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Protecting critical information and resources for the healthcare, financial, educational and retail industries – among others – requires a continuous power supply to the systems that handle complex data processes. If your business simply cannot be without access to your network resources, you need to ensure the data river is continually running

Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems offer superior protection for your data center’s critical equipment. When implementing a new or updated architecture to protect your mission-critical data, the type of battery powering your backup resources shouldn’t be overlooked

Deploying a UPS system with lithium-ion batteries ensures your data center is protected for 2-3 times longer than those with valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries, reducing maintenance and labor costs.

This article will examine how lithium-ion batteries ensure network and data availability while remaining connected, regardless of the external conditions impacting your on-site resources.

The lithium-ion option

Valve-regulated lead-acid (VLRA) batteries have traditionally been the popular choice for data center operators. With a relatively low purchase price, reasonable reliability, and moderate maintenance costs, VRLA batteries have been the predominant choice to service UPS applications for decades.

However, using lead acid battery power for prolonged periods increases impedance, reducing the quality of power distribution capacity in batteries supporting an organization’s critical data architecture. In the event of over-charging, impedance can skyrocket and battery useful life can vary, meaning operators may need to continually monitor batteries for failing cells, or consider investing in a fixed battery monitoring system.

Lithium-ion batteries boast a greater power density than their VRLA counterparts, can recharge at a faster rate and can endure up to 10x the discharge cycles. Generally speaking, li-ion batteries are capable of completing two or three times the charge/discharge cycles of their lead-acid counterparts, depending on the battery’s chemical composition.

Lithium-ion vs valve-regulated lead-acid: What’s inside

One of the key differences between lead-acid and lithium-ion batteries is the mix of chemicals that compose the electrodes and the electrolyte within the battery itself.

As opposed to the VRLA alternative, lithium-ion batteries use a metal oxide for the cathode, and a carbon-based material for the anode. The electrolyte is a lithium salt dissolved in an organic solvent. (By contrast, a lead-acid battery uses lead dioxide for the cathode, a lead anode, and sulfuric acid as the electrolyte.) There are also different lithium-ion chemistries such as Lithium Manganese Oxide (LiMn2O4), Lithium Cobalt Oxide (LiCoO2) and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LiFePO4), of which the latter is the safest chemistry, and what all Vertiv batteries contain.

Lithium-ion vs valve-regulated lead-acid: How to determine your ideal UPS battery backup

As you determine the ideal battery backup for critical data resources, there are a number of factors to consider. From purchase cost to discharge rate, here are the important variables at play when selecting your battery backup:

Total cost of ownership (TCO): While VRLA batteries may have lower upfront cost, the longer useful life and reduced maintenance needs of Li-ion offer up to 50% savings in TCO for the lifetime of the system.

Lithium-Ion batteries are smaller and lighter than VRLA batteries. Because of space restrictions, modular UPS solutions are increasingly common, and edge processing in restricted or unusual spaces often requires custom deployments in order to accommodate all elements of a UPS installation. Lithium-Ion batteries are lighter and easier to install and offer more runtime in the same amount of space when compared to VRLA alternatives.

Smaller and lighter, lithium-ion batteries for UPS systems save space, address limited floor weight thresholds and improve the flexibility of where your on-premises systems are housed

Battery life: Lithium-ion batteries last 8 to 10 years or more, offering 2-3x the battery life of VRLA units. Lead-acid batteries are difficult to monitor in terms of capacity and performance, due to their sealed and liquid-absorbing structures. VRLA batteries have relatively high requirements for ambient temperature, with an ideal operating environment of 20-25℃. Lithium-ion UPS can withstand a higher temperature (typically up to 50°C) without degradation.

Runtime: Li-ion UPS batteries are capable of fully recharging in under four hours, and offer consistently longer runtimes as opposed to VRLA options.

6 benefits of lithium-ion UPS battery backup

Your computing requirements are changing almost every day. With the rise of cloud and edge computing, your organization must remain at the forefront of technologies that connect consumers to your products and services. Here are the top 6 advantages of adopting lithium-ion batteries for your UPS solution:

  1. Maintenance-free batteries. Lithium-Ion batteries last 8-10 years, often enabling them to cover the entire lifecycle of your UPS.
  2. Maximize your IT budgets for edge sites. Lithium-Ion batteries will be replaced far less than VRLA batteries, stabilizing your TCO over your UPS’ lifetime.
  3. Enable remote management. You can’t manage what you can’t see – Vertiv offers a single pane of glass management technology, allowing your UPS solution to be monitored remotely.
  4. Infuse exceptional performance in diverse environments. The versatility of lithium-ion batteries means your UPS can operate at higher temperatures, allowing you to deploy them in areas without dedicated cooling.
  5. Accommodate small spaces. Place your lithium-ion battery in sites as small as a network closet or on a wall-mounted rack.
  6. Support sustainability initiatives. When it’s time to finally replace a lithium-ion battery, there’s no lead to dispose of, and less waste. That makes lithium-ion the sustainable choice for UPS batteries.

Vertiv offers lithium-ion powered UPS solutions

By deploying a lithium-ion battery-powered UPS solution from Vertiv, you’re guaranteeing the highest level of power conditioning and protection for your mission-critical IT systems. In addition, Vertiv adheres to stringent 1642, UL 1973 and UL 1778 testing to ensure our batteries meet the strictest safety requirements.

Deploying a solution like the Vertiv Vertiv™ Liebert® GXT5 Lithium-Ion double-conversion online UPS protects against the widest range of power disruptions and seamlessly switches to battery backup in the event that your input power falls below acceptable operating levels.

The Vertiv Vertiv™ Liebert® PSI5 Lithium-Ion line-interactive UPS is ideally suited to protect critical infrastructure in edge or distributed IT applications. Equipped with automatic voltage regulation (AVR) technology, you’ll ensure your UPS is protected against utility voltage fluctuations, thus preserving the battery life of your lithium-ion-powered unit and providing premium protection if there’s a power outage.

This energy-efficient unit delivers up to 97% efficiency at full load in normal operating mode – combined with the maintenance-free worry of a li-ion battery, the PS15 UPS offers a set-it-and-forget-it solution for your critical data warehousing needs.

To ensure the power protection of your mission-critical edge computing and data center resources, contact Vertiv today. Together, we’ll identify the battery management system that provides the greatest durability and versatility your business deserves.

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