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UPS

3 Benefits of Modular UPS Systems

Because of the extensive range of technologies and topologies available in modern uninterruptible power systems (UPS’s), selecting the optimal solution to fit your business needs might seem like a daunting task.

But it doesn’t have to be. We’re going to break down the pros and cons of two prevalent UPS options: modular and standalone models.

Modular UPS’s represent an ever-growing and popular option across a wide range of market segments.

With separate components that work together as a whole system, the UPS is comprised of a combination of power and/or battery modules housed within the same cabinet.

As the fastest growing segment of the three-phase market, modular UPS sales are expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2020.

The appeal of modular power protection systems is driven by a range of benefits, including high availability, ability to scale, lower cost of ownership, ease of deployment, and reduced maintenance costs.

In this four-part blog series, we will examine the overall advantages of modular UPS’s; the reasons an organization might instead consider a standalone UPS model; and the key questions to ask when determining the best possible solution for your particular environment.

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Let’s start by assessing three of the main benefits to deploying a modular UPS solution:

High availability. When a group of modules works together as a complete system, it reduces the possibility of a single point of failure, which in turn minimizes costly downtime.

Relying on this approach also enables organizations to achieve an unmatched level of redundancy, as all critical components are duplicated and distributed between modules.

In addition, the ability to easily and quickly replace a faulty module significantly reduces mean time to repair (MTTR) and mean time between failure (MTBF), further enhancing up-time and availability.

2. Seamless Ability to Scale. Because modular UPS’s offer the flexibility to expand with changing load requirements, organizations can essentially future-proof their power protection investment.

Rather than being forced to install a much larger UPS that can eventually be “grown into,” or continually having to upgrade to a new UPS as critical loads expand, users gain a “pay-as-you-go” approach from modular solutions.

The ability to easily scale the UPS as needed — by simply adding additional power or battery modules —eliminates the need for hefty upfront capital costs, not to mention wasted electricity from an under-utilized, over-sized UPS.

Bolstered efficiency. A UPS system operates at its highest efficiency when the load is at or near the maximum rated capacity.

So a lightly loaded system — such as a UPS with more capacity than is immediately required — will be far less efficient than a unit properly sized to meet the load.

Because a modular solution offers ability to scale and the option of increasing capacity or run-time on the fly, organizations can operate their UPS solution in a much more efficient manner.

In our next blog in this series, we will examine some additional key attributes to modular UPS solutions, including how they simplify and reduce maintenance requirements and costs, offer a smaller footprint, and contribute to a clean, green environment.

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Education, UPS

The 7 Most Common Causes of UPS Failure

When it comes to malfunctions in uninterruptible power systems (UPS’s), there is unfortunately no shortage of potential mishaps.

In fact, UPS system failure ranks as the No. 1 cause of unplanned data center outages, according to a 2016 report from the Ponemon Institute.

Even more disheartening, the same study estimates the average price tag of a data center outage to be a whopping $740,357.

But don’t despair —significantly reducing the risk of a UPS failure is surprisingly simple.

By engaging in regularly scheduled preventive maintenance (PM), you can dramatically lessen the likelihood of a load loss while also extending a UPS’s overall lifespan.

Research has shown that the mean time between failures (MTBF) is more than 20 times better for UPS’s that receive preventive maintenance twice a year over those that do not.

Prevention pays off, affording the opportunity to detect and repair potential problems before they become significant and costly.

Whether you are operating aging infrastructure or looking to optimize the lifespan of a newer equipment, consider some of the most common UPS components that are susceptible to failure:

1. Batteries – As the heart of any UPS system, batteries require regular checkups to ensure they remain fit to safeguard critical systems.

Regardless of their age, batteries should be inspected semi-annually as part of a PM visit that includes testing for impedance or conductance, as well as assesses performance and evaluates any potential weaknesses.

2. Capacitors – A fairly simple device that stores and releases electrical energy, capacitors range in size and type, and generally need to be replaced every 5 to 7 years.

A typical UPS contains a dozen or more capacitors, which are responsible for smoothing out and filtering voltage fluctuations.

However, because capacitors degrade over time, annual inspection helps to optimize their operation and extend their lifespan.

Need help deciding on a UPS? Get a free site assessment!

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3. Fans – Some UPS fans may perform well for 10 years of continuous use, while others could run for just a short time before locking up or failing.

Electrical or mechanical limitations and dried out ball bearings are common issues that can result in fan failures and subsequent UPS overheating.

