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Topic # 150567 26-Jul-2014 23:39
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Hi All,

I need to spec a UPS for a Dell PowerEdge T320 running Hyper-V and an SBS 2011 Std VM:

http://www.dell.com/nz/business/p/poweredge-t320/pd

It would need to cover the server for say, 30 - 45 mins (obviously longer is better), plus a screen and KVM switch (USB keyboard and mouse).

Perfect world, it would also cover a VDSL (soon to be fibre) modem / router.

Even better if it could also handle another physical 'server', which is actually a Dell Optiplex PC running a LoB application.

The T320 also has a 2.5" external USB Drive plugged in (backups) and the Optiplex has an external 3.5" USB drive (backups).  Backups themselves run within about 30 mins, hence aiming for 30 - 45 mins battery time seems to make sense.

I had thought about something like this:

http://www.pbtech.co.nz/index.php?z=p&p=UPSBLZ22000&print=true

but I don't have much experience with UPS so looking for a recommendation / sanity check.

Thanks,

Alan.


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  Reply # 1096472 27-Jul-2014 08:32
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Budget UPS brands will work OK for the first year but they do a rubbish job of looking after the crappy quality batteries they ship with and of reporting the battery condition.

As a part of checking servers when I took over a new site, I used to run a self-test on the UPS.  This turned out to be a bad idea.  With cheap UPS in most cases the server would lose power because the UPS battery was effectively dead even though the UPS was not reporting any issues.  This is worse than no UPS in my opinion as the client was under the illusion their expensive equipment was protected.  I now schedule these tests for out of hours with the server sitting in a BIOS screen or similar so the OS is not at risk.

If you want DECENT protection, look for recommendations from others, but don't listen to recommendations from anyone dealing with servers for less than 10 years.  I've been doing this almost 20 years.

This will be an investment.  If you really want 45 minutes runtime then it will be a much larger investment.  For most of our sites we have 5 mins runtime and then a 5 minute shutdown window.  In reality if the power is off for 5 minutes, it is likely to be off for a while.  You also need to leave plenty of capacity in the battery.  If the power comes back on and the server powers up, and then the power goes off again (I've seen this happen more than once when a 'fix' for power problems fails after a short time), your battery needs to be able to sustain the server while it finishes booting, sees the shutdown signal from the UPS in the management software, and then does another shutdown.

Stick with APC or Eaton if you want premium protection.  These are the top brands that I am aware of.  We have had excellent results with HP branded UPS devices as well.

Something else to think about is the software and communications cable.  Each UPS comes with one, to be able to tell the server to shut down when the battery is low and provide other monitoring information to the management software.  More advanced UPS devices can have a card added that will give extra communication connections to additional servers.  An inelegant option is to have the server with the communications cable send a command to the second server instructing it to shut down over the network.  This will work as long as the network equipment is powered from the UPS.  Or buy two smaller UPS devices - one for each server.

Without measuring the power used by your two machines, I think the HP T1500 G3 UPS would keep both machines running for 15-20 mins (maybe longer) and you should be able to get it for under $900 +GST.  HP UPS Best Practises Guide here has some useful information.  Note the faster you drain a battery, the less overall power you can get out of it.  If you run a UPS at 50% load and get 15 minutes out of it, running the UPS at 100% load won't give you 7.5 minutes, it will give you around 5 minutes.

I'm a fan of the APC Smart-UPS range http://www.apc.com/products/family/index.cfm?id=165.  They have a basic sizing calculator, and a number of their UPS devices have Extended Run options where you can buy a second battery pack to plug into the UPS to give longer runtime.  APC is not a budget brand (though they do have some quite good inexpensive desktop-PC-rated UPS devices.

Hope this gets you started down the track of a decent solution.  If you would like some more detailed help in a professional capacity, let me know.

Cheers
Mike




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  Reply # 1096482 27-Jul-2014 09:00
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UPS size calculator. You're in the right ballpark for size, maybe not for quality. Plus, what Dynamic said.




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  Reply # 1096487 27-Jul-2014 09:36
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HP make pretty good UPS's and we have been selling them for 10 years +

The new power protector software not bad also. 

I also second the cheaper UPS's not lasting very long. 

