October 2022

Itility Data Centre & Colocation


We were asked by Itility, an existing service and maintenance customer of ours, to right size their UPS and provide a more cost effective solution than their original design.

After looking at direct replacement options and more energy efficient alternatives, Itility opted for a re-design using a new flexible modular set-up which offers pay-as-you-grow scalability and considerable energy savings.

The modular design of Riello’s Multi Power and the combination of reliability, scalability, and efficiency in a compact footprint made it the ideal choice to replace an end of life UPS at the Manchester based colocation, cloud, and hosting data centre.

Carry on reading to find out all about another successful project from Specialist Power Systems.

Itility are Specialists in Providing Colocation and Disaster Recovery Solutions

Located 2 miles from Manchester City Centre, Itility are a high performance UK data centre and hosting specialist offering an 8,900sqft controlled environment housing a multimillion pound data centre and support team.

As one of the UK’s most modern hosting and colocation providers, they supply dedicated and shared hosting, application hosting, Cloud, IP Transit, and disaster recovery solutions.

With an impressive purpose built facility, the building has the latest in temperature and climate control, connectivity, power, fire suppression and high tech 24/7 security protection.

With their independent high spec data centre, they provide a secure and highly connected environment for small to medium sized businesses to rent secure space so that if mains power should fail, critical applications won’t.

Hardware Refresh Required for Itility

As a business offering secure space for customers where infrastructure won’t ever go down, having a reliable and fully working UPS, battery, and generator set-up in place is crucial.

The original UPS system was installed back in 2011, comprising three 400 kVA Riello UPS Master Plus units configured as 800 kVA with N+1 redundancy to support a load of approximately 700 kVA.

By 2021, one of the UPS reached the end of service life, so the system was reconfigured into a pair of 400 kVA units. With a second unit approaching the end of its service life, it became essential for Itility to consider some major equipment upgrades.

To support the three Riello units, each UPS had two strings of 40 Yuasa batteries to take the load should there be any problems with the mains power.

Exploring the Options 

Since the initial install back in 2011, the existing UPS had become oversized and inefficient, and needed replacing.

Our UPS engineers carried out an in-depth site survey and our project team had extensive dialog with Itility to establish their key considerations.

Rather than simply replacing the units with similar, but more energy efficient models, we proposed a modular design which not only required a lower initial capital investment, but importantly it gave Itility full flexibility to expand the system in the future.

Challenges of the Project

With Itility being an ‘always on’ facility operating around the clock, 365 days a year, a quick turnaround was essential. Another key priority was to make sure the IT infrastructure of all their customers remained working and unaffected.

With the building operating on one working UPS and with no redundancy available, it was important to provide a quote, organise teams and turn the project around in a few days, with a small window of just a few hours to install the new unit.

Making the Move to Multi Power

With lower running costs a key factor, it was agreed the award-winning Multi Power UPS from Riello UPS was the perfect solution as it guaranteed scalable, secure, and high-quality power available 24/7/365.

Multi Power combines unmatched power density with high efficiency across all load levels in a compact footprint. It offers easy ‘pay as you grow’ scalability to increase power, redundancy, or battery autonomy by simply adding additional power modules, battery units, or cabinets.

While all power modules and battery units are hot swappable and accessible from the front of the UPS, ensuring downtime-free maintenance.

In May 2022, the Multi Power range was awarded the ‘power product of the year’ at the prestigious Electrical Review and Data Centre Review Excellence Awards for its modular ‘pay as you grow’ scalability, exceptional efficiency across all load levels, and high power density in a compact footprint.

A Race Against Time to Remove, Install and Commission UPS in One Day 

To minimise downtime on installation day, the new unit and rack were delivered onsite and positioned in the comms room the day before. Then on the morning of the install, the old 400 kVA units were isolated, uninstalled, decommissioned, and removed from site by our certified safe disposal team.

An external bypass switch enabled the old units to be isolated, whilst still maintaining the customer load the entire time off the mains supply. Because of this, speed was crucial to have backup on the new units as quickly as possible.

Once moved into position, our engineers had to extend the AC cabling as the connectors were higher up on the new modular design. To save further costs, the team were able to reconfigure two strings of the existing Yuasa SWL2500 batteries to work with the new design.

Once install was complete, the units were commissioned, and the power was running back through the UPS by 3:30 pm that afternoon with no disruption to any Itility customers. The complete removal, installation, and commissioning took less than one day.

Successful Outcome to The Project

Its compact, modular design ensures the Multi Power has a significantly smaller footprint than the original installation, saving Itility valuable floor space.

The principle of modularity enables the new system to grow alongside Itility’s business needs, minimising the risk of wasteful oversizing whilst optimising both the initial investment and total cost of ownership moving forwards.

Compared to the old units, which operated at 85% efficiency, the new Multi Power installation is capable of up to 96% efficiency.

Due to the scalable design of the new modular solution, the client load level sits higher in the efficiency window and as a result will deliver energy savings of around £12,000 a year.

Sean Thompson from Itility said after the installation:

“I would say that at the current prices for power, the September consumption (full month following install) when our kWh cost increased, the bill dropped significantly in that month. I believe purely because of the UPS.

Overall, extremely happy, and thankful to you guys for your amazing service.”

Specialist Power Sales Director and project lead Adam Baverstock said about the project

"By installing a newer, greener modular alternative we delivered a scalable and flexible design where our customer can simply add more power modules when the business requires more.

Giving them a pay-as-you grow solution meant less capital investment from the start, lower cost of ownership, a more efficient UPS and significant energy savings."

If you want to know more about the Itility project or think we can help with your back-up requirements, then please give us a call on 01234 851155 or email [email protected]

Download the Itility case study here

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