Gartner Research

The Enterprise Needs More Power, Scotty!

Published: 27 January 2009

ID: G00203626

Analyst(s): Nik Simpson


Demand for efficient, scalable, and reliable power in data centers is growing, leaving data center engineers in the same position as Scotty on Star Trek's USS Enterprise, whose plaintive "I canna do it, Captain" has entered the pop-culture vernacular. Except this time, it's true; data centers are running out of power. Thus, design and implementation of the data center power delivery chain is critical. In this overview, Burton Group Compute Analyst Nik Simpson examines the factors leading to growth in power demands and the technologies used in the power delivery chain.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • Utility Power Delivery
  • Providing Uninterruptible Power
    • Centralized vs. Distributed UPS Designs
    • Improving UPS Efficiency and Reliability
  • Power Distribution Circuits
    • 240/415V AC Distribution
    • Two-Stage Distribution
    • DC Distribution
  • Monitoring and Controlling Power in the Data Center
    • Inadequate Forecasting of Power Consumption
    • The Inability to Truly Measure the Efficiency of Power Delivery
    • Load Balancing on the Data Center Distribution Grid
    • Load Balancing on the Rack PDUs
    • Monitoring of the Power Distribution Grid
  • Recommendations
    • Alternatives to Batteries in UPS Systems
    • UPS Monitoring and Maintenance
    • Powering Dense Compute Environments
    • Switching to 240/415V Distribution
    • Two-Stage Distribution
    • AC vs. DC Distribution
    • Rack PDUs
    • Power Monitoring
    • Rack Configuration Management

The Details

  • Understanding Power Terminology
  • Getting Power from the Power Company
  • Basic Power Architectures
    • Centralized UPS
    • Distributed UPS
    • Redundant Power Distribution
  • Uninterruptible Power Supply
    • Power Conditioning
    • Power Protection
    • Line-Interactive UPS
    • Double-Conversion UPS
    • Battery-Based Energy Storage
    • Kinetic Energy Storage
    • Hybrid Energy Storage
    • Modular UPS
    • Discrete-Component UPS
    • Output Current and Voltage
  • Backup Generators
  • Data Center Power Grid
    • Multi-Phase Power and Distribution Voltages
    • Power Transformers
    • Two-Stage Power Distribution
    • Power Distribution Units
    • AC vs. DC Power Distribution
  • Power Supply Technology
    • Analog-Switched Power Supply Characteristics
    • High-Efficiency Digitally Controlled AC Power Supplies
    • Redundant Power Supplies
    • DC Power Supplies



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