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What type of battery backup is necessary for servers?

Posted on 2014-09-23
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Last Modified: 2014-10-08
We have had our Cyberpower 2200 backup die.  We have 2 servers for our office of 35 employees.  I would like to know if we need to replace that backup with a similar type (Cyberpower)  or will a Tripp Lite back up work just as well?  We have other Tripp Lite backups that the switches are plugged in to. I have no clue as to how to tell what would be sufficient if we lose power. Any help would be appreciated.
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Question by:tideboat
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by:Brian Pringle
Brian Pringle earned 166 total points
ID: 40340126
The brand does not matter.  You want to look at the VA rating of it and just purchase one with comparable ratings and the same number of plugs.  Look at your old UPS and see how many ports say "Battery" (some are surge only).  Get a new one that has at least that many plugs for battery and has at least the same VA rating.

CyberPower is good, though.  I strictly use them now because they seem to be more reliable and last longer at a much lower price.
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by:rindi
ID: 40340210
You need a battery backup that can supply your systems for long enough until the servers and storage systems have been been shutdown gracefully. Also, the UPS needs to be able to tell the servers that they need to shutdown now because of mains power loss, so just a "dumb" UPS won't be any good. You'll have to find out how much power your devices consume, and also how long they have to keep on running after a power failure, and based on that you can dimension the requirements of the PSU.
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by:Dr. Klahn
Dr. Klahn earned 167 total points
ID: 40340621
Having dealt with Cyberpower in the past, I can't recommend their equipment.  When I returned a defective UPS to their offices in Minnesota, and asked for their tech support to discuss some issues in the hardware, I was told "We have no idea.  We farm out both design and manufacturing to the Far East."

This is not the level of support you want in a UPS.

IMO, APC is what you want when dealing with anything that is used in a business.  The units are designed well, can be repaired, and the batteries are (a) accessible, (b) standard and (c) available at battery stores or on ebay.  When an APC UPS fails, it's repairable.  Cyberpower throws their units out when they fail.

I have nothing against TrippLite and indeed I use one on my own PC.  But given the choice, I'd buy a good used APC over a brand new TrippLite if it was going into a business.

rindi's comments above are well taken.  Not only must the UPS power the servers while power is down, the UPS must be able to communicate with the servers.  When the UPS batteries run down to critical level the UPS should tell the server, "Hey, you need to shut down now."

Note that UPS ratings are deceiving.  They are rated in KVA, kilo volt-amperes and not KW, kilo watts.  This is due to both real power and reactive power being pulled on the UPS outputs.  A 2.2 KW UPS could be expected to satisfactorily run a 1.5 KW server.  75% of the KVA rating is a reasonable rule of thumb for the actual usable power in KW.

The larger the UPS capacity, the longer it will run your servers.   A 2.2 KVA UPS with a run rating of 5 minutes is not the same thing as a 2.2 KVA UPS with a run rating of 1 hour.  Look over the manufacturer's ratings carefully to see how long the UPS will run your equipment.
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by:Brian Pringle
ID: 40340631
Unfortunately, they all outsource them now...

I used to be an APC fan and would only purchase their equipment.  I used to live by their plant in southwest Florida.  About 12 years ago (might be a little longer...) they closed that plant and outsourced the entire operation.  I switched to TrippLite and they did the same thing.  CyberPower has been really reliable and the batteries have lasted me longer than any of the newer APC or TrippLite units.

I wanted to still purchase APC for the ability to replace the battery, but the company that makes the batteries for APC is the same one that makes replacements for TrippLite and CyberPower.  But, more times than not, the replacement that you find on Amazon or eBay is a cheap knock-off that is nowhere near as good as the original battery.

You will pay more for APC and for the replacement battery.  For me, I replace the whole unit every 3-5 years and get a new warranty.  I figure that if I am getting a product made in China no matter which one I get, I am going to get the most for my money and the one that gives me the best performance.  It is a personal preference, as I talk to many people on both sides of the fence (or all three sides?).  It is like Chevy vs. Ford vs. Hyundai.  Are the Chevy and Ford really any better or do we like them because they are a domestic brand?

Now, in the $3000+ range.... APC still wins.
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Mohammed Khawaja earned 167 total points
ID: 40340636
I have used MGE, TrippLite, APC, PowerWare, Exide, etc. in the past and they are all decent.  What you need to do is maintain a support agreement so that the batteries are reconditioned and replacement once they reach their lifespan.  In your case, I would recommend using Tripplite Load Calculator to find the right products.  If you are interested in APC or any other brand, still use the TrippLite load calculator as it will tell you how many VAs you need as well as additional battery packs (if required).  Link for the Load Calculator is below:

http://www.tripplite.com/products/load-calculator/type/ups/popup/0
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Author Closing Comment

by:tideboat
ID: 40369146
I appreciate the input ... Thank you for your time.
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