This content was created and contributed by Eaton.

Challenge: Shopping for a highly reliable, "set it and forget it" UPS

With the addition of new network switches connecting access points and security cameras across 160 store locations, the company required a highly reliable power protection solution that could keep operations flowing without staff intervention. "We needed to increase our density and support more cameras, since we were running out of room in the front of the stores," explains the director of systems engineering.

First and foremost, the company desired a UPS solution that could be deployed in stores and essentially forgotten. "We knew that nobody would be able to hear a low battery alarm beeping in a back room if there was an issue," the director points out. In addition, the stores required a compact model since the UPSs needed to fit into a small rackmount cabinet in the back. "This brought with it its own set of restrictions," he says. Finally, the company wanted the ability to easily monitor and manage conditions across its network.

At the same time, the market chain was just beginning to consider a new UPS model to replace four existing Eaton 9390 units in its two data centers. Although the three-phase fleet had been operating for well over a decade with no problems ── some for as long as 16 years ── the model's impending end of life would make ongoing maintenance and parts availability a challenge. "We were extremely happy with the 9390s," the director emphasizes. "We had no issues with them, other than end of life approaching." 

The company initially intended to upgrade one 9390 each year. However, anticipating the potential for lingering supply chain issues resulting from the pandemic, it shelved that plan and instead, opted to replace all four units at once and incorporate them onto the same purchase order as the 160 single-phase UPSs that would be rolled out in the grocery stores. 

With the installation of new network switches in the back rooms of its grocery stores, the company needed to safeguard the equipment with an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that would require minimal attention and maintenance. At the same time, the market chain was shopping replacement units for the existing three-phase UPSs within its two data centers.  

93PM lithium-ion UPS, 5P lithium-ion UPS, Gigabit Network Card, Brightlayer Data Centers suite Data Center Infrastructure Management software (also known as Visual Capacity Optimization Manager or VCOM), UPS Services, BladeUPS.

Thanks to the high availability and continuous uptime afforded by the Eaton enterprise solution, the grocery store's customers are able to shop 'til they drop with no threat to interruption of services.

"We required a UPS that could be out-of-sight, out-of-mind. We needed something that could be hands-off, something we didn't have to worry about it."
Director of Systems Engineering, grocery store chain

Solution: Company fills its cart with Eaton lithium-ion UPSs

The desire to deploy a robust, easy-to-maintain UPS within store locations prompted the organization to investigate newer lithium-ion battery technology ── and having relied on Eaton backup solutions for nearly two decades, the company didn't have to shop around. Instead, it quickly discovered the Eaton 5P lithium-ion rackmount UPS to be the perfect fit. Over the past year, the grocery chain has installed a 1500 VA unit with a Gigabit Network Card inside a wallmount rack in the back of 160 store sites.

"The 5P UPS fit our size requirements and our long relationship with Eaton made the decision easy," says the director, adding that reliability and exceptional service are among the reasons the company chose to standardize on Eaton solutions. "They have always been very easy to work with."  

Delivering business continuity and advanced management for edge computing environments, the Eaton 5P lithium-ion boasts a lifespan two to three times longer than lead acid. Offering a "set it and forget it" value proposition ideal for remote edge environments such as grocery store locations, the 5P UPS further improves uptime with its ability to recharge three times faster following power disruptions. In addition, the unit's lightweight design, combined with versatile mounting options, allow for ease of deployment, while its built-in battery management system (BMS) provides up-to-date insight into battery performance, charge cycles and active temperature monitoring.

The grocery chain was so impressed by the benefits of lithium-ion batteries that it selected a three-phase model for its data center UPS refresh: the Eaton 93PM. "We knew that we wanted to stay with Eaton, and we had already done lithium-ion in the stores, so we thought, why not here too?" the director explains, noting that the UPSs are protecting a wide range of core equipment including servers, switches and storage. 

