Why Edge Computing Requires a New Generation of Uninterruptible Power Supplies

edge computing example in retail store

As businesses invest in distributed IT environments to support digitization and an increase in employees working from home, they face the challenge of managing and maintaining multiple unstaffed sites. Space is usually tight in distributed and edge computing environments, and as IT needs grow, little room is left for anything else ― including the power infrastructure.

Thankfully, there is a solution as uninterruptible power supply (UPS) technology has evolved to meet the specific power infrastructure needs of edge computing sites. This new generation of UPSs delivers more power in more compact packages, allowing businesses to make the best use of their available spaces, be it a small server room in an office building, a tucked-away corner on a factory floor, or a closet off the principal’s office in a school.

Connected, longer-lasting UPS units

All sites that house IT infrastructure, especially those that are part of edge computing networks to support the Internet of Things (IoT), need to ensure availability and resilience. Smaller, lighter UPS models that deliver substantially higher power density are ideally suited to these environments.

These UPSs come in compact, flexible form factors that reduce the unit size and weight. In addition to fitting on racks and towers, new models can be mounted on a wall, the ceiling, and even under a desk. This level of flexibility lets administrators get creative when deploying power infrastructure so they can free up more space.

The units deliver up to three times the lifespan of legacy technology thanks to the use of lithium-ion batteries that typically last eight to ten years. This means batteries usually don’t have to be replaced, making the UPSs practically maintenance-free. Under normal conditions, an administrator never has to visit a site except for unit replacement. This can translate to a 50% savings in the total cost of ownership, especially in highly distributed environments. Maintenance costs can add up for companies with numerous branch offices or retail locations. Additionally, they can deliver cloud-based connectivity, making it easy to remotely monitor and manage IT infrastructure at distributed sites ― especially in hard-to-get-to places.

Considerations in selecting a UPS for edge computing sites

Now that the benefits of new UPS technology are clear, let’s review some key considerations when choosing a UPS suited for distributed IT and edge computing sites.

Connectivity

Look for remote monitoring options when selecting a UPS. Remote capabilities provide administrators with visibility into the power infrastructure 24/7 from anywhere. An ongoing stream of data captured from the units keeps administrators up to date on health and performance so that if any issues come up, they can react quickly to address them. This is especially important in edge computing environments, which often include hard-to-get-to remote locations.

Flexible installation options

Distributed environments may have challenging space restrictions and it is vital to choose a UPS that has flexible installation options. Even better, look for a UPS that can be wall or ceiling-mounted. For example, in a retail environment, the units can easily be located behind a retail counter where it connects to point of sale (POS) systems.

Graceful shutdown

Choose a UPS that has a built-in ability to gracefully shut down the applications that it supports beyond the UPS backup duration. That way associated servers and machines are powered down properly, protecting equipment and data.

Warranty

The industry standard Lithium-ion UPS warranty is 5 years, but not all warranties are created equal. Look for straightforward coverage from a trusted vendor that addresses both a UPS and/or battery replacement

Access UPS selection resources

UPS technology fills a critical need by protecting data during outages and enabling a graceful shutdown when needed. Innovative solutions like Schneider Electric’s new APC Smart-UPS Ultra 3kW single-phase UPSs help meet many of the challenges associated with distributed environments and edge deployments. Learn more about the UPS that is the best fit for your organization by downloading the white paper, The Different Types of UPS Systems.

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