Uptime is paramount for any company that operates a data center, be it a large centralized one, an edge facility at a branch office, or anything in between. With so many users increasingly relying on a mix of in-house and cloud-based applications and resources, it’s also paramount that the Internet connection is always available.
For years automatic transfer switches (ATS) have been part of the solution in ensuring availability for data center resources. They provide dual power input to networking and computing equipment that have only a single power supply, which represents a single point of failure. The ATS enables the equipment to connect to two power sources, perhaps two UPSs or primary power and a UPS. Should one path fail, the other immediately kicks in.
The term “immediately” is somewhat relative as ATSs normally transfer to an alternate power source in 10ms to 20ms, with 16ms roughly being the typical amount of time. Most people would consider 16ms to be “immediate,” given a millisecond is 1/1000th of a second. To put that in context, the proverbial blink of an eye takes between 100ms and 400ms, depending on whose research you believe.
Since power supplies only maintain about 20ms of capacitance, this means that they can maintain power to the device for up to 20ms if an ATS has to transfer power to an alternate source. That, of course, is awfully close to 16ms, raising the possibility that the device will power off before the ATS can switch to an alternate power source. This is a challenge we’ve been seeing more and more in the field as it appears newer power supplies often have less capacitance than previous generations.
That’s why the latest generation of APC by Schneider Electric rack-mount ATSs reduce that transfer time to less than 10ms, which makes them more reliable, dramatically decreases the possibility of dropping the load, and increases uptime for the attached devices, solving the issue for even the stingiest of power supplies.
If you’re selling into industries that have compliance and regulatory requirements to meet – such as financial and healthcare, for example – those few milliseconds can be a big deal. It’s also big for those edge data centers where protecting the network switches that supply an Internet connection is paramount.
Reduced transfer time is just one of the improvements in the new AP44XX Series Rack ATSs. The devices are also manageable, with support for web connections, SNMP and Telnet. In keeping with our other manageable components, such as rack PDUs and UPSs, the ATSs now support TLS 1.2 encryption, the latest version of the TLS protocol. Here again, that will be a big deal for financial companies and others that are particularly concerned about cybersecurity (which ought to be every company).
To improve safety, the new ATSs also offer over-current protection. The units have a fuse with a 10K amp rating, meaning it protects against surges in currents of 10K amps or more. At that point, safety is more important than the operation of any piece of IT equipment.
The new ATSs feature several other improvements, including an enhanced web interface and new command line interface, field-replaceable network management card, and new LEDs with heartbeat functionality that make it easy to see at a glance if the unit is functioning properly. They also come in a variety of models with different input and output connections to distribute 120V, 208V, or 230V power to multiple outlets.
At their core the new rack ATSs are another piece of the puzzle that will help customers improve uptime and security, which will be welcome news for any who face regulatory and compliance scrutiny.
APC by Schneider Electric’s new Rack ATS are now available. Please read this flyer which details the new features and provides comparison of the legacy and replacement SKUs and visit the APC Rack ATS homepage to learn more.