In light of the current energy climate, which has seen less power outages and resultant load shedding, users are undoubtedly becoming more selective when it comes to UPS purchases, writes Robert Brand, APC product specialist at Drive Control Corporation.

Indeed, more time can now be spent on researching power requirement before deciding on the right UPS for the right environment.  Business application is increasingly driving decision-making, and rightly so.
The evolution of power solutions has also led to a more sophisticated marketplace.  Organisations can now opt for an UPS that not only provides the necessary backup but is also intelligent.  And driving this sophistication is managed power software which adds that extra level of intelligence to the way you manage and utilise your usage.
What's even more significant is managing power on a user-to-user basis is relatively simple; the software is loaded onto a PC and the UPS' operations can then be managed in an effective and controlled manner.  Management software, for example, shuts down the equipment safely once an outage occurs, restarting when the power is back.
The above leads to improved device management and ultimately represents the convergence of power with intelligent management.
Adding another level of sophistication; intelligent power management allows for almost real-time management of devices and power usage. Companies can remotely control their equipment via the Internet. This is particularly valuable to those organisations that have offices across the country – with management software on a server running in Cape Town can, for example, be managed and switched off remotely from the head office in Johannesburg.
Power is an invaluable part of the IT infrastructure chain; without it technology simply won't function.  Taking it one step further is the optimal management of power in order to predictably support IT and organisational processes.
The reality is people are supported by processes and processes are supported by IT which is in turn supported by power.  It is an important chain that starts with UPS' and data centre power management which in turn supports IT, processes and people.
In addition to UPS' forming part of the organisational chain it also supports companies overall efforts to realise greener data centres.  The data centre is becoming a living, manageable organism of which UPS' form a critical part.
This brings us back to the convergence of intelligence with power management – in the modern data centre, software tells you how to design your infrastructure in the most optimal and environmentally-friendly manner. Indeed, it is intelligent design that keeps cooling and power in mind.
From an UPS integrator perspective, utilising the intelligence that come with the equipment can be an important competitive differentiator.  There are massive business opportunities particularly with the onset of blade server environments which are inherently power hungry and as a result require optimal management and provisioning. Designing data centres around cooling and power is therefore an important skill.