A UPS is basically an intelligent big battery but, it does much more than giving you a bit more run time in the event of a power cut.
Any equipment that is essential to your network should be plugged in to the UPS including your servers, network switches, routers, firewalls, telephone system and any other important PC’s.
With this in mind your UPS needs to be large enough to cope with this load and to allow time to cover short power cuts and to allow for the safe shutdown of the servers in event of a longer power outage. Servers suddenly losing power is one of the biggest causes of corruption and should be avoided wherever possible.
To help ‘size’ your UPS, you need to find out the total Watts or VA (volts x amps) required for all the equipment to be plugged in (use one or the other – don’t mix them up!), add 25% for future expansion – this is your capacity. Work out how long you need this equipment to be supported by the battery and then add on the amount of time it will take to safely shut down your servers – this is your run time.
In addition, UPS will generally protect against some or all of the 9 main types of power problems. These are brown outs, power spikes, sags, over voltage, line noise, frequency variation, switching transient, harmonic distortion and actual power failure. Even if you have a good power supply to the building, these common issues will be created by the other equipment and environmental factors in the building such as lifts, laser printers, lighting, weather and how many people are in the office. All of these can have a detrimental effect on your equipment by putting additional strain on components and power supplies. A good quality UPS will filter the power input to provide a consistent power supply to the equipment.
Once you have selected your UPS and made your purchase it needs to be installed in your cabinet, or by your servers and network equipment. A new UPS will usually be shipped with the battery disconnected and will need to be assembled prior to connection. In addition, the battery will need time to charge so you may wish to plug it in to the mains and allow the battery to fully charge before adding it to your network. Shut all the equipment down and plug in to the UPS. Some UPS will have different output sockets for different ratings of equipment. Switch the UPS on and then switch on the equipment
Once everything is plugged in, install the correct drivers and software on the servers and configure them with the correct shutdown commands, make sure you allow enough time for the servers to shut down fully whilst the UPS battery can support them. Some telephone systems and firewalls may also need configuring with shutdown commands sent from the UPS or associated SNMP software.
Finally, remember to test your UPS to ensure it will support your equipment and shutdown servers in a timely manner. Batteries will need changing approximately every 3 years, possibly more if used regularly.
If you need help selecting the correct UPS for your network, would like your existing UPS tested or require replacement batteries please contact us.