CrossNodes Checklist: You've Got the Power!

Obviously, every network requires robust backup for power protection, and a plan for when commercial power fails. However, the purchase of these systems don't often get the attention and consideration that is due such an integral part of your system. This CrossNodes Checklist provides a purchasing template for selecting better systems / network power protection, from which you can determine your needs, price out the possibilities, know what to ask a vendor, and know what to ask their references.

 By Elizabeth Ferrarini
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Depending on its severity, any type of a power outage can wreak havoc with just one server or a building. This type of disruption can impair security systems, damage equipment, and lose data. An Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), on the other hand, can ensure a steady flow of power during the time the traditional electric power source isn't operational.

Each of the three types of UPS's handles a specific type of power outage. A standby UPS guards against brownouts and blackouts by pulling power form the battery. A line-interactive UPS provides battery power during blackouts and protects against surges and brownouts with an inverter for automatic voltage regulation. An online UPS isolates equipment from any type of a power disturbance by converting incoming back from AC to DC and then back to AC before exiting the UPS.

The following checklist provides what you should look for in each one of the UPS types, how to determine your overall costs, what questions you should ask potential vendors, what questions you need to ask vendors' customers, what points you better double check, and how you can make sure you don't get a shock.

What you should look for
First of all, look for vendors with engineering capabilities to meet your special needs. They should provide around-the-clock field service and should be able to respond to any emergency you might have. Definitely look for products with the UL certification in the United States, CSA in Canada, and CE and TUV in Europe. Consider the capabilities of the management software that comes with the UPS. Does the software provide you with the status of the UPS or page you if there is a power outage? Note the capabilities of the battery management system, which will increase the battery life and run time. Also look for adjustable option switches that allow you to tailor voltage transfer levels to site specifications, disable alarms, and change low battery warning settings.

Other features to consider include the following: Warning methods, such as paging and network broadcast message, which you can tailor. Site fault indicators and front-panel indicators, including low battery, replace battery, and load meter.

  • Communications that fit user applications, such as RS-232 and contact closures.
  • Tight output voltage regulation.
  • Ability to correct for surges and sags.
  • Superior noise attenuation addressing load and line-generated harmonics.
  • Versatile and sufficient output connections.
  • Unattended shutdown software and bypass system.
  • Magnetic isolation.
  • Optional run-time availability and sine wave output to battery.

This article was originally published on Nov 7, 2001
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