The best form of supplier and customer relationships are where suppliers have a deep understanding of the issues facing customers and the two parties work together to find effective solutions.
This type of relationship is a win-win for both parties. FIAMM Energy Technology, one of the leading suppliers of backup batteries for the data and ups market, has done just this.
Data center owners may feel that they are caught in a perfect storm. On one side increased demand for more and more capacity and on the other side the need to meet growing environmental demands.
Data centers are energy hungry. Servers also generate large amounts of heat which in turn need to be cooled. Cooling means either air or water cooling, both demand additional energy and that means more cost. Setting higher operating temperatures may ease this problem.
The whole supply chain needs to be involved in this type of problem. DC operators have many business competencies. Their core expertise lies with DC construction and efficient and reliable operation of data. But other parts of the supply chain have their special competencies.
To be effective as an industry the opportunities and demands need to be solved together. By joining skills, the industry can develop more effective solutions and at a faster rate.
Suppliers of services to data centers need to work closely with operators at every stage in the development and operation of a facility. Suppliers need to engage in all parts of a customer’s mission and understand how they can produce more than just another “me-too product”.
Batteries play a strategic role in supporting critical power failures. A data center builds in all types of redundancy to plan for power failure downtime.
If the power outage is momentary a fly-wheel system could support the power spike. If the power outage is longer, a generator kicks in to support the system. But a generator system cannot provide instant power; it needs time to start.
Batteries, as a solution, sit between these two alternatives. A battery system will provide instant power and step in to alleviate even the smallest power spike. But the system can also supply the necessary power to maintain the whole data center operation, making batteries a critical component.
To improve battery performance is a major task. New developments are bound by the laws of physics. Moore’s law may exist in electronics but the same principle cannot apply to batteries. Why is this? Batteries, unlike electronic systems, are products based on the physics of chemical reactions. Developing improved battery solutions takes years of testing. FIAMM has done just this: a purpose-designed solution to meet the challenges of the industry.
FIAMM Energy Technology is a major supplier of battery solutions to the data center world as well as many other markets. A well-developed battery solution requires a good understanding of the objectives of each application. Good planning at the earliest stage in a project can result in a solution that is not only better, but can often save precious investment capital.
The company has developed a new high-temperature, high-rate battery range purpose-designed for data centers which operates at higher temperatures to save cooling energy and therefore costs. The FIAMM FHB battery is the result of over 10 years of development and collaboration with major customers.
It utilizes a special formulation of low corrosion grid alloy, matched with a mechanical design to give longer life at higher operating temperatures. The new product range covers user-needs in data centers of all sizes.
The more customers and suppliers can engage in understanding the objectives of each other, the more this will result in solid, long-term partnerships. Suppliers can develop new solutions that solve customers’ problems and, in the process, protect costly investments.