"We get much longer battery life with the 93PM lithium-ion ── 10 years verses three to five years with lead acid ── so it just made sense."
Director of Systems Engineering, grocery store chain

An ideal white or gray space solution for modern data centers, the 93PM's lithium-ion batteries are 40 percent smaller than VRLA batteries and have twice the lifespan. As a result, the grocery chain is reaping the benefits of money saved on battery replacement costs, while enjoying extra square footage for battery cabinets. The option of front-to-back or front-to-top ventilation maximizes deployment flexibility and lowers cooling costs, while the 93PM also delivers up to 99% efficiency. "Efficiency was important to us, and one of reasons we originally chose Eaton," the director reveals. "The 93PM UPSs are also smaller than what we had before so they take up less floor space, which is another bonus."

In order to monitor its entire infrastructure from utility to application, the grocery store chain chose Eaton's Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software (also known as Visual Capacity Optimization Manager or VCOM), to reduce operation expenses, improve system reliability and mitigate risk through data analysis. Part of Eaton's Brightlayer Data Centers suite, the intuitive power management software provides business intelligence by monitoring both IT and facilities power infrastructure through easy-to-use dashboards and reporting tools that provide analytics. 

"We wanted one platform to monitor all of our UPSs, and VCOM proved to be ideal. We are pulling information from all of our stores and the data centers."
Director of Systems Engineering, grocery store chain

In addition to being able to observe the real-time status of its entire fleet of UPSs, the company relies on the software to manage firmware updates. "With all of these UPSs, it would take considerable time to do that by hand," the director emphasizes. "VCOM makes it so much faster!" The grocery chain also takes advantage of the solution's 3D floor interface to lay out and build its racks. And while the director has already set up some preliminary reports, "I know there's so much more it can do," he acknowledges. "Over time I'm sure we'll make use of other capabilities." The software can also help organizations reduce power, space and cooling costs, and improve speed and reliability by delivering IT services faster and avoiding unexpected problems through automation and insights.

The market chain complemented its UPS solution with an Eaton service plan, as it has done with all of its units in the past. "We've had the same two Eaton service technicians here every year and we have a great relationship," the director says. "They know our facility and where all of our equipment is. They're so easy to work with and always do a great job."

JPI served as the project's single point of contact, overseeing everything from electrical work to procurement of materials to delivery and haul-away of equipment. "They did everything," the director reports. "They did a great job."

In addition to the new lithium-ion UPSs installed in the grocery chain's data centers and supermarkets, the company also relies on Eaton to keep operations flowing within its massive 1.6 million-square-foot warehouse and distribution facility, where a dozen 9395 UPSs have been operating for years. Meanwhile, an Eaton BladeUPS safeguards computers, phones and network equipment at the firm's corporate headquarters. The UPS met all requirements at the site, which required a robust and scalable UPS capable of supporting a significant ­­── and ever expanding ── power draw, without occupying a lot of space. The grocery chain has also begun to standardize on TrippLite UPSs to protect equipment at the front of its stores.

Ultimately, the Eaton solution provides the director with the peace of mind to make restless nights a thing of the past. 

"I can sleep better knowing that my UPSs and batteries are good. I don't have to worry that there's one beeping out there someplace and we don't know about it."
Director of Systems Engineering, grocery store chain

Results: With the Eaton solution in place, the grocery store chain is now able to...

* Set it and forget it while ensuring uptime to network switches in stores, thanks to the 5P's lithium-ion batteries, which last longer, recharge faster, reduce risk, and save time and money throughout the lifecycle of the UPS
* Safeguard mission-critical data center equipment with 93PM UPSs while enjoying battery lifespan of up to 10 years with lithium-ion
* Improve system reliability, mitigate risk, complete firmware upgrades and monitor UPS status with distributed infrastructure management software
* Ensure the ongoing optimal performance of its UPS fleet with Eaton service

Learn more about EatonContact a WWT Expert