UPS expectations and generators for power outages

Posted on 2011-04-26
Last Modified: 2012-05-11
We have a decent UPS in our data center, an APC system that gives us about an hour and a half of battery time.  Our office is in a remote location where it's a ways for people to get to, and recently we lost power at 4AM and nobody knew it until morning, and the power was out for two hours thus all our systems took hard crashes.

I was wondering what the expectations should be for a UPS in terms of time.  I know you can spend as much as you want and get what you need, but realistically, is a UPS deemed a solution long enough to get in and power things down or get in and start a generator?  Are there solutions where one might decide to invest more in a very large UPS rather than a generator so as to give them say 6 hours of power?  

Our needs aren't to be up 24/7 as much as to be able to have time to get in and power things down properly or maintain power though an outage of a few hours.  I'm just looking for ideas and methods that people use.  
Question by:jpletcher1
    LVL 4

    Accepted Solution

    Either have a software shutting down the system gracefully after 15 minutes of the outage, and make sure startup is commenced manually when power returns, not automatically.

    Or have a generators and fuel good for 48hours or 2x whatever maximum period you expect the site may be left unattended. This way you can do a clean shutdown manually. The UPSes should then cover about 10 minutes for a generator to come online. Do not forget testing that the generator can actually start - every three months or so.

    Factors would include (but aren't limited to)
    1. Availability of UPS software to shutdown whatever systems you may have, over the network. Or if you can arrange one machine physically connected to UPS which is scripted to shut down others on a loss of power. Depends much on operating systems in use.

    2. Number of systems and power requirements for the generator.

    3. Possible local regulations concerning fuel reserves on site (I presume indoors - fire service may get concerned).
    LVL 12

    Assisted Solution

    reclaime summarized it perfectly...

    a software based shutdown after 15 or 20 minutes of outage is the best bet since 24/7 availability is not a requirement.
    needless to say, your UPSs should be controllable by network.

    diesel generators with automatic self start (triggered by network) should be installed.

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