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Hardware Thread, UPS Advice for a first time buyer! in Technical; Afternoon all. I'm working at a primary school and at the moment and have been tasked with purchasing a new ...
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    UPS Advice for a first time buyer!

    Afternoon all. I'm working at a primary school and at the moment and have been tasked with purchasing a new UPS as the old one is on it's way out.

    I was wondering what to look out for when buying a new UPS and which ones would be suitable for the servers here.

    At the moment we have two servers, one for RM CC3 and one for the Admin domain. We're looking at upgrading from CC3 to CC4 and getting a new server in and possibly using the old CC3 server as a backup store meaning in total we'll probably end up with 3 servers in the not so disant future.

    I've been looking at the rack mounted APC Smart UPS series as these are the ones I have at my main school although am unsure which one should get.

    They are rated from 1000 upto 3000 and I'm not too sure what would be adequate for 3 servers to run off.

    Does anyone recommend these UPS'? If not what would they recommend and what rating would be good to handle 3 servers?

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    3s-gtech's Avatar
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    We have an APC Smart-UPS 3000VA. Will shortly be getting another. Been pretty solid, the included management is useless or expensive but using apcupsd it's all good. There is a configurator on their site to help you spec up. 3000VA is overkill for three servers, but may be handy if you also need a long runtime, power for your core switches etc.

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    Sam_Brown (31st January 2012)

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    I know that VA is not equivalent to W, for reasons I have completely forgotten, but they're similar enough that adding up the PSU wattage of your servers should give you a good figure to aim for. I'd have thought 3000VA is overkill, as said, but it will give you longer run time.

    Something to look out for, especially if you have redundant PSUs in your servers - check how many outlets the UPS has. I've got a 1500VA UPS and it only has 4 outlets, so although the rating is probably sufficient for three servers, you wouldn't be able to connect all 3 servers twice. (The 3kVA has 8 outlets, incidentally).

    Regarding management, the APC UPS comes with the management agent anyway, that you can then configure from a web interface. Not had to pay any extra for it and it's done the trick - one server connected via USB, set up to run a command file at a certain runtime remaining that powers down the other servers and then shuts itself down.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sonofsanta View Post
    Regarding management, the APC UPS comes with the management agent anyway, that you can then configure from a web interface. Not had to pay any extra for it and it's done the trick - one server connected via USB, set up to run a command file at a certain runtime remaining that powers down the other servers and then shuts itself down.
    Not sure if that was possible with mine - certainly a lot easier if that's what's available. apcupsd is basically the same sort of thing, it's just a small client that talk to a differently configured 'server' copy running on the machine connected via USB. If the 'server' one sends a shutdown signal, the client receives it over the network. Incidentally, that's one of the key reasons why your switches need to be on a UPS too!

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    Sam_Brown (31st January 2012)

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    Sam_Brown's Avatar
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    You guys are awesome. Thank you.

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    Feed your server specs and proposed server specs into this tool, tell it how long you want to run them for etc... and it'll suggest sizes. UPS Selector Sizing Applications

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    sonofsanta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 3s-gtech View Post
    Not sure if that was possible with mine - certainly a lot easier if that's what's available. apcupsd is basically the same sort of thing, it's just a small client that talk to a differently configured 'server' copy running on the machine connected via USB. If the 'server' one sends a shutdown signal, the client receives it over the network. Incidentally, that's one of the key reasons why your switches need to be on a UPS too!
    The command file is just a simple BAT file that runs on the connected server - shutdown /m otherServer, one line for every other server connected to that same UPS, bit of timing added to the mix.

    Good point re: the switches being on the UPS though, found that one out the hard way before!

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    Oaktech's Avatar
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    i'm speccing one now... to keep an HP procurve core switch upright, we had a partial power cut and lots of stuff died because the UPS that was on that switch died and the spend was not OK'd to replace it...

    It's going to be OK'd now!

    my preferences for UPS are APC or Liebert. Liebert tends to get cheaper than APC when you get past about 2500 va

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam_Brown View Post
    Afternoon all. I'm working at a primary school and at the moment and have been tasked with purchasing a new UPS as the old one is on it's way out.

