Basics of a UPS System
Jeff Clark February 7, 2012 11 Comments »
UPS (uninterruptible power supply) systems are a critical component of your data center, whether you’re running just a couple computers or numerous servers. When selecting a UPS, you’ll have to choose among a number of options, but if you can differentiate between the various available configurations, you’ll be better able to choose the right system to meet your needs.
Why a UPS?
Imagine if your heart decided to quit beating for a while, of if it all of the sudden slowed way down or sped up in a sharp burst. Not a very appealing scenario, is it? Now, imagine that the power supply to your company’s IT equipment failed, or if it sent large spikes to your equipment. Although this situation isn’t as macabre as the metaphor of a heart, it nonetheless spells trouble for your business. Power is the lifeblood of your data center, and your IT equipment is designed to be supplied with a steady flow.
Unfortunately, the power delivered from your utility isn’t as steady as you’d like it to be. Brief power outages, power sags and power surges/spikes can cause more than just a hassle—they can cause damage to your IT equipment. Although backup power generators can supply your data center in the case of an extended outage (hours or even days), they are no help when you’re faced with transient power fluctuations. For example, if another utility customer starts a large inductive load, you may feel the effects down the line in the form of a short lived, but potentially harmful, power event. In such a case, you wouldn’t have any warning—let alone time to switch to a backup generator.
To deal with these short-lived power events, a UPS is critical. These systems not only provide temporary backup power for brief outages, but many also provide protection against transient power events like spikes and sags, thereby supplying your equipment with clean, high-quality...