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UPS backup solution... im lost. need advice

UPS backup solution... im lost. need advice

UPS backup solution... im lost. need advice

UPS systems are not my specialty, I have some experience with your typical small 1000 Watt UPS backups, but I've been tasked with is something I know little about. So I come seeking advice and recommendations.

I need to implement a UPS backup solution for our server room. Long story short; a local ISP company shared our server room and they moved, taking the battery backup system which we both shared.

I have checked out all the specs on our equipment in our rack and came up with a number... 9000w. I got this number by looking at power specs for all our equipment and then totaling it all together. Most of our equip is 120v (servers,networking equipment, etc). We have some 12v DC stuff (WAP's, external HD's, etc)

Do I need to look for a UPS system that can output 9000w or more. Has a 220v or 110v input and either a 220v/110v output?

How do I figure out max run time?

Any recommendations on what type/brand of UPS I should be looking at? I'd like something that has monitoring and notification capabilities at minimum.

again, thanks for helping out a total UPS-noob.



Mark C.

RE: UPS backup solution... im lost. need advice

to get a feel for the products and sizing, go to www.apc.com - they have an Infrastructure Estimator page - you fill in the blanks on how much power you need, how much backup time you need, and it suggests products.
Another major player in the UPS space is www.liebert.com
they offer assessment services - which you may find useful.

Fred Wagner


RE: UPS backup solution... im lost. need advice

You say most of your equipment is 120V.  Does some require 220V?  What kind of run time do you need?

My experience has been that most equipment runs well under its published power spec.  In many cases way under.  For example I have 2 hp DL380 servers on a single 1500 Watt UPS.  They each have a 460Watt power supply, but if I measure the actual power that BOTH pull it is less than 300watts combined.  Now they are both running at a very low utilization, but the actual power used is about 1/4 of the rated power.

If you don't have any single piece of equipment that is rated at more than 1500 Watts and typically draws less than 1000 Watts I would consider splitting the load up between several 1500 Watt UPS's which are much more economical to purchase and easier to manage then 1 large unit.  You can also get a larger unit if you have 1 fairly large server that exceeds 1000 Watts, and use smaller units for the rest of the equipment.

I like the APC Smart UPS series like these units:

If you have a limited budget you might go for refurb equipment.  If you are more concerned with reliability new is probably a better choice.

In my example above I should get 20-30 minutes run time out of this.  We have a generator that should kick in within 15 seconds of a power outage and so, for me, run time is not that critical.  The rest of my network won't last for more that about 30 minutes if the generator doesn't start and so it doesn't make sense to keep the servers going if nobody can access them.

If you need longer run time most of these units can be equipped with additional battery packs to extend the run time.

As Fred mentioned above you can go to APC's web site and enter a load and run time to get recommendations.

This is just one idea.  I don't know how much rack space you have, what your power feeds are like, etc.  I am assuming you have a typical business type of application with several servers, network switches, firewall, LCD monitors etc.  

RE: UPS backup solution... im lost. need advice

JiminKS has excellent advice. And by going with multiple UPS's, you have another possibility - if any of your servers dual power supplies (or even hot-replaceable ones), you can have the two supplies on each server running to different UPS units. That way if you have to take a UPS offline (battery replacement) you can do it without taking down the server. You do want monitoring software so the servers can do a graceful shutdown before the UPS batteries run down if power hasn't been restored.
If you have a WAN setup, you want your CSU/DSU's or other terminal gear on a UPS with lots of runtime - if you need to power down your server room (planned outage for the building), if you've got your WAN gear on a UPS that also support servers, and you down the servers, the WAN gear can stay up a long time. Much nicer than having to resync the WAN. I've done it both ways. Long runtime is VERY nice.

Fred Wagner


RE: UPS backup solution... im lost. need advice

I would suggest an APC symmetra.  They are scalable up to 16kva N+1.  They also cn hold up to 4 strings of batteries in the main frame.  Your 9kw is 11kva.  This is the max current draw.  Your constant load will will be less.  The symmetra is a very popular UPS and is Modular.  90% of the parts in this UPS can be replaced while your UPS is in normal.  When looking for refurbed units you can find them all over.  If you need help finding one let me know.

Good Luck


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