In fact, only 18 percent of respondents in the small data center market consider themselves to fall in the tier one category, requiring minimum basic protection against power transients. Clearly, there is strong awareness concerning uptime issues in data centers.
The data center market is projected as a lucrative and stable vertical industry for UPS systems and precision air cooling. Data centers represented approximately 50 percent of total sales for UPS systems in 2006
and expect to reach 76 percent by 2013. Growth peeked in 2006 and expects to continue at the same rate in 2007.
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Future demand will primarily be influenced by small data centers -- below 20 racks, as well as retrofit of existing data centers for high-density requirements. "In terms of cooling, the key emphasis is to bring cooling as close to the load as possible," states Frost & Sullivan Senior Consultant Farah Saeed. This in return is influencing and changing tonnage requirements. Historically, 45 tons appeared to be the norm for large data centers. According to the end-user survey, the majority of end users, which was 21 percent, required between 11 and 30 tons, indicating a decrease in tonnage requirements. Concerns regarding shrinking margins combined with customer perception encourage vendors to introduce holistic solutions.
Margins per unit continue to decrease due to pressure from increased raw material costs, such as lead and copper, as well as manufacturing from Asia. This in return is driving UPS technology towards a commodity product.
There is better recognition of IT brands versus power brands among decision makers in the data center. Brands such as IBM, Dell and Hewlett Packard hold top positions in terms of mind share, and in some instances exceed traditional power brands.
To overcome this challenge, organizations must adopt traits of a system integrator versus a manufacturer. This consists of bundling complete solutions such as site audits, post service and maintenance, power distribution, transfer switches and air cooling along with the UPS unit.
This allows for higher margins and better customer interaction. Companies must also standout in terms of offering solutions that are compatible with existing and future server technologies by offering rack mountable, redundant, scalable and modular solutions. Many leading UPS manufacturers have either formed partnerships or alliances with major IT providers in order to design timely power solutions.
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