The modular concept enables to flexibly adapt the UPS power to power needs. The individual modules are hot-swappable, and connected modules are automatically detected. The system can be upgraded within just a few minutes while the system is running. Automated load distribution within all system modules enables a modular n+x redundancy that can also be used for load increase.
Modular UPS architectures offer the major advantage of much smaller design dimensions – enabling performance to be adjusted to the actual load with greater precision. Additional capacity modules are only added when the load increases, ensuring that the system always operates at optimal efficiency.
Depending on the size of the cabinet, the system capacity can be expanded, for example, up to ten times the original installed capacity. If larger system capacity is still needed to satisfy increased demand, further systems can be added – making this architecture the most flexible solution for applications ranging from small server rooms to large-scale data centers.
Modular UPS systems also boast easier maintenance, as only one module is removed at a time for maintenance and then reinstalled once complete; a process that is significantly simpler than with traditional UPS architectures, that require the entire UPS to be disconnected from consumers. The advantage of this approach is that all consumers continue to be protected by the UPS during maintenance work, and the time spent connected to the mains network is reduced to a minimum, to perform a short system functionality test.
In high-availability data centers certified in line with EN 50600-2-2 for "high" overall availability (availability class 3), which are required to guarantee availability of 99.995%, other aspects of reliability must be taken into consideration: UPS systems themselves are not immune to technical failures, and must be redundant in design. In classic UPS architecture, two redundant systems must be installed so that the second system can replace the first in the event of a failure. As a result, each of the systems can be operated at a maximum of only 50% load. For EN 50600-2-2 "very high" classifications (availability class 4), the system is no longer operated at 50% load, but instead at a lower rate, depending on the module size. For this reason, special attention should be paid to suitable module sizes and high partial load efficiency when selecting components for the system.
In modular architectures, it is not necessary to build redundancy into the entire UPS – it is sufficient for one or two modules to be designated as redundant to compensate for the failure of another module. In the event of a failure, the system automatically switches to a functional module and immediately reports the failure to a technician, who can then replace the module while the system is operational. In very advanced systems, modules can even respond autonomously to the failure of another module, enabling the system to independently eliminate sources of faults within the system cabinet.
A key element of any maintenance concept is continuous monitoring of the UPS. Continuous monitoring allows the maintenance team to act quickly and restore system reliability if individual modules fail. In the best-case scenario, the user is able to rapidly get the system back up and running by replacing the faulty module, or with telephone support from the manufacturer – avoiding the additional costs that are associated with customer service interventions.
Monitoring becomes particularly complex when an IT department manages multiple locations. If the operator needs to maintain a clear overview of systems made by different manufacturers, the challenge is even greater. In such cases, cloud solutions, such as MoniUPS from AEG Power Solutions, are invaluable. As the software is hosted in the cloud, there are no installation or maintenance costs. A single interface for all shared UPS systems streamlines configuration significantly and reduces the amount of employee training required.