate in a cohesive data center system with features such as network and connectivity devices, energy saving operating modes, virtualization capabilities and convenient LCD touchscreens that provide fast access to information.

With that in mind, below are three primary benefits of modern UPSs that also contribute to revenue generation.

Power Factor

Power factor, which is defined as the ration of real power used to do work and the apparent power supplied to the circuit, is presented in values ranging from zero to one. Newer UPSs can offer a real power rating of 1.0 or 100%, also known as unity power factor, which is a key consideration in modern data centers where the power factor tends to be high. The kW and kVA ratings on a piece of equipment are often very close, leading some people to mistakenly interchange the two. This is very dangerous and can lead to the creation of ‘phantom’ capacity, resulting in UPS overload

UPSs with a unity power rating can be instrumental in helping organizations produce more revenue. A legacy 400 kVA UPS with a .9 power factor rating would deliver 360 kW of real power to support 900 servers. However, a newer 400 kVA UPS offering a unity power rating would power 1,000 servers with its 400 kW of real power. The benefit of gaining that 40 kW of real power from a newer UPS would enable hosting providers to support an additional 100 servers, resulting in a revenue increase of $80,000 per month, or $960,000 per year.


The industry has been buzzing about the benefits of high-efficiency UPSs for some time now, and it’s not surprising considering that the annual cost of electricity to run a modern data center equals or exceeds the capital cost of the actual IT equipment. Indeed, the financial implications of energy efficiency are significant: if just half of the recommended best practices were adopted, America’s data centers could slash their electricity consumption by as much as 40%, representing $3.8 billion in savings — according to a 2014 brief from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Newer models of UPSs boast considerably higher efficiency ratings than their legacy counterparts, and increases of as little as 3% translate to hefty revenue boosts if freed up power accommodates additional servers. Considering our working server model, a newer 400 kVA UPS operating at 97% efficiency will realize an annual power savings of 21 kW — or more than $18,000 —  compared to the same size legacy UPS, which operates at 94% efficiency. It’s important to note, modern UPSs with energy saving modes like Eaton’s Energy Saver System (ESS) have leading efficiency up to 99% even at 30% loads, which is common in data center environments and where traditional UPS efficiency significantly drops. This dramatically reduces heat loss, and actually improves reliability of the UPS electronics.

The 3% efficiency benefit doesn’t just translate to utility cost savings; it also potentially frees up power for an additional 52 servers, enabling hosting providers to bolster monthly revenue anywhere from $41,600 to $67,600. And, ESS mode operation boosts that revenue even more.

New 400 kVA UPS

Legacy 400 kVA UPS


Efficiency: 97%

Efficiency: 94%

3% benefit



Power savings of 21 kW (or $18,446 annually in power and cooling).

Frees up power for an additional 52 servers.


Every square foot worth of saved space translates to increased revenue opportunities, it’s important to understand the financial benefit of replacing a legacy UPS with a new unity factor model of the same kVA rating. The smaller footprint of the new UPS and its ancillary cabinets would free up 14.5 valuable square feet, room for two more racks. And, assuming that every six feet of space creates room for one additional rack, an organization could add anywhere from 20 to 52 servers, depending on the environment, by upgrading its UPS. Based on our working model of $800 per server, the six feet saved represents new revenue ranging from $16,000 to more than $40,000 more per month per rack.

New 400 kVA UPS Unity PF

Legacy 400 kVA UPS .9 PF


UPS footprint: 18.6 sq ft

System UPS: 45 sq ft system

UPS footprint: 21.5 sq ft

System UPS: 60.5 sq ft system

15.5 sq ft benefit



Room for 2 additional racks


For every 6 sq ft, you get one additional rack. Depending on environment, one rack will hold:

SMB: 20 servers ($16k per month)

Enterprise/Colocation: 30 to 52 servers ($24 to 40k per month)

Hyperscale: 52 servers ($40k per month)


While your existing data center UPS may still have viable mileage remaining, advancements in new UPS technology make a compelling case for upgrading. Clear and considerable revenue opportunities can be realized by deploying a new UPS, specifically in the areas of power factor, efficiency and footprint. A modern design can even help you achieve the revenue benefits of all three of these factors, further maximizing monetary gains.