Impact of Cloud Computing on UPS Market Systems

Cloud operations, still in the diaper stage, learning to grow to become a major trend, which we currently can't even imagine.

A few days ago the Outlook e-mail program on my personal computer at home failed. After futile trials to reinstall the software I gave up, deciding to use the e-mail hosted by my Internet Service Provider (ISP). This application supplied a temporary solution which enabled me to receive and send e-mails, but without Outlook's associated calendar, appointments, tasks, notes, and other applications.

The temporary solution which I decided to use is practically a cloud computing service, which my ISP provides for years, before the term "Cloud Computing" was even invented. It does however comply with cloud computing term described by Wikepedia as: "online application accessed from another Web service or software, while the software and data are stored on servers".

Advantages of Cloud Computing Services

As it seems, we are already using absentmindedly cloud computing services, which involve not only a single server but multiple servers interconnected with cloud computing components that provide hosting as well as virtual backup that can replace or complement UPS solutions. But, current cloud operations are still in the diaper stage, learning to grow and become a major trend that presents new applications which currently we can't even imagine.

Such application for instance, as briefed in our November 2010 News, saved USA NC, Surry County Northern Hospital hundreds of thousands of dollars by eliminating 20 servers, decreasing power usage, and avoiding a $25,000 uninterruptible power supply (UPS) upgrade, reducing network congestion and backup storage requirements by 80 percent, and compressing full nightly backup windows from 14 hours to less than one hour.

It is clear that recent movement toward cloud computing technology will expand within a few years and be used by most business sectors. Data Corporation 2009 study expects global spending by enterprises on cloud services to rise at a compound annual growth rate of 26 percent between 2009 and 2013, from $17.4 billion to $44.2 billion, whereas Forrester Research in September 2010 survey indicates that 51 percent of small and mid-size businesses plan to pursue cloud infrastructure service.

It is also clear that manufacturers, service providers and users of UPS systems should consider the impact of cloud computing technology on the UPS market and future development of UPS systems when more business will adopt cloud technology to gain following advantages that this technology offers:

1. Saving Costs: The use of cloud computing will enable to outsource data hosting and software applications, using onsite low cost, simple computers. Additionally, using applications provided by cloud computing companies, saves or decreases current costs, such as the cost of Firewall protection, labor costs paid for software development, and costs related to repair and maintenance of onsite hardware and software.

2. Expanding operation with current resources: Outsourcing hosting and applications services, eliminates the need of investments when operations grow, including the associated cost of additional manpower; moreover it will enable to contract operations when the times are hard, without dismissing employees.

3. Paying as and when needed: Outsourced cloud services can be paid according to the frequency of use, in addition to a small periodic payment for information hosting. It will enable to pay less in bad times, while reducing marginal costs when business grows.

4. Selecting Required Protection Level: Cloud computing technology makes possible to provide information backup with higher reliability and availability compared to onsite servers, particularly when small and medium sized business are considered .The technology enables service providers to offer within their own capacity, or by cooperating with similar companies, both the hardware and virtual redundancy needed to supply any required availability and reliability figure that the customer is ready to pay for.

The Effect of Cloud Computing on UPS market

Reason dictates that cloud computing technology will not replace, but boost total requirement for UPS power. Cloud operations such as outsourcing applications, information hosting, and associated storing and updating of duplicate data to provide virtual redundancy, will all increase Internet traffic and the amount of data processed via cloud computing servers, which require UPS protection; whereas future introduction of new applications might drive data processing beyond any foreseeable figure.

Every digital operation wastes power, and until effective superconductors or other inventions, which enable to decrease considerably the losses associated with transferring charge carriers are developed, total computing power required by servers, as well as its quality will grow when more information is processed and transmitted. We might expect therefore a bright future for Uninterruptible Power Supply systems.

Cloud computing technology will however change significantly current UPS market structure, affecting products, vendors and users. Based on the indicated above as well as other studies, and published material concerned with the effect of cloud services on current computer market, we might expect the following trends in the Uninterruptible power supply field: Main growth of UPS power is expected in hosting and application providing services, where large Data Centers, which process high quantities of data, will be required to supply the growing needs of numerous consumers looking for cloud computer services.

Such installations will seek high efficiency, compact and scalable UPS solutions in order to decrease costs and space, enabling future expansion when needed. The ability to replace h ardware redundancy with virtual redundancy, which the cloud computing approach offers, might "legitimate" the use of less reliable, but more efficient systems or topologies, such as offered by Eco mode operation, modular UPS systems, and the different types of batteryless Rotary UPS systems.

Tendency to outsource computer services will decrease the power needed for protecting home and office computer sectors. Here, less expansive power protection solutions aimed to protect hardware, such as surge arresters, line conditioners, and standby or Line Interactive UPS solutions might be preferred.

Large size businesses with large in house data centers will probably prefer, based on cost, security, secrecy and additional factors to implement most cloud computing applications onsite wherever possible. The additional applications and virtual redundancy, even if provided onsite, will still require more processing power, which requires additional UPS power.

The main effect of cloud computing services, as indicated in the said Forrester research will be evidenced in the small to medium business sectors. Here, based on the specific industry or type of business, a hybrid infrastructure comprising both onsite computers and outsourced cloud computing services will generally be implemented.

The Surry County Northern Hospital cloud application for example, indicates considerable reduction of backup storage requirements, but it still needs onsite power with UPS backup for staff operated personal computers, as well as for specific equipment needed in surgery rooms, health and life sustaining equipment, monitoring apparatus, laboratories and other critical needs. Other sectors require similarly UPS power not only for onsite computers needed by the staff, but also to fulfill certain specific needs; such as powering production and process control equipment in manufacturing and industrial companies, local computers with rapid accessibility in service providing companies, alarm equipment, security camera installations in shops, sales centers, and more.

Based on the above and on additional considerations, such as security and secrecy of information, compliance requirements, disaster recovery and business continuity, most companies will select a hybrid approach of onsite processing and storing of critical information, combined with outsourcing cloud computing hosting and application services.

Cloud computing will also affect UPS manufacturers, vendors and service providers, which should formulate business and marketing strategy, designed to meet the impact of cloud computing on customers behavior and preferences. They should also become familiar with virtual backup alternatives, and preferably collaborate with cloud service providing companies, in order to offer the most effective ways to protect customers' information.