What Is a True Modular UPS?

The term modular itself can mean different things to different people, hence it is crucial to analyze the nature of what is being described as a ‘modular system’ particularly when buying a UPS, to ensure the required power of the data center is protected at all times. When choosing a modular UPS system, the up-front expense necessarily comes into question and this can lead organizations sometimes to buy a lesser product at a minor cost. However, it is vital to check the small print to ensure you have chosen a modular system that really will do the job intended- protect the critical power of your data center with the highest level of availability. Interestingly, with some of the higher quality UPS systems, cost savings are often realized over the long-term through enhanced efficiency, resulting in lower running costs and a lower overall total cost of ownership (TCO) so doing a full cost analysis is usually worth calculating! 

So, as their main goal, how can data centers select a UPS to maximize availability? There must be no possible single points of failure. Understanding the configuration and the definition of a modular system thoroughly, before the deal is done, is critical. 

At the most basic level, a single standalone UPS unit that protects a crucial load is identified as an N system configuration. However, a standalone UPS lacks any resilience in the case that the unit develops a defect or is offline for preventative maintenance. Paralleling a second standalone UPS unit of the same rating, gives resilience and is known as an N+1 configuration. It would be possible to parallel several standalone units together of an individual smaller rating to provide the same viewpoint, for instance, if we took this to the maximum we could have 101 x 1KVA UPS units in parallel which would still offer a 100KVA N+1 configuration. Certainly, this wouldn’t be practical, but you get the picture. By using this concept, it could be described – at the simplest level – as a modular UPS system. Nevertheless, there does need to be the associated electrical infrastructure –switchgear, etc. – to be able to add more standalone units.

The concept of modular UPS – What makes it so unique?

Modern-day modular parallel UPS solutions allow organizations to easily, and cost-effectively, increase their UPS power, develop availability and experience the long‐term benefits of scalable UPS solutions that can grow at sensible incremental levels as the organization grows. The result is improved efficiency, lower cost of ownership, and greater customer service through high availability. 

Organizations traditionally used large, centralized power systems to give battery backup to their infrastructure, but this approach was often inefficient if admins sized the backups to support future capacity. The development of modular uninterruptible power supply setups makes it simpler for admins to size backup power infrastructure, improve overall load efficiency and prolong hardware lifespan.

Modular UPS bring flexibility to backup power

The main advantages of a modular UPS system are its ability to increase capacity as required and decreased maintenance expense. The modules are hot-swappable, and admins can replace or repair hardware through a vendor. Modular system designs can take more modules than the required rated capacity, which makes them essentially redundant at a much lower cost than a large backup power system. Modular UPS systems also bring power infrastructure capability. A UPS system runs at the highest power when near maximum rated capacity; efficiency drops when the load level decreases. These efficiency losses may not seem great on the surface, but they add up over time. 

Another definition of modular is a standalone UPS produced and manufactured in a modular format. The main parts of the rectifier, inverter and static switch are modular. If there is a problem with saying the rectifier, for example, it can be exchanged effortlessly. The hurdle with this configuration is that if one component does fail the whole UPS functionality goes down with it. This is where several individual UPS modules are included within a frame. All the individual modules are UPSs in their own right, all containing a rectifier, inverter, and static switch, and all working online in parallel with each other. For example, five 60kW UPS modules may typically be included within a single frame offering a resilient configuration of 240KWs N+1. 

Some other modular systems include the rectifier and inverter within their modules, but the static switch is centralized and separate. This occurs in a potential single point of failure. It may just take a few moments to replace a separate static switch, but, depending on location, getting to the site to replace it may take a maintenance engineer several hours. Throughout that moment the system cannot transfer to static bypass. With a true modular UPS system, where the static switch is incorporated in each module, the rest of the modules in the UPS frame remain to protect the load until it can be replaced. This increases the level of availability dramatically. 

The Right Power Technology in Malaysia will assist you to classify the models of modular UPS systems that make the most sense for your business enterprise. Right Power Technology, founded in 2000, as a pioneer in advanced UPS systems and solutions, Right Power Technology now has the enviable distinction of being a significant player in the industry, education, and commercial fields. Visit our official website to see the best ups suited to your requirements.