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  Reply # 1096499 27-Jul-2014 10:21
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we recently load tested all our ups at work and this is what we found

an Eaton 5130 (3kva/2700w) with 1000w of load on it lasts about 20 minutes
an Eaton 9125 (3kva/2700w) with a single EBM gives 64 minutes with 1000w of load on it which makes sence as the EBM has 2x the batteries that the ups unit has.
an APC smart ups 620 (620va 390w) with 150w load lasted about 40 minutes

a single HP G7 server with dual power supplies, 2 processors, 2 HDD's and 4 ram sticks uses about 300w

just food for thought



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  Reply # 1096594 27-Jul-2014 13:19
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Hi All,

Firstly - thank you for the replies - you never know how much (little!) you know about something until you meet someone that clearly knows loads more :-)

Question:

If I were to go for an APC / Eaton / HP (say), how long might I reasonably expect it to last before having to replace the batteries, and, if the answer is, say, five years or more, would it be more likely to end up replacing the entire unit?

Am I correct in guessing that the cheaper brands (such as the Blazer Pro I referenced in my OP but anything other than one of the three premium brands you mention) would last only a year or so? 

I need to give some 'TCO' costings, so purchase price is one thing, but estimated lifetime is also important and I suspect that the better quality brands will work out not much more expensive over the years?

Thanks again,

Alan.



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  Reply # 1096596 27-Jul-2014 13:32
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The batteries in baby UPS (ie under 33Ah batteries) are 5 year design life. Generally they have an 18 month warranty with a 3-4 year economic service life, with service by replacement.

Bigger batteries (33Ah and up) are 10 year design life with a 2-3 year warranty and have a 6-8 year economic service life, once again service by replacement.

These are all VRLA AGM batteries so there isn't alot you can do to extend their lives, other than keep them fully charged on a nicely rectified charger. Batteries hate being taken above their gassing voltage as they give off hydrogen, and if you undercharge them tey die really fast.

I used to sell and service DC systems and sold UPS batteries by the pallet so I have some back ground in the battery side.



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  Reply # 1096604 27-Jul-2014 14:00
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Hi Handle9,

Handle9: The batteries in baby UPS (ie under 33Ah batteries) are 5 year design life. Generally they have an 18 month warranty with a 3-4 year economic service life, with service by replacement.

Bigger batteries (33Ah and up) are 10 year design life with a 2-3 year warranty and have a 6-8 year economic service life, once again service by replacement.

These are all VRLA AGM batteries so there isn't alot you can do to extend their lives, other than keep them fully charged on a nicely rectified charger. Batteries hate being taken above their gassing voltage as they give off hydrogen, and if you undercharge them tey die really fast.

I used to sell and service DC systems and sold UPS batteries by the pallet so I have some back ground in the battery side.


Does that apply equally across brands, or just for APC / Eaton / HP?

Are the cheaper ones shorter life?

Thanks,

Alan.

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  Reply # 1096635 27-Jul-2014 15:21
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For clients on a 3 year server replacement cycle, I normally supply a new quality UPS for one cycle, and refresh it's batteries for the second cycle.  I've never had an unexpected failure with a server-class APC or HP UPS with this rotation scheme.  Our in-house servers use ex-customer UPS devices in years 3-6 of their life.

Some clients keep their 3 year old servers for a second cycle and relegate them to secondary roles, in which case the UPS gets a new set of batteries at the 3 years but stays with the used server(s).  If I recall correctly, APC have a re-certification program where if you have one of their UPS serviced and batteries replaced by an authorised agent, you get a fresh 12 month warranty on the UPS.

I've seen enough cheap UPS failures in years 2 and 3 that I trust them as far as I can throw them.  They are designed to meet a price point, not a performance or longevity specification.

Handle9 might be able to elabourate more, but I understand the better brands both use higher quality batteries and both look after and monitor those batteries better.

YMMV.




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  Reply # 1096645 27-Jul-2014 15:42
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Hi Dynamic,

Dynamic: For clients on a 3 year server replacement cycle, I normally supply a new quality UPS for one cycle, and refresh it's batteries for the second cycle.  I've never had an unexpected failure with a server-class APC or HP UPS with this rotation scheme.  Our in-house servers use ex-customer UPS devices in years 3-6 of their life.

