It’s Time for a Smaller, More Powerful UPS for Edge Computing Sites

edge computing in retail

As the need for compute, storage, and analytics grows, data center rack space gets tighter and tighter, leaving little or no room for an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). The problem is that the more capacity you pack into a rack enclosure, the more powerful the UPS you’ll need. The challenge is especially acute at edge computing sites, where IT is often deployed in compact spaces such as closets, break rooms, or even under someone’s desk.

Too often, IT planners overlook UPS footprint and weight requirements. Then, when it comes time to deploy a UPS unit, they realize they haven’t allocated enough space, especially as capacity requirements approach 5kVA and a bigger UPS is needed. This can create some headaches for administrators because the UPS is critical for protecting edge computing infrastructure.

Thankfully, there is a solution. New technologies – wide-bandgap semiconductors and lithium-ion batteries – make it possible to deliver much higher density in smaller packages. In addition, wide-bandgap chips enable more power-dense devices that operate at much higher temperatures than traditional semiconductors. This technology contributes to a reduction in device size and weight. Lithium-ion batteries, meanwhile, take up as much as 80% less space than lead-acid batteries because they offer much higher density.

Increased need for high-performance computing

The need for higher capacity is increasing as the average density per rack has roughly tripled from 2011 to 2020. Drivers include high-performance computing and other technology advances such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and augmented reality (AR).

These technological advances require massive amounts of processing power as computers sift through piles and piles of unstructured data collected from various sources, including IoT (internet of things) devices and cloud-based systems. Where real-time processing and analytics are necessary, the data is processed at the network edge, bringing capacity close to data sources and users to avoid latency.

Real-time processing requirements are growing in a variety of scenarios. Examples include flow meters on pipelines that measure the volumetric flow rate of fluids and sensors that track the health and performance of manufacturing equipment.

In addition, facial recognition technology in retail stores linked to LED smart shelves can send customized offers to shoppers’ smartphones through a mobile app. Another application of this technology is facial recognition at stadiums. It enables season ticket holders and VIPs to enter fast lanes, while crowd analytics software paired with wireless technology helps alleviate crowd congestion.

New UPS models for edge computing

New UPS models with these technologies are ideal for edge computing deployments. Thanks to wide-bandgap chips and lithium-ion batteries, the units are 30% smaller, 50% lighter, and deliver one and a half times more power than previous models. In addition, a rotating LCD display lets you install the units vertically or horizontally, keeping the digits and letters on the display right-side-up, giving you more choices for UPS placement.

With these characteristics, this type of UPS model makes it much easier to install power management solutions in edge computing environments where space keeps getting tighter because of higher compute requirements. As such, companies with expanding edge environments don’t have to compromise on UPS capacity, knowing they have the protection they need as capacity requirements grow. To learn more about how recent technological innovations are improving UPS options, access the new e-guide titled, “Three technologies to address UPS challenges at the edge.”