Project profile: Colocation provider adding high-efficiency UPS units

Hurricane Electric achieves 99% efficiency and saves on utility costs with new UPS units and energy-saving system.

By Eaton December 8, 2014

Project name: Hurricane Electric data centers expansion

Project type:
New construction

Engineering firm: Eaton

Building type: Data centers

Location: Fremont, CA 

Timeline: 2010 – present


Hurricane Electric is a leading colocation provider serving clients with a wide array of technology needs. The company, which operates its own global IPv4 and IPv6 network and is considered the largest IPv6 backbone in the world as measured by number of networks connected, is ranked in the top five for IPv4 and is No. 1 for IPv6.

Within its global network, Hurricane Electric is connected to 75 major exchange points and exchanges traffic directly with more than 3,300 different networks. Employing a resilient fiber-optic topology, Hurricane Electric has no less than four redundant paths crossing North America, two separate paths between the U.S. and Europe, and rings in Europe and Asia. In addition to its vast global network, the firm owns and operates two multi-tenant data centers.


Responding to a high customer demand for space, in 2010 Hurricane Electric completed an expansion of its 208,000-sq-ft Fremont 2 data center. To ensure maximum availability within the new space, the company sought a large, rugged power protection solution capable of keeping pace with all of its new clients and their multitude of servers.

Beyond the capacity requirements, superior reliability topped the company’s list of prerequisites for a new solution. "Uptime is absolutely critical," said Benny Ng, director of infrastructure. "Each and every one of our clients relies on the uptime that we afford them." Other key factors included a UPS that could offer outstanding efficiency, a low overall cost of ownership, and a small footprint.


Hurricane Electric discovered a whirlwind of advantages within a pair of 550 kVA Power Xpert 9395 UPSs. "When we built out our other data centers and phase one of this data center, this product didn’t exist," Ng said, noting that each UPS is tasked with safeguarding as many as 3,000 servers. Needed to meet the firm’s continued explosion of new customers, the UPSs will be installed in the Fremont 2 data center by the end of 2014.

The high efficiency of the 9395 reduces utility costs, creates cooler operating conditions, enhances reliability, and extends the overall life of the UPS components. "Our target was to achieve 99% efficiency," Ng said. Hurricane Electric paired its 9395 units with Eaton Energy Saver System (ESS), which enables the UPS to attain an industry-leading efficiency level of 99%. The UPS intelligently adapts to utility power conditions while supplying clean power to the connected equipment. In addition, because UPSs using ESS maintain 99% efficiency even when lightly loaded, the technology can deliver gains of up to 15% points in efficiency over traditional models in the typical operating range. However, the director of infrastructure admits that the company was initially a bit concerned about the UPS’s transfer time and whether ESS would deliver as promised. "It is, after all, a different mode of operation," Ng explains.

The new system not only limits heat loss, but enhances total cost of ownership and saves on maintenance for Hurricane Electric. Technicians are able to service key components in a redundant module while the other module carries the load. Deployed in a dedicated electrical room housing various switch boards, the slight footprint of the 9395 made installation easy, as the UPS fits easily through doors and onto freight elevators with no need for dismantling. The company has chosen to safeguard the long-term health of the units with an extended service plan from Eaton.


Hurricane Electric is now able to:

  • Protect mission critical customer servers with unparalleled reliability
  • Ensure the highest level of uptime with ultimate availability delivered through the 9395’s redundancy
  • Achieve 99% efficiency and save on utility costs with ESS
  • Preserve space for other equipment, thanks to the 9395’s small footprint
  • Maintain the ultimate health of its units with easy serviceability of the UPS.