4. Filters – UPS’s are also prone to overheating (and shutting down) when dust or other coatings block air filters.

Because replacing filters is an inexpensive component of an effective UPS maintenance plan, they should be inspected on a monthly basis and changed as needed.

5. Connections – An annual PM visit gives a trained service technician the opportunity to inspect the UPS and battery cabinets for loose internal connections, which can result from machinery situated close to the unit or from building vibrations.

6. Power supplies – Even redundant power supplies can be impacted by input voltage surges, which can lead to stress and overheating. Yet regular inspection can identify potential issues before they cause downtime.

7. Contactors – Also susceptible to dust, UPS contactors should be inspected and cleaned regularly.

While it’s clear that UPS components are prone to failure for a variety of reasons, investing in preventive maintenance with a professional and skilled service provider will appreciably reduce your risk of downtime — and potential disaster.

At Unified Power, we are committed to delivering exceptional, timely maintenance performed by highly trained industry professionals.

Still have questions? Get a response immediately.

Click above to get started or call 240.772.1710 for instant help.

Maintenance, UPS

5 Qualities To Seek In A Power Quality Service Provider

Obtaining regularly scheduled service is one of the most successful and cost-effective approaches to ensuring the ongoing optimal performance of your critical power quality equipment.

And for companies operating aging infrastructure, these routine checkups are even more vital.

Research indicates that regular preventive maintenance (PM) can also appreciably reduce the likelihood of downtime, as it affords the opportunity to detect and repair potential problems before they become significant and costly issues.

However, when it comes to deciding on who will perform maintenance and repairs, it’s important to understand that all service providers are not created equal.

Before you trust just anyone to look under the hood of your critical equipment, consider a provider who demonstrates the following five qualities:

Solid Reputation. Seek an experienced company that specializes in working on UPS’s and power- related equipment, and make sure the firm is proficient with your specific brand(s) of equipment.

Request references from existing customers and contact them to gauge their satisfaction.

The best service companies will not only strive to maximize equipment efficiency, but also to build long-term, trusting relationships with their customers.

Need help deciding on a UPS? Get a free site assessment!

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Highly skilled technicians. Look for a company whose technicians are prepared to service any type of critical power equipment, no matter the age or product line.

Familiarity with various brands of UPS equipment — including manufacturers that are no longer active in the industry — ensures that technicians will be equipped to handle a wide range of service issues.

Ongoing Training. Displaying initial proficiency isn’t enough; the only way technicians remain that way is with regular, ongoing training.

As power quality products and technologies evolve and change, service companies must also keep pace.

Look for a provider who requires its technicians to attend manufacturers’ factory training sessions to ensure comprehensive knowledge on various UPS lines.

Annual internal training should focus on a broad spectrum of topics and be delivered through a combination of classroom, hands-on, and even online courses.

Dedicated Account Manager. Having a single point of contact with your service organization helps keep your site on track.

Your representative should coordinate all preventative maintenance and emergency service, track your equipment and replacement dates, and serve as the point person during any emergency incident.

An account manager should also work with you to develop a proactive service plan that will ultimately help you achieve long-term savings.

Emergency Response. There’s nothing that tests the reliability of a service provider like a frantic call during an unplanned downtime event.

Your service organization should not only answer that call regardless of the time of day (or night), but furnish representatives who are qualified to troubleshoot over the phone to try to resolve the issue.

If the emergency cannot be remedied, prompt on-site response time is essential.

Furthermore, easy and quick access to replacement parts is crucial for unplanned repairs, so make sure your service provider maintains a well-stocked warehouse (including discontinued and rare parts) and the ability to have components on the way to your facility in a matter of minutes when necessary.

Wondering just how vulnerable your power protection solution is? In the final installment of this series, Unified Power will break down the most common causes of UPS failures and what you can do to avoid them.

At Unified Power, we are committed to delivering exceptional, timely maintenance performed by highly trained industry professionals

Still have questions? Get a response immediately.

Click above to get started or call 240.772.1710 for instant help.

Education, UPS

5 Simple Strategies to Deal With Aging Infrastructure

With many of today’s data centers operating on decades-old technologies, downtime disasters such as the Delta Airlines fiasco have become increasingly common.

Companies are falling prey to these potentially fatal issues in large part because their existing infrastructures are unable to accommodate the rising demands of today’s enterprises.

In fact, one survey of 1,750 IT industry insiders found that 91 percent believed their data center facilities were not adequately equipped to meet the needs of current consumers and clients —even though 75 percent reported having upgraded their infrastructure within the past three years.