    I was wondering what to look out for when buying a new UPS and which ones would be suitable for the servers here.

    At the moment we have two servers, one for RM CC3 and one for the Admin domain. We're looking at upgrading from CC3 to CC4 and getting a new server in and possibly using the old CC3 server as a backup store meaning in total we'll probably end up with 3 servers in the not so disant future.

    I've been looking at the rack mounted APC Smart UPS series as these are the ones I have at my main school although am unsure which one should get.

    They are rated from 1000 upto 3000 and I'm not too sure what would be adequate for 3 servers to run off.

    Does anyone recommend these UPS'? If not what would they recommend and what rating would be good to handle 3 servers?
    sounds like you'd be good with an APC smart-ups 1500. you might even get by with a 1000va depending on the rating of the PSU's and how hard those servers are worked. although you'd have little scope to add additional loads with a 1000va and three servers. form factor really doesn't make much difference unless you are that squeezed for space and have to go rack mount. the tower models use up very little space. Number of outlets isn't an issue, never plugged a device directly into the outlets of a UPS. always used a PDU

    the 1500Va model would give you the headroom to add another couple of devices. going with dual power supplies in your servers would actually reduce the load on the individual UPS if you were to plug one psu into the ups and the other into an unfiltered supply or secondary UPS.

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    hit
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    Quote Originally Posted by alttab View Post
    going with dual power supplies in your servers would actually reduce the load on the individual UPS if you were to plug one psu into the ups and the other into an unfiltered supply or secondary UPS.
    This is the way I was always told how to do and have done it.

    It's also sensible to have the UPS on a seperate circuit to the unfiltered supply (but not on seperate phases, you dont want to be introducing a possible 400v in the back of the rack) so that if one circuit trips out, the other will hold until you can find and rectify the problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hit View Post
    It's also sensible to have the UPS on a seperate circuit to the unfiltered supply (but not on seperate phases, you dont want to be introducing a possible 400v in the back of the rack) so that if one circuit trips out, the other will hold until you can find and rectify the problem.
    yep, very good advice. trouble is, not always possible to find even a double socket on a separate circuit in the tiny barely room to swing a cat 'server rooms' your sometimes allocated. in those situations i'd definitely make sure i had the runtime in the form of a slightly larger ups and appropriate usb/network shutdown tools in place. for primaries and smallish schools it's a case of needing protection of critical systems but not being able to afford high availability.

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    @alttab - I've been really lucky in the last 18 months to be heavily involved in the design and building of our new admin offices for the federation I work for. The contractors and electrical engineers had a really good grasp on what was needed and it was all spec'd out right down to exactly where power and network points would be needed including the provision for plenty of expansion. Happy days

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    The APC calculator is a useful guide but should not be treated as the oracle of UPS selection.

    Every one I know, including myself always thinks that their UPS is up to the job but when that breaker trips the guesswork has a habit of vaporising in front of your very eyes!

    Obviously you need to choose a UPS capable of delivering the current needed, but the actual model is dependent on the Runtime Batteries installed.
    Many of the lower end such as the 2u 3000 RMI2U will only run for 6 minutes at half load.

    You might find that a Smart 1500 or 2200 is all you need current wise but an RT unit with 3 batteries means you can keep things up four hours not just minutes.

    Do the power calculations first then the runtime requirements.

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    Im looking to completely replace my UPS' in the server room all the current ones are shot and dont hold the charge or are just knackered full stop.

    I have been looking at the APC SURT15KRMXLI but this device is not available on the APC trade in programme which i was planning on using as i can get about 800-1000 cashback for the old ones.

    I have now seen that the APC SYA16K16I is on the trade up programme.

    Is this an equivalent device? Also how would i connect this one to PDU's to power the server? on the SURT15KRMXLI there are the sqaure C19 plugs but on the back of the SYA16K there are none!! Is it hard wired back to a seperate fuseboard or is it hardwired to the PDU's?

    Im having a single phase commander socket put in the server room today (hopefully if the sparky turns up!!), would have like 3 phase but is not viable without spending thousands on a new board!

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