The Modular Uninterruptible Power Supply Reinvented for Edge Computing

edge computing in a grocery store

Digital transformation is rapidly accelerating the growth of computing at the edge. Spending on global edge computing is expected to reach $176 billion in 2022[1], increasing 14.8% over 2021, and projected to hit $274 billion in 2025.[2] As organizations look to enable their digital-first journeys at edge sites, one critical element to success is uptime. IDC recently conducted a survey[3] in which respondents highlight that resilient power is mission-critical in edge computing sites. However, finding space in a rack to add power protection can become an issue, especially in small IT closets that can’t fit more rack enclosures. One way to solve this problem is to reduce the size of the equipment in a rack, and that’s exactly what is happening with a new modular uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

This edge computing friendly UPS device packs a lot more power into a smaller footprint, requiring half the rack space of older-generation models. And because it’s modular, the UPS offers a level of scalability and redundancy that surpasses anything available, making it ideally suited to organizations with fast-expanding edge computing and distributed networks.

More power in a smaller footprint

The smaller footprint of these models is largely attributable to the use of next-generation semiconductor technology and lithium-ion batteries. Wide bandgap devices enable a significant increase in power density, improved efficiency, and considerable reduction in size and weight.

Lithium-ion-powered UPSs are also smaller and lighter, making them easier to deploy and fit into tight spaces. Thanks to higher density, the modular units can deliver 2.5x more power – up to 20kW in half the space. This means they can support more IT equipment, which saves the added expense of buying new units as infrastructure is added.

Modular UPS benefits

There is much to like in modular UPSs, including what makes them different from regular units – modularity, scalability, and redundancy. Modules make it possible to expand the unit’s capacity without adding another UPS. As such, modular UPSs deliver agility and cost savings, while helping companies achieve their sustainability goals.

Scale as you grow

Let’s say an IT team deploys a 5kW unit and later needs to add a business application with more hardware requiring an increase in power protection. Instead of buying a second UPS or replacing the still new 5kW UPS with a more expensive 10kW unit, a modular unit lets them insert another power and battery module to meet the increased demand. Sliding a module into a slot in the unit is straightforward, so organizations can do it themselves without paying a technician to perform the installation.

Reinforced power protection

Modularity also enables redundancy and best-in-class power protection. If you add an extra battery or power module to the UPS, it can serve as a backup. If a battery or power module fails, the redundant module will take over to avoid dropping the load, which can prevent downtime and improve resiliency.

Redundancy is becoming more and more critical for companies with high availability requirements. For example, consider a retail chain that experiences an outage. If the point of sale system (POS) shuts down, the result is lost sales. It can also mean losing customers because when a customer leaves and goes to a competitor, they may never return. With redundancy built into the UPS, downtime, decreased revenue, and lost customers can be avoided.

Visibility and peace of mind

Another benefit involves remote capabilities. These UPSs have intelligent capabilities that enable UPS remote monitoring and management anywhere, anytime, optimizing UPS performance. In addition, it’s possible to add a second network card if needed.

The UPS at the edge reinvented

As organizations continue to scale their edge computing sites, they need to choose technology that will easily grow with them and help improve operations. At Schneider Electric, we strive to adapt to these evolving market needs. As a result, we have introduced our newest version of the modular, lithium-ion-powered, single-phase UPS that is simple to install and takes less than half the space of previous models.

Delivering up to 20kW, the APC Smart-UPS Modular Ultra, which is 50% smaller and 60% lighter than legacy UPSs, helps businesses solve the space, scalability, and redundancy problems that often arise as their IT infrastructure grows. It is the first modular UPS with lithium-ion in the industry and with its higher density, can deliver 2.5x more power. The APC Smart-UPS Modular Ultra is also the most sustainable modular UPS of its kind in the industry and will be Green Premium Certified. Interested in seeing if this UPS is a fit for your growing business? If so, visit our Smart-UPS Modular Ultra site to learn more about the technology and its applications.

[1] IDC, New IDC Spending Guide Forecasts Double-Digit Growth for Investments in Edge Computing, Press Release, January 13, 2022.

[2] Ibid

[3]IDC White Paper, Sponsored by Schneider Electric, Succeeding at Connected Operations with Edge Computing, IDC #US48982222, April 2022.

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