Yet even more disconcerting is that 41 percent revealed that data center-related issues had resulted in lost revenue.

Unfortunately, many firms do not have the budget allocated to upgrade their facilities. So what can be done to solve this dilemma?

Maintain. Studies have shown again and again that regular preventive maintenance is the single most cost-effective approach to optimize the lifespan and performance of your equipment.

Need help deciding on a UPS? Get a free site assessment!

Click above to get started or call 240.772.1710 for instant help.

Equally important is selecting the right maintenance organization to oversee the ongoing health of your critical infrastructure.

Opt for an experienced service company with a well-documented track record and reputation, and one that specializes in servicing critical infrastructure.

Also, any maintenance tasks that will be completed in-house should be clearly defined, with staff properly trained.

Document. Ensuring that all your records and documentation are up-to-date — including verification of all maintenance tasks performed — is vital for your operation, as well as to fulfill regulatory requirements.

Tie every procedure to an internal goal and objective.

Replace. While regularly scheduled preventive maintenance is paramount to the ongoing health of equipment, there are times when replacing a legacy system is ultimately the best (and cheapest) option.

Use each maintenance visit as an opportunity to gather and analyze trend data to help determine the best option for your specific devices.

Evaluate. To ensure effective decision-making, it is imperative to forecast the growth and requirements of your facility over the next 5 to 10 years.

You may want to consider hiring a data center design company to evaluate your site’s layout, especially if it is approaching capacity.

Often these firms can provide viable solutions at a fraction of what it would cost to construct a new data center.

5. Monitor. Environmental monitoring provides an accurate, real-time assessment of data center conditions at all times — an especially helpful gauge for older servers that are prone to overheating, a condition that can quickly spiral into unplanned downtime.

In addition, by implementing virtualization initiatives and software-defined networking workflows, companies can dramatically boost the effectiveness of their network infrastructure even if limited budgets prevent a complete overhaul.

Is your infrastructure in need of a checkup? Then stay tuned. In part 3 of this series, Unified Power will break down the qualities you should look for in a service provider for your critical power equipment.

At Unified Power, we are committed to delivering exceptional, timely maintenance performed by highly trained industry professionals

Still have questions? Get a response immediately.

Click above to get started or call 240.772.1710 for instant help.

Education, Maintenance, UPS

The Risks of Owning Aging Infrastructure

In the wake of the Delta Air Lines outage, IT professionals across the country breathed a collective sigh of relief that it wasn’t their network crashing and sparking a disaster of global proportions.

But in most instances, that sense of gratitude was immediately followed by a firing squad of critical reflection:  Exactly how old are our systems? When is the last time I tested our backup solution? Did I ever schedule that preventive maintenance visit? Could that same type of disaster strike MY organization?

The devastation that can result from aging infrastructure is one of the most significant lessons underscored by Delta’s downtime incident, in which a piece of failed switchgear was attributed to more than 2,100 flights being canceled over a multiple-day period.

The airline’s turbulence came on the heels of a similar outage just weeks earlier, when a faulty network router forced Southwest to cancel 2,000+ flights.

While neither the precise monetary losses nor the potential reputation damage have been assessed for either airline, both are likely to continue soaring in the skies.

But how well would your organization fare from a crisis that disrupted operations?

Need help deciding on a UPS? Get a free site assessment!

Click above to get started or call 240.772.1710 for instant help.

Consider the fact that more than 40 percent of all companies that experience such a disaster never again reopen their doors for business.

North American businesses lose $26.5 billion each year due to IT downtime and data recovery, according to data collected by Forsythe FOCUS magazine.

Aging infrastructure is a common source of these downtime events, as many legacy sites built during the boom of the late 90s and early 2000s are approaching — or have already passed — the 20-year mark.

As a result, they face issues such as insufficient capacity, wear and tear, end of life, and inadequate power and cooling.

Coupled with the continuous trends to increase power density while reducing energy costs, and the expense of constructing new facilities, a growing number of organizations are left trying to squeeze additional life out of their existing equipment.

In most cases, newer hardware has been added as technology has evolved, but the underlying infrastructure is still decades old, which tends to complicate overall management while impacting performance and security.

Yet the prospect of completely replacing aging infrastructure is expensive and time-consuming.

At Unified Power, we are committed to delivering exceptional, timely maintenance performed by highly trained industry professionals.

Still have questions? Get a response immediately.

Click above to get started or call 240.772.1710 for instant help.

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