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APC Powerchute network shutdown

Posted on 2011-03-24
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Last Modified: 2012-05-11
I have a APC 3000RM UPS that is powering about 10 servers. I also have a backup generator and an automatic tranfer switch for a serious poweroutage. I have not had powerchute network shutdown installed on the servers, but recently installed it just in case the generator does not kick on. However I ran into an issue today.

There must have been a surge or some momentary event that caused the UPS to switch to battery power. Becuase of the load, there was only 2 minutes of runtime left. this signaled to shutdown the servers. The APC then seemed to shutdown itself for a few seconds and then turned back on. This caused a few coldstarts on the servers that did not get a chance to shutdown properly.

now my question is why did the APC send out a shutdown command? What is the event that triggers this? I have the events on the powerchute agents set only to log event, so I am not sure what triggered them to shutdown.

If it is just the condition of low-battery that causes this to occur, where is the conditions for low-battery defined on the APC?

here are the events from the APC if they help:

3/24/2011      12:53:48      UPS: Turned on.
      
03/24/2011      12:53:44      UPS: Turned off.
      
03/24/2011      12:52:15      UPS: Started reboot sequence.
      
03/24/2011      12:49:15      UPS: Battery discharge condition cleared.
      
03/24/2011      12:48:13      UPS: Graceful shutdown by PowerChute ns from 192.168.1.14.
      
03/24/2011      12:48:12      UPS: Returned from a Low-Battery condition.
      
03/24/2011      12:48:12      UPS: Batteries discharged.
      
03/24/2011      12:48:11      UPS: Battery power is low and will soon be exhausted.
      
03/24/2011      12:48:11      UPS: Battery discharge condition cleared.
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Question by:ryan80
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by:Steve
ID: 35210890
the powerchute software lets you specify the limits for the UPS. you can specify at what level of battery power a shutdown should be triggered. if the UPSs are as overloaded as you advise, this will be pointless as servers will not have enough time to shut down.

also, I'd suspect the battery is dead or at the end of its life as it doesnt sound like its keeping its charge properly.
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by:SysExpert
ID: 35211548
I agree with totallytonto.

 I would run the tests on the UPS to see what it says about battery condition and run time.

I hope this helps !
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by:ryan80
ID: 35214680
you are correct that the battery was at the end of its life. I replaced the battery yesterday and have not yet done a calibration on the new one. going by APCs website, I should get about 8 minutes of run time from the UPS.

However I dont know where you set the limits for the UPS. i looked around and am unsure of the setting that actually sends a shutdown signal to the servers. there are a lot of settings on the servers themselvees that will take an action (run script, shutdown) for certain events, but none of them are set to shutdown right now. so there must be a setting on the UPS itself that can be set to send out a shutdown. I know that there is a low battery duration, but that seems to a setting that shuts down the UPS itself. Do you know where the setting is that controls the point that a low battery level has been reached?
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by:Steve
ID: 35215963
to be honest I dont know where the setting is off hand on the network version of powerchute but with the load you have on the server the shutdown command would still be sent even if the battery was full.

You're probably best to give up on the software or reduce the load on the UPS.
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by:ryan80
ID: 35216879
When I installed the software, I thought that I would have to enable a network shutdown event for the servers to be shutdown. If there is no way to disable this, than I will have to uninstall the software. It is nice to be able to look at the APC and see the servers that are connected to it (they are listed in the powerchute area). I was not expecting it to shutdown the servers since I had not set any events to shutdown in the network software.

As you said though, if there is no way to change the settings for when the UPS will shutdown the servers, than I will be giving up on this.

I should be able to get 8 minutes of runtime, from the UPS, but the runtime calibration is giving me errors right now. It is saying that the battery is not fully charged, even though it is showing at 100%. It is a brand new battery though so I will let it charge over the weekend and see if anything is different on Monday.

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Steve earned 500 total points
ID: 35218596
the 8 minutes of runtime you have got from the website are an estimated maximum.
If you are overloading the UPS it may not charge properly and the battery simply wont last. The shutdown commands are sent based on the battery level. If the battery level drops too quickly the shutdown command will be sent within moments of the power going off.

Also, you need to assess how long your servers take to shutdown. if it's less that then 5-8 minutes the UPS can provide power for, you have a major problem.

You need to reduce the load on the UPS anyway, but I agree the network software may be counter productive in your case.
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by:ryan80
ID: 35226364
The UPS is running at 67% load, so it is not overloaded. The runtime from the website is not the estimated maximum, but rather the time APC says that this model will run under the load that I have. You can enter the load that you have and it will give you the runtime per model.

 the servers connected have a 2-3 minute shutdown time and the generator kicks on after about 2-3 minutes. So really I need 6 minutes of run time if everything goes perfectly, and I would prefer more along the lines of 8 minutes.

 After looking at the documentation, it looks like the low-battery duration is the command that will send a shutdown to the servers, but it is not very clear. It says in the documentation that this is the time that it will continue to run on battery after a low-battery condition occurs.

Although no where does it say what defines a low-battery condition. Not very well documented. and pretty confusing. I am guessing though that this setting actually sets the low battery condition time?



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