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How do you choose the best uninterruptible power supply?

Here are the factors to consider when choosing uninterruptible power supplies to ensure systems remain online in the event of a power outage.

The method used to select the best uninterruptible power supply (UPS) for your data center will vary depending...

on the type of equipment you need to power. The first step is to decide what you plan to run off each battery. Will it be a single computer or an entire rack? Do you also need to power peripherals such as monitors?

Once you have an idea of what each battery will power, you can determine the best uninterruptible power supply to deliver the required power. A quick and easy way to get started is to look at the power supply rating for each device, which reflects maximum output. For example, the PC under my desk has a 400-watt power supply, but it has probably never needed to deliver more than 250 watts. Even so, it's OK to overestimate power requirements because it translates into longer-lasting batteries.

A quick and easy way to get started is to look at the power supply rating for each device, which reflects maximum output.

Once you know the total wattage that could be consumed, multiply the number of watts by 1.6. That tells you the minimum number of volt-amperes (VA) your uninterruptible power supply must deliver to power the system. For example, my 400-watt PC would require a UPS with a VA rating of at least 640. This is the minimum value; higher VA ratings generally translate into longer run times.

One last bit of advice: Don't forget about powering network hardware. It won't do you much good to keep your servers up and running if your network switches are down.

Next Steps

Do uninterruptible power supply systems offer adequate protection?

Who is ultimately responsible for your uninterruptible power supply?

Pick the right-sized UPS for your data center

This was last published in April 2015

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