Designing UPS and Cooling for Non-Traditional Data Center Space

Data Center Best Practices | Designing UPS and Cooling for Non-Traditional Data Center Space

Designing for UPS and Cooling for Non-Traditional Data CenterThe increasing pressure to use gray space for IT has increased the importance of designing UPS and cooling for non-traditional data center space. Traditional data center space, also called white space, is traditionally climate-controlled and expensive to set up, build and maintain and is not always designed with future computing needs in mind. With computing demands increasing every year, most data centers will still run out of space long before they had anticipated. In addition, a crowded data center is usually not an efficient one and cooling costs can increase sharply when too much equipment is packed in. But what can be done when your data center is out of space? Solutions to this increasingly common problem can include the use of modular UPS equipment, the utilization of more rugged UPS equipment that can function in non-climate-controlled areas (gray space) and micro data centers, that can provide cooling, back-up power and monitoring and security all in one unit, or a combination of these options.

The Challenges of Non-Traditional Data Center Space

Dedicated IT space tends to be temperature and humidity controlled and have ceilings and floors that allow for cabling and ventilation. These spaces have access restrictions for security and can be monitored directly by site personnel and/or remotely 24/7. In contrast, non-traditional IT space, or Gray Space can have wide temperature swings, or lots of dust and humidity. These spaces may be cramped, dark and out of the way making them easy to forget. Some locations may be in remote or branch offices without supervisory personnel to keep an eye on them. In some more extreme cases, facilities may need to truck in a whole stand-alone container module that houses a self-contained data center and set it up in outdoor space. Wherever this space is found, the need for cooling, security and monitoring will be just as important as it is for the White Space.

Ideal Products for Data Center Applications

Modular UPS: Installing modular UPS units allows a facility to scale their backup power supply system to meet the demand for increasing loads and redundancy as a company’s needs grow and change. Additional power modules can be added as needed for more power or to replace aging modules that reach the end of their useful life.

Rugged Equipment: The wide range of UPS systems that are designed to function in Gray Space has grown in recent years.

UPS for Harsh Environments are a growing category of UPS systems that are built to withstand the stresses of an industrial environment. With floor space in data centers and other climate-controlled areas at a premium, more UPS systems are operating in harsh environments that can include vibration, dust, and liquid splatter. These harsh conditions can affect the lifespan of regular UPS equipment leading to unexpected failures. But UPS systems for harsh environments have components, batteries and enclosures that can meet those challenges. Some industrial applications, such as warehouse space or a manufacturing floor, can expose the UPS to dirt, dust, debris, and wide temperature swings. In these rugged conditions, a failure can be even more challenging to repair, and an uninterrupted power supply even more critical, so it is important to install a UPS that is specially designed to operate in harsh environments.

Outdoor UPS systems are rugged back-up power supplies that are designed to support Access Control, Security, Public Utility, Telecommunications and other outdoor applications, most of which are in harsh environmental locations. These UPS systems are custom engineered to provide clean, uninterruptible back-up power and protect sensitive electronic equipment in harsh climates. Each component of these systems contributes to its hardiness, reliability, and functionality. With wide operating temperature ranges, optional add-on battery cabinets for longer back-up times, long life batteries, temperature compensated battery charging and a compact design, outdoor units are designed to handle extremes. These UPS systems have standard or optional enclosures, are outdoor rated, come in a range of sizes, and have many available options such as environment sensors. 

Micro Data Centers are ideal in today’s world, where IT equipment needs to be deployed just about anywhere, and computing and networking gear may be installed under a desk, in a closet, or on a manufacturing floor. Often, this means IT equipment must perform in office space or gray space environments that haven’t been optimized. A Micro Data Center is a fast, easy-to-deploy, and cost-effective solution to build and create tenable IT space in harsh, industrial, or remote locations. They combine power, cooling, physical security, and management software into pre-packaged rack solutions that allow for quick deployment and responsiveness. The enclosures can be equipped to protect equipment from dust, moisture, temperature changes, security challenges, and humidity.


The Importance of Monitoring for Non-Traditional Data Center Space

The location of non-traditional data center space means that IT staff is not usually within sight or even within the same facility as these systems. This situation calls for remote monitoring capabilities. There are a host of solutions to meet different application requirements.

NetBotz Security and Environmental Monitoring is an active monitoring solution designed to protect against physical, environmental, or human threats that can cause disruption or downtime to IT infrastructure. This scalable suite of networked appliances (the brains of the system), sensors, access controls and cameras are designed to safeguard environments ranging in size from network closets to data centers. The modular design allows for common sensors among the NetBotz appliances. Optional userdefined alerts can be sent in a variety of formats and are easily integrated into event escalation policies. For management of multiple NetBotz appliances, use InfraStruXure® Central. InfraStruXure Central Surveillance licenses enable a single view of multiple cameras, rapid search and retrieval of video, plus ‘tagging’ of important video clips.

EcoStruxure IT Monitoring and Dispatch Service is a combination of 24/7 expert monitoring by the Schneider Electric Connected Services Hub, and onsite support, including required parts, for total coverage of your data center equipment. When Schneider Electric manages your IT systems, wherever they may be located, you minimize the chance of downtime.

The Importance of Maintenance

Don’t forget about maintenance! For all of the reasons that monitoring is a requirement for these non-traditional IT spaces, maintenance is also imperative. Out of sight can be out of mind which leads many facilities to neglect their regular preventive maintenance which can lead to failure and downtime.


To meet changing demands for non-traditional data center space, planning and flexibility will need to go hand in hand when designing UPS and cooling solutions.

Power Solutions can help design the ideal UPS and cooling solution for your non-traditional data center space. Contact us for assistance, 800-876-9373 or [email protected].

See the whitepaper version of this article.