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Upgrade for a small office

Upgrade for a small office

Upgrade for a small office


I work in an office of about 100/150, we have 15/20 servers we manage in the server room, with about 5 various APC (and one triplite) products acting as UPSes for the servers.
The APC products we have now are of the Smart-UPS product line, 3 1500's and a 1400 I believe.
The servers are mostly the Dell PowerEdge 2U 2650/2850 Series, there are a few older boxes, too.

We want to buy a new UPS for the server room, and move the 3 1500's to our switch closets.  The ultimate goal for the UPS in the server room is to provide enough time (a half hour to an hour) to get someone in here to shut down the servers gracefully in event of an emergency.  We do not have any systems that absolutely need to stay up 24/7.  I wouldn't mind having a few hours on the switch closets; but, I honestly don't know what kinda lifetime the 1500's will offer 4 or more switches.

Now, I have recently begun working here.  And, I don't know that the current setup would provide the half hour or more we're looking for (we recently did a test, and systems survived about 15 minutes, but I think one UPS was about done).

I'm looking at the APC Smart-UPS XL line.  I don't know if this is too much, or too little.  I would like to go for a 2200VA or 3000VA with an additional battery unit.  Adding more than one battery unit gets quite expensive and big, however.  Rack mountable.

RE: Upgrade for a small office

I have the same UPSes with similar servers as you.  How many servers do you have per UPS ?  Just specifying the server model is not enough.  I have servers with just 2 HD while others have 7.  The number of CPUs will also make a difference as in the number of power supplies.  APC has a utility on their site that allows you to estimate the number of VA that your servers are requiring and from that, they offer you a wide range of selections.  Beware of anything above the 1500VA because they require 20Amp circuit or more.  1500VA are the most you can connect on a standard 15Amp circuit.  With the XL series, you can indeed add extra batteries which will increase uptime BUT if your total power consumption is above the rated VAs, then you are out of luck and must go higher.  As another solution, you can go with the Symmetra series which allows more flexibility.  You can also have the UPSes turn off/on your servers.  There are many solutions.  With the Smart-UPS or XL series, you can only manage (turn on/off) one single server but you can either install a card that allows you to manage more than 1 server from a single UPS.  You can also have external port expanders or even power bars that can manage EACH output and shut down servers individually.  BTW, the 2200 are VERY heavy.  I had one at my customer's server room.  

RE: Upgrade for a small office

Thanks ak,

There are one to three servers on the Smart-UPS 1500VAs; and, 4+ on the Smart-UPS 1400VA that almost lost it on last test.  Typically the servers are dual processor Xeons with 4 or 5 harddrives.

I have used the APC utility.  I believe the problem boils down to the fact that I do not know a lot about how this power stuff works.  The 20Amp/circuit vs. 15Amp/circuit is very interesting; because, I don't know what that means... I'll get to researching more, now.
And, as you said, this stuff is big, heavy, and expensive.  I don't want to over-order because of the site's calculations.

The multiple shutdowns that the Symmetra series offers is really nice... I'll have to price that out.  It may be (if the  price difference is large) that we will have to assume someone will physically get here before the power is drained, to shut down gracefully.

RE: Upgrade for a small office

One of my major hurdles was accurately estimating my consumption needs.

I failed to see the easy answer right away.  Check PowerChute on the UPSes I already have running to get the status from them.  Averaged about 114 VAC per Smart-UPS 1500.  Went to the APC UPS Selector page, choose select by load, added up all of my units and plugged it in.

Thanks guys.

RE: Upgrade for a small office

A couple of things I would like to inject for you to think about. With that many servers you are probably producing quite a bit of heat since you are running at low voltage (110V). You might want to consider running your servers at high voltage (208V) since running at higher voltage draws less Amperage therby producing less heat.
"Akwong" made a good recommendation in that you can go to APC's website, run there selector program and choose your brand, server model, specs, and quantity, etc... then choose how much uptime you want your servers to have, redundant solution y/n, rackmount or tower, then it spits out 3 options based on good, better, best recommendations. With that many servers, be prepared to look at high voltage UPS(s) and PDU(s).

RE: Upgrade for a small office

First things first; if you want to know how much power your units (servers, switches, etc) need you have a very simple way to find it for sure: HIRE A ELECTRICIAN TO MEASURE IT! It will cost you a couple hundred dollars but you will have a true value to start working with. Keep in mind that SMPS (the power supplies in computers, servers and most communication devices) need to be measured with a TRUE-RMS instrument, just remind that to the electrician and don't accept a different solution.
Second, with a consumption table (the one you will be able to create after the consumption  measurements) you could decide the configuration (one UPS per rack, two or more medium-size UPSs attending several racks each one, or one big UPS for your entire server room), topology (single or multiple conversion UPSs), back-up time (looking at the running-time tables on each UPS model according to the actual load you are going to put on it) and any other characteristic you need to specify.

Electro-mechanic Engineering

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