Factor in run time, scalability and software when shopping for a UPS

Factor in run time, scalability and software when shopping for a UPS

When choosing an uninterruptible power supply from the wide array available, the volt-amp rating of a UPS will be the first factor you consider. But don't forget:

Automatic sequential shutdown. Most of the UPSes listed in this guide come with a variety of output connector types or can be outfitted with a customizable power distribution unit so that you can select your own.

If a power outage occurs, a good UPS will signal you via alarms and then begin to shut down various output connectors sequentially to save critical run time for the most important servers.

Run time. Any UPS worth its salt will provide at least 10 minutes of run time, or battery-run protection, after the power fails. It is difficult to find consistency among manufacturers' run-time specifications because they measure it differently or refuse to provide a specific number.

Many vendors list estimated run time at both half and full loads'for example, 24 minutes half, six minutes full'while others base their specification estimates on an 80 percent load. And still others list their run-time specifications as load-dependent.

Run time can be increased by two, three or more times by adding extra batteries to the original UPS'a feature that is mostly available on large cabinet and rackmount designs.

Software. UPS power management software helps monitor a system's power outputs and in most cases also helps provide graphical status information about low batteries, system overload, load meters and battery replacement requirements. It also provides user-selectable settings for auto shutdown sequences and, if it uses Simple Network Management Protocol, the UPS can be monitored from a management console elsewhere on the network.

Scalability. Although most UPSes are not scalable the same ways computers and storage systems are, their run times can be scaled up by adding extra batteries, as mentioned above.

Rackmount units are the most easily scalable and most of the cabinet systems listed here are part of larger product families that range in capacity from as little as 300 VA to 100,000 VA and higher. Ask the manufacturers for details about their complete product lines.

'J.B. Miles

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