Uninterruptible power supplies or UPS systems are designed to provide continuous and uninterrupted power to organizations and homes, during a power cut or outage. Consequently, these electrical storage units are widely used in a variety of businesses and organizations, encompassing various industries. A continuous and unbroken supply of clean power is essential for the smooth and proper functioning of any business. This is because businesses can suffer severe losses due to extensive downtime and loss of important data as a result of power failure. Thus, most business organizations need to invest in high-quality and reliable UPS systems in order to function optimally and maximize their profits.
Centralized and Distributed UPS Systems
From a purely technical point of view, centralized and distributed UPS systems serve the same essential purpose – which is to facilitate the ceaseless supply of power to connected devices in an organization, particularly during surges, fluctuations, and power outages. However, this same purpose is fulfilled by centralized and distributed UPS systems in two different ways.
Depending upon the particular needs and requirements of an organization, both the centralized and distributed varieties of UPS have their individual benefits. Therefore, neither type of UPS system is essentially better than the other, and the choice will depend entirely on the needs of the consumer.
Different types of companies need different types of power solutions, depending on their function, size, visibility, goals, etc. The two types of ups systems – centralized and distributed – provide companies with the required flexibility to scale their power needs in accordance with their present needs and future growth plans.
Distributed UPS Systems
A distributed UPS system consists of uninterrupted power supplies that are either adjacent to the server rack or mounted directly on it. As a result, every server is connected to the UPS, with little to no space remaining between the hardware and their respective servers. In essence, distributed UPS is like a hallway that has torches lighting the area every fifteen feet apart.
Centralized UPS, on the other hand, is much more akin to a giant strobe light that singlehandedly lights up everything within a hundred-foot radius. Both of these mechanisms have their advantages. For example, if one unit of a distributed UPS system stopped working, it would only affect the server attached to it. On the other hand, if a centralized UPS system malfunctioned, it would affect the power supply in the entirety of the building.
Centralized UPS Systems
A centralized UPS system, as the name suggests, comprises of a single large uninterruptible power supply device, which is generally placed along the perimeter of the server room or at the end of a row of servers. It may also be kept independently in a nearby room or other location.
A centralized UPS system can be likened to a gigantic power protection net into which is encompassed the entire network of an organization or business. It is the strobe light that provides light to the entire building, metaphorically speaking. However, if this light were to ever go out for any reason, it would leave the whole area in darkness. In the same way, if the centralized UPS stopped working, it would affect the power supply of the whole building.
Advantages of a Distributed UPS System
Reliability: In a distributed UPS system, there is great proximity between every server and its associated UPS device. This lessens the chances of power issues caused by distance, such as noise interference, loose connections, or grounding. Additionally, a distributed UPS system provides an array of self-contained auxiliary power that is evenly spread all along the organization’s electrical network. This reduces the chances of mass power disruption by a significant margin.
Cost Control: For small to medium sized businesses, distributed UPS systems can be far more cost-effective than centralized ones. This is because a distributed UPS unit is only meant to support a single server rack within a larger network. Therefore, the cost of purchasing one such unit is far lower than that of buying a giant single UPS for the entire building. The organization can then add additional UPS units as and when they are required.
Advantages of a Centralized UPS System
Stability: Typically, centralized UPS systems are better at eliminating most types of disruptions such as spikes and surges than distributed systems. Centralized UPS’s usually operate on double-conversion architecture online, which in turn provide them with greater stability.
Economies of Scale: Centralized UPS systems are preferred by large organizations because they offer better economies of scale, and increasing capacity under this system is just a one-step process that requires little investment of time or money.
Due to the above-mentioned reasons, you must think carefully before deciding on the type of UPS system you want to install in your organization. Both centralized UPS and distributed UPS systems have their advantages and the ideal system for you will depend on your individual needs and preferences. So do your due diligence and the required research before coming to a decision on this matter.