An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) provides power to a data center in the event of a power failure. Data centers need UPSs to maintain operations until the power returns or a longer-term emergency power backup system turns on. UPSs prevent power fluctuations and outages from causing downtime, damaging IT equipment, and resulting in expensive Service Level Agreement (SLA) payouts.
Key Components of UPSs
There are various types of UPSs, but all of them include the following components:
- Rectifier. Input alternating current (AC) power is converted by the rectifier into direct current (DC) power, which is used to feed the energy storage system.
- Energy storage. Incase of input power failure, UPSs have a system for storing energy in the form of batteries, flywheels, or supercapacitors. The energy storage system is what allows a UPS to supply uninterrupted power.
- Inverter. The converts DC power from the rectifier or energy storage system into AC power that is used by the load.
Types of UPSs
- Standby/offline. During normal operation, input power is supplied to the output load directly. When a power failure is detected, a solid state switch transfers the load to the battery source.
- Line interactive. Similar to a standby UPS, but can adjust the output in over- and under-voltage scenarios without the need to switch to a battery.
- Online/double conversion. The battery system is always connected and does not require switching to a backup source. The normal operation for the power flow is first through the rectifier, charging the energy storage system, and finally through the inverter.
UPS Monitoring with DCIM Software
To ensure that your UPS is ready when you need it, you want to monitor your UPS at normal operations. First, you want to make sure your load is balanced if you have a three-phase UPS as an unbalanced load will shorten the useful life of the UPS. Second, the battery replacement indicator is a must for your monitoring checklist and you want to replace your battery prior to the end of its useful life. Finally, monitor the percent capacity load to ensure the UPS battery can handle the load and provide the needed runtime in case of a loss of power.
To be prepared for an outage, monitor the UPS status with Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software to ensure you are the first to know about the incident. The battery runtime remaining (battery replacement indicator) metric tells you how much longer your compute devices can run on the battery. This is the time when you can take proactive action by shutting down non-critical devices to extend runtime. Best practice is to have your non-critical device group set before you have the outage and know the amount of load you can shed.
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