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Energy/Electricity Storage and Use/Grid Connection => Low Energy Computing => Topic started by: dan_b on May 15, 2020, 12:01:51 PM



Title: Got to spec a UPS for my work server room
Post by: dan_b on May 15, 2020, 12:01:51 PM
Any IT gurus here who can help me choose a UPS for my company's new office/ new server set-up?

I gamely volunteered to do this and don't really know where to start!


Title: Re: Got to spec a UPS for my work server room
Post by: Fintray on May 15, 2020, 12:18:23 PM
I would expect you will need to know what is the electric load of the server and whether you want it to just do a controlled shut down in the event of mains failure or you need it to continue running for period of time.


Title: Re: Got to spec a UPS for my work server room
Post by: RIT on May 15, 2020, 12:43:35 PM
As well as the info list Fintray has already provided,

   - How many servers
   - Which OS(s)
   - What form of notification/monitoring is required
   - What if any expandability is required - output and or runtime.
   - Will the UPS have to support cabinet fans and/or aircon?
   - Are the servers being spec'ed with redundant power supplies and if so what is the reason. (added)

The standard process I have always followed is to

    - Work out all the current/future and possible requirements.
    - Find the correct APC Smart-UPS to match the requirement list.
    - Recover from the price shock.
    - Working with the business, start reducing the requirement list to what is truly needed over say 2-3 years, so reducing the solution cost
    - See if there are any other vendors who can now match your refined requirement list, if not purchase the APC unit that now matches your needs.

key things when talking to people about their needs

    - You need the real kW draw from the servers, not what is printed on the flier.
    - Most UPSs are rated in VA, not kW so you also have to worry about the power factor as VA x PF = Watts. Rule of thumb value of PF for a good server is 0.9, but lower for fans and AC.
    - More costly UPS will have a management board and talk to software agents on each server, virtual machine over the network. Cheaper configurations will depend on software that is installed on one of the servers.
    - If the expected load is getting to 12A you need to consider the mains wiring as the UPS will need more than a 13A socket. (added)


Title: Re: Got to spec a UPS for my work server room
Post by: Countrypaul on May 15, 2020, 01:06:04 PM
You also need to be clear about what you wish to accomplish with a  UPS.  If you wish to avoid the server(s) going just due to a short dip in the mains (<1sec), a short powercut (<10mins) or longer (some UPSs shutdown after a few minutes s make sure you know).  Are you just protecting the server(s) or do you also need to protect the networking equipment, such as Internet router, Ethernet switches, Wireless Access Points, etc. No poit in keeping the server(s) running for an hour if the networking infrastructure means no-one can access them. Remember Laptops will contine working so could be using the Internet, printing etc. without the server(s) if the network is still up.

Server(s) often have redundant power supplies so you can connect one server to 2 UPS's. This can be very helpful when you have to change the batteries in the UPS (every couple of years as you don't want to wait until there is a dead one as you know when that will be).

Don't forget to budget for the regular battery replacements.

Make sure sure you know what server(s) require the presence of other server(s), for example no point in protectin the web server and databse server if you have an aplication server between them that is not protected.


Title: Re: Got to spec a UPS for my work server room
Post by: RIT on May 15, 2020, 01:49:22 PM

Server(s) often have redundant power supplies so you can connect one server to 2 UPS's. This can be very helpful when you have to change the batteries in the UPS (every couple of years as you don't want to wait until there is a dead one as you know when that will be).


There is a caveat to that, it depends on how the power supplies are configured and so you need to ask the vendor. They have to be able to run from independent phases and so handle the situation where the 2 UPSs are running independently from each other and so there is a chance that across the 2 supplies there is 480V difference. In the past, I have seen some very costly servers 'pop' due to independent power supplies being plugged into different phases due to clever/stupid cabinet wiring.

The standard rule for general office comms cabinets is that you never put yourself in the position of having 2 phase power within a cabinet as the H&S rules for multi-phase working are far higher than 230v working. Anyone who does will need to do additional risk assessment work and place high voltage stickers everywhere.


