Modular scalable UPS systems can be paralleled and expanded.

The "dot.com" world is more than a new re-tailing model or a get-rich-quick-scheme for Initital Public Offering-happy day traders. It represents a paradigm shift in technology and in the fundamental operation business. The technology pundits postulate that businesses will change not just through online production ordering, but all the way down to the nuts and bolts of their entire IT infrastructure.

As companies review their infrastructure, they find that power technology becomes a critical, but often underestimated, piece of their infrastructure puzzle. According to The Meta Group in a 1999 report on "The 21 superscript st Century Data Center," the top issues facing IT managers are operational efficiency, 24/365 availability, integration and migration and modernization. This means that IT managers must implement the most efficient solutions possible, without compromising the business need for 24/365 availability.

This, in turn, has been driving the most aggressive wave of innovation in power technologies - specifically Uninterruptible Power Systems (UPS) - in decades. UPS vendors' traditional customers, under pressure to deliver shareholder value and innovative Internet-centric technology solutions, have demanded more reliable UPS technology with the flexibility to meet their unique and changing needs. With the possibility of a leap in UPS sales looming under this drive for IT infrastructure re-working, UPS vendors have sent their engineers back to the drawing board (or CAD system) to meet these demands.

The recent introduction of modular scalability to the UPS market has been one innovation that has given IT administrators the flexibility they need to effectively manage their current power requirements and plan for future demands. Scalable UPS systems offer two inherent benefits. The first allows the capacity of a UPS system to be significantly expanded to meet the needs of a growing business. As additional equipment is added to the infrastructure, rather than replacing an existing UPS with a larger unit that can handle the increased load, scalable UPSs can be paralleled together to meet the new power demands.

A secondary benefit of a scalable UPS is the redundant protection that it can provide for mission critical applications. Much like redundant hard drives in a network server, an N+1 redundant configuration allows one UPS (or UPS power module) to serve as a backup to any of the others in the event of a UPS system malfunction. Scalable systems that offer N+X redundancy can add as many additional back-up systems as the user deems necessary, virtually eliminating any chance of downtime due to a power outage.

Developing a UPS to meet the net economy's changing needs is only half the challenge faced by today's UPS manufacturers. The other and equally important challenge is to develop effective, useful and appropriate software programs for monitoring and managing a power system.

Today's advanced power monitoring software allows IT managers to identify recurring or potential problems and eliminate them before they affect operations. Many companies around the United States have found that a marked drop in power quality and availability has lead them to keep a watchful eye on their power source (Silicon Valley, summer 2000). This software, which often comes bundled with a UPS, can help a system administrator configure an automated reaction to power problems, identify trends, isolate the sources of those problems and identify possible solutions. Monitoring can take place over a local network or over the Internet, helping to reduce the time and personnel needed to manage a company's power needs.

The dot-com economy demands UPS innovation that offers a modular, scalable, enterprise-wide suite of products that can be managed locally and remotely. The technology at play must provide built-in flexibility, reducing the amount of time IT personnel are required to monitor the power feeding their enterprise, and ultimately ensuring 24/365 availability for their business operations.