What educational establishments should look for in their power protection solution

It’s reasonably obvious that universities, colleges and other academic institutions depend on a resilient, efficient IT infrastructure – but the extent to which this dependence has grown can be surprising.

Servers, storage and networking are necessary to support students and staff both on and off campus, not only for data processing and applications, but also for emails and collaboration, telephone and communications, and identity and access management.

The university networks need to provide not only fast connections between systems, but sometimes also external links to Janet (the high speed network for UK education). Additionally, each department may be providing wireless services for users with tablets or laptops, or for access to Eduroam, the international research and education roaming access service.

Many sites also host research facilities; these may involve costly, long-term experiments whose data could be rendered erroneous or destroyed if power is compromised or lost.

Such establishments often do not have a local standby generator available, so UPSs with large battery autonomies are necessary to protect the critical loads from power anomalies, and provide time to shut down safely if the power fails entirely. Even if generators are present, UPSs are necessary to support the critical loads until the generators can reach operating speed and frequency synchronisation.

These scenarios mean that any UPS vendor must have a full range of products and services to provide integrated, site-specific solutions. These include:

Data centre UPS systems: UPS systems with capacities of hundreds of kilowatts or even megawatts are needed to support the scale of data centres now found in academic estates. These must be extremely reliable, with near zero downtime, while also offering great energy efficiency and low cost of ownership. Additionally, rapid scalability is important, so that UPSs can be efficiently sized to current loads, and easily expanded to accommodate future growth.

Kohler Uninterruptible Power’s (KUP’s) PowerWAVE 9250DPA fits these requirements. Scalable from 50kW to 1.5MW, it is based on transformerless modular topology. It delivers up to 97.4 percent energy efficiency while operating in true online mode, for loads ranging from 25 percent to 75 percent of nominal load capacity. High efficiency can even be maintained for loads below 25 percent, by using the UPS’s Xtra VFI smart module switching technology, which automatically adjusts the number of online modules according to changing load requirements.

The PowerWAVE 9250DPA’s modular design allows redundancy to be built in easily. Additionally, the modules can be hot-swapped, so repair times are minimised. With these two factors,  configurations with very high availability levels can be achieved.

Local or departmental UPSs: A department may typically need a wireless infrastructure sufficient to support a roomful of students with mobile devices. If so, this infrastructure, with its switches and routers, doesn’t necessarily impose a heavy load, but it needs UPS protection from power disturbances and outages.

Single-phase UPSs like KUP’s MINIPowerPLUS are designed for such applications. It can be used where space is limited, and equipment must deliver value for money. Based on a scalable design with easily-replaceable modules, it offers reliable and resilient protection for 5kW and 10kW systems. The MINIPowerPLUS is available in both rack-mounting and tower versions.

Generators: Most academic facilities will need a generator to take over from some if not all of their on-site UPSs to assure power continuity during longer-term blackouts.

KUP offers generators both for standalone use, and for efficient and reliable operation with UPSs. With high reliability matched by low cost and strong durability, models with capacities from single-phase 5kVA to three-phase 830kVA are available.

Through-life support:  Obtaining the right balance of UPSs and generators to match the load profile across an academic estate, together with associated switchgear and power infrastructure, needs a UPS vendor with in-depth knowledge and extensive experience as well as a comprehensive choice of products. This level of expertise must be continued throughout the life of the protected power installation, to meet the challenges of providing timely maintenance and adapting to evolving site requirements.

With 100 years of power protection experience and innovation, KUP is well resourced, and well-positioned to provide the necessary depth of advice and support. It provides in-office expertise, remote support facilities, and an extensive network of field service engineers offering fast 24/7 availability.

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