Title: Re: Got to spec a UPS for my work server room
Post by: dan_b on May 15, 2020, 04:31:13 PM
Thanks all.
For this initial set-up, this UPS is to protect our existing 3x NAS rack file servers (Two are Synology, one is a QNAP) and 3x associated pieces of internet/local network infrastructure (DrayTeck Router/Firewall, Dlink 10Gb Switch, VirginFibre Modem) so that we can ride out a relatively short (10min) power cut and have time for a controlled shut-down.   We're not running any databases that are accessed remotely, so it's mainly about protecting our own data (we're a video production and animation studio, so the multi-TB worth of files from video shoots etc are basically our lifeblood).

The Virgin Modem, and one of the Synology servers have redundant PSUs but at the moment we have them connected to the same single phase.

At the moment that lot all together has a maximum load of 300W.

I hadn't thought to drive the rack case fans from the UPS.

I can envisage a time in the next 2 years when we'll add another QNAP.  And I guess we'll probably want to be adding some office CCTV with remote monitoring at some point  (we're moving into our own property). 

I've had someone else say "just get an APC" but I was wondering/hoping if some of the less costly ones were worth it for a budget-conscious company!




Title: Re: Got to spec a UPS for my work server room
Post by: marshman on May 15, 2020, 06:38:52 PM
so it's mainly about protecting our own data (we're a video production and animation studio, so the multi-TB worth of files from video shoots etc are basically our lifeblood).

I've had someone else say "just get an APC" but I was wondering/hoping if some of the less costly ones were worth it for a budget-conscious company!


How do you square those two statements??  If your data is the lifeblood of your company you can't afford to lose it so get a decent UPS - APC.

 Do you have offsite backups of your valuable data as well?  Its OK having NAS drives in various flavours of RAID arrays but if they are all in the same room running on the same supply one well aimed lightning strike and your data could be toast, one fire, they are gone and your business doesn't recover - worth thinking about if you haven't already done so.

Regard it as an investment in piece of mind rather than a cost!


Title: Re: Got to spec a UPS for my work server room
Post by: RIT on May 15, 2020, 07:01:49 PM
Why APC? For the simple reason that if an APC UPS goes wrong no one is going to point a finger and blame you for the choice. Saving 25% of the purchase price on a device that should last many years is a false saving. When I say many years I mean it as my personal APC UPS is now about 15 years old, network-enabled and still supported by current systems. You can also still get the batteries for it, which is good as my last pair did die last year.

The fact that you have Synology and QNAP devices is going to set rather firm requirements anyway as you need these to monitor the UPS and shut down once the battery level drops. So you need a device that they support and one that connects to the network as 3 devices from 2 different manufactures are not going to be able to share a USB link. My guess is that once you check their supported UPSs you will end up with an APC Smart-UPS as the only valid option.

As Marshman as already noted, what is your off-site plan for the data?


Title: Re: Got to spec a UPS for my work server room
Post by: biff on May 15, 2020, 07:24:11 PM
APC Build good stuff,
        Many of the newer ones have built in timers that switch everything off after a max of 20 mins on the external packs so you would have to specify to your APC salesperson that you would be looking for features that will include solar charging of External packs with no factory pre set inbuilt timer. Symmetry rm will have a latest edition of their 4.5kw modular baby. Expensive but it's  the bees knees.
        Biff


Title: Re: Got to spec a UPS for my work server room
Post by: dan_b on May 15, 2020, 10:35:08 PM
Thanks all.
Weíre a small studio but have grown quickly in the last year so doing this all for the first time!
January last year we literally just had the one 4 bay Synology which did everything with no redundancy.. Now we have more capacity and performance, plus two layers of backup/ recovery in the office environment.
We have an offsite back up - another QNAP which is located in the bossís garage.
And we also have a cloud copy of that as well for a real last resort.


Title: Re: Got to spec a UPS for my work server room
Post by: RIT on May 15, 2020, 11:38:25 PM
We have an offsite back up - another QNAP which is located in the bossís garage.

In that case, as you plan for UPSs find the cheapest one that QNAP can support receiving a simple shutdown due to power loss signal from and add it to the setup in the boss' garage.

A power outage is a great way to cause a NAS to do very unpleasant things to a disk array, regardless of what RAID configuration it is set to as its the ultimate stress test on all the moving parts and software components.