Some clients keep their 3 year old servers for a second cycle and relegate them to secondary roles, in which case the UPS gets a new set of batteries at the 3 years but stays with the used server(s).  If I recall correctly, APC have a re-certification program where if you have one of their UPS serviced and batteries replaced by an authorised agent, you get a fresh 12 month warranty on the UPS.

I've seen enough cheap UPS failures in years 2 and 3 that I trust them as far as I can throw them.  They are designed to meet a price point, not a performance or longevity specification.

Handle9 might be able to elabourate more, but I understand the better brands both use higher quality batteries and both look after and monitor those batteries better.

YMMV.


Sound like a good approach.

If we use the HP UPS mentioned up above that would cost about $900 new as an example, what would you guess / estimate the cost of new batteries three years down the track to be?  I realise that's somewhat crystal ball gazing, but just a rough guess based on past history is fine.  To get a TCO, I figure I have to add that to the $900 and it will give me a TCO for an entire six year lifespan of the server (good assumption it will end up as a secondary - probably running a LOB app or something after about three years).


Thanks,

Alan.

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  Reply # 1096646 27-Jul-2014 15:48
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Alan3285: ...what would you guess / estimate the cost of new batteries three years down the track to be?

Have a talk to IT Power who specialise in this sort of thing.  We ring them, give them a UPS model (we have only ever asked for battery packs for an APC or HP) and they generally give a price on the spot and send out product next day.

I could not be happier with their level of service in every dealing so far.  http://www.itpower.co.nz/products-services/apc-ups-battery-rbk-rbc-kit-cartridge.htm 




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  Reply # 1096648 27-Jul-2014 15:54
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Hi Dynamic,

Dynamic:
Alan3285: ...what would you guess / estimate the cost of new batteries three years down the track to be?

Have a talk to IT Power who specialise in this sort of thing.  We ring them, give them a UPS model (we have only ever asked for battery packs for an APC or HP) and they generally give a price on the spot and send out product next day.

I could not be happier with their level of service in every dealing so far.  http://www.itpower.co.nz/products-services/apc-ups-battery-rbk-rbc-kit-cartridge.htm 


I shall do that.

You couldn't give me a rough guess by any chance?  Are we talking about $100 or $750 on the $900 unit?

No reliance at my end, no responsibility on you :-)

Thanks either way,

Alan.

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  Reply # 1096651 27-Jul-2014 16:07
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If I remember correctly, the last battery pack we bought tor an APC 1500va UPS was around the $350 +GST mark, and for an HP 750va was around the $170 +GST mark.




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  Reply # 1096713 27-Jul-2014 18:44
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the batteries them selves are about $30 each (depending on where you get them from and what sort of deal you get, a 72v battery module takes 6 batteries.

depends on weather you use genuine batteries or OEM equilvant

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  Reply # 1096744 27-Jul-2014 20:24
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Dynamic: If I remember correctly, the last battery pack we bought tor an APC 1500va UPS was around the $350 +GST mark...


I run an APC 1500VA UPS - the last time I bought a battery pack (APC Replacement Battery Cartridge #7) it cost $250 incl GST.*

As others have already said, don't waste your money on a cheap UPS.

* Ascent Technology Wellington




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  Reply # 1097780 29-Jul-2014 11:11
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On a side note. With all the competion from dirt cheap Chinese UPS's , will the cheap/entry level APC's actually be any good ?


You are going to be spending a bit of $$ to get a good APC etc, so...
Seriously consider having it professionally serviced & tested after 3 years, rather than just replacing batts yourself.
Ive seen UPS's have batts replaced only to fail again within a short time (one destroyed the new batts within a week) . We dont even bother replacing batts anymore , we just replace the whole thing (Unless its a very expensive UPS)

As mentioned above, for the sort of runtime you want, use the APC Calculator, dont guess

http://www.apc.com/tools/ups_selector/index.cfm?action=build_form_a&device_type=workstation&app_type=workstation&showChassis=1&showMonitor=1&showProcessor=1&showVoltages=1&showIntDrives=1&showPeripherals=1&showPrinter=1&appUsed=basic&showHardDrives=1&cgi_referer_check=&return_query_string=

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