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In the life of a data centre, many things can change within a 10-year span. Owners need to monitor the health of their UPS equipment, for instance, to mitigate the risk of sudden failure.
Depending on conditions, three options exist for managing an older UPS: run to fail, upgrade, or buy new. The following steps comprise a logical approach that can help owners to make the right decision.
Step 1 – Evaluate current situation and determine future needs
Condition: Determine whether a legacy UPS is able to meet its performance requirements, and if issues exist, whether servicing or upgrading would fix the problem. If not, then replacing with a new UPS would be the right choice when there are no plans to consolidate or outsource the data centre.
Outsource strategy: When an entire data centre is ageing, owners may plan to upgrade, outsource, or build new. While cost analysis may favour upgrading or building over outsourcing during a 10-year lifespan, sensitivity to cash flow, cash crossover point, deployment timeframe, life expectancy of the data centre, and other strategic factors play important roles in deciding the fate of an older UPS.
Energy efficiency: The efficiency of a UPS system, to a large extent, determines operating cost. So it’s important to understand how efficient a UPS system is today and how it might be improved through upgrades or changed load requirements, or whether replacing it with new equipment is the answer. (To help determine UPS efficiency ratings and their impact on energy costs and a data centre’s carbon footprint, Schneider Electric offers the UPS Efficiency Comparison Calculator.)
Future load requirements: If an existing UPS system is at or near full load and future load growth is anticipated, it’s best to explore options for adding capacity. If the existing UPS capacity cannot be changed to meet the future requirements, then buying new is the only option. But if existing units are lightly loaded, then buying new or performing upgrades may not be necessary, or it may be possible to replace the UPS with a smaller unit. This would improve efficiency, reduce the number of batteries needed, and likely reduce service costs.