Uninterruptible Power Supply as it is more commonly known, is a set of batteries that plug into the mains electricity supply and assist with disaster recovery. Loss of power is often overlooked when it comes a disaster recovery plan, and this is why we have written this article to outline some of the hidden benefits of the trusty UPS.
What is a UPS and what does it do?
In simple terms, a UPS is a set of batteries that plug into the mains. You can plug your servers into them (as well as PCs, printers and other hardware) and if you have a power cut, the server will recognise the drop in voltage and automatically shut itself down safely. Most UPS’s depending on the size of the batteries can last from minutes to hours so you have to be sure to purchase one that gives your servers enough time to safely shut down, our account managers can help you with this.
Why is this important to my disaster recovery plan?
If your server shuts down without warning, you can find yourself with an array of issues. From corrupt files and break services, you may have issues that could easily be stopped. If you don’t use a Uninterruptible Power Supply and you suffer a cut in power, you may have to spend a long time restoring backups or in some cases you may have to rebuild the server. The world of I.T is fast paced and demanding, the last thing any department needs is to be spending unnecessary time they do not have fixing problems, which could have been easily prevented.
If you are using a UPS and you endure a power cut, all you have to do is simply turn the server back on and it will be back to normal in no time.
The UPS does not only provide support for your servers in case of an emergency, they also help smooth the connection between the server and the mains. In turn, this can increase the lifespan of your servers as it eliminates power surges. These power surges are known as ‘spikes’ and the drops are called ‘brownouts’. Both of these can be particularly damaging to your servers as it leads to your servers components wearing out faster as opposed to a smooth input. Its similar to if you were to go for a run, lots of ups and downs are going to wear you out faster, but a smooth flat run means, chances are you’ll run at a better pace for longer. Power spikes have also been known to blow fuses, which could inevitably lead to your server cutting out completely, which once again would leave you spending unnecessary time rebuilding or restoring your server/backups.
Different types of UPS
This type of UPS is when the power is fed into the UPS and part of the power is stored to charge the batteries. In case of a power cut the UPS would use this stored energy to power the servers. These are often the cheapest forms of UPS.
These work similar to the off-line UPS but they have an additional component called the autotransformer. This is used to balance between the brownouts and spikes without using the reserved battery power. These are relatively cost effective, and we recommend these if you experience a lot of spikes and brownouts from the mains.
With On-line UPS’s the mains power is fed through the battery meaning the server is always running from the battery so no switching occurs. These tend to be the more expensive option, but this is down to the fact they are mainly used with highly critical systems. These are especially good if your equipment is very sensitive to fluctuations, no matter how brief.
How does the UPS trigger a response to my server?
The communication between the UPS and server is done through software installed on your server. This is normally transmitted through a serial or USB connection directly to the server. Some high-end UPS devices have a network card installed so they can be put onto the network to communicate to the server through the local area network.