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An Uninterruptible Power supply, commonly known as a UPS, is a battery backup power system that offers clean backup power to your business during a power outage. Downtime caused by power outages can be very frustrating and can be a financial concern for most businesses or organizations. That is why understanding how to choose a quality UPS that best fits your business makes a huge difference in preventing the loss of important data while reducing the effects a hard shutdown can cause on your equipment. Here are some essential criteria to consider in selecting the ideal UPS for your business:
1. Determine the amount of power required by the devices that need UPS protection as well as UPS capacity
Assess which of your devices need UPS battery backup protection and the power it requires so that you can calculate the required UPS capacity. The required UPS capacity is the sum of the power consumption of the devices to be connected to the UPS. If your devices require more power than the UPS can generate, your devices will not operate efficiently, regardless of the battery's actual amount of energy remaining. Also, consider the power consumption of the devices that are critical to the daily operation of your business, the applications each component supports, and how the loss of that application will affect your organization. Power consumption can typically be seen on the equipment nameplate or manufacturer documentation.
2. Consider the necessary UPS runtime for your devices and applications
Examine the desired UPS runtime for continued operation in case of a blackout. The primary goal is to have enough runtime to shut down servers and workstations to avoid data loss safely. If you have a generator for extended backup power, the required runtime of the UPS may only be around 5 minutes or so for you to start up safely and transition to your generator set. Nowadays, networks and Internet access are critical, so you may want to have 1 to 2 hours of runtime to ride through most outages. The more equipment you connect to a single UPS, the shorter its overall runtime will be, so it's best to consider using separate UPS for certain applications.
3. Know the number of outlets required
Identify your devices that need UPS to support and check if the UPS has enough outlets to meet your primary needs. Consider leaving some room for growth. For larger businesses that require an industrial UPS, the necessity for electric support will be significantly higher.
You can use a power distribution unit (PDU) to provide additional outlets; however, doing this requires extreme caution to avoid overloading your UPS.
You should understand the features of the UPS you are planning to purchase to determine if it has enough battery backup outlets to meet your requirements. It is safe to choose a system with a greater number of outlets than the actual requirement and provide room for emergency support.
4. Evaluate the UPS installation requirements
There is a wide range of UPS options to choose from, offering unique features and various sizes. There are standalone units that sit on the floor or a desk or shelf and often back up desktop computers, servers, and routers within an office. At the same time, some UPS models can be rack-mounted and are typically designed to fit in a standard IT rack together with other equipment. Some UPSs use lithium-ion batteries instead of the traditional lead-acid batteries that tend to be smaller and lighter than similar models, enabling more backup power capacity that fits even in small spaces.
5. Consider the battery service life
Batteries normally degenerate over time, and a UPS battery service life usually lasts for 3 to 5 years. A three-year mark is ideal for planning and conducting a battery replacement to prevent UPS failure.