The Right Stuff: Experts Offer UPS Selection Tips

Brian Kennedy •

Whether you are a veteran or a novice at selecting and implementing a UPS power system, there always seems to be something new to learn. We called on a few of our local business partner experts to find out some of the most compelling questions commercial customers ask them. Below are a few of their answers.

Q.  An IT manager with a restaurant group asked:  “Our department works hard to gather a needs assessment from the business managers, can you share a few points we should evaluate?”

A.  “That’s an important one. We often help our customers through this early process. Most businesses benefit by bringing their facilities, IT technology and even executive management together to share needs and goals.  This information lays the foundation for comparing the current situation and developing objectives for upcoming IT and system initiatives. They are asked about criticality of applications, physical space, budgets and more.  Knowing these details ensures the best decision. Finally, by asking each stakeholder, 'What does it mean if you lose power to this app/system?’, you  usually uncover the sensitive criticality factor.  Plus, you can use this information to discuss projects with other vested experts, such as an electrical contractor.”  – Fred J., Vertiv local business partner.

Q.  I remember just last month the facilities director for a regional insurance company needed to know: “What are all the inputs I should gather to develop the right power system?”

A. “Ah, this tends to be the meat and potatoes information that everyone wants in advance of making a UPS selection.  Of course, there are many details to evaluate, but shown here is a summary table with basic evaluation and consideration suggestions.

EvaluateConsider
I.D. planned  systems and connected devices Tabulate device watts, volts and amps, along with power factors and electrical phase 
Determine site's electrical status Incoming utility, switchgear, panel-boards, voltage, loading, dedicated circuit needs
Examine physical space Check footprint, ceiling, doorway, weight limitations and ventilation 
Determine best location of UPS Form factor required, IT aisle or equipment room?
Determine short term backup time needed Estimate minutes of battery/run-time
Long term backup Generator or other auxiliary power source if needed
Redundancy Degree of power redundancy needed to meet  fail-safe goals
Distribution of power Number of circuits, distance, voltage
I.D.  onsite staff’s power expertise Match to criticality with service, support and monitoring
Expected change within 3 years Plan for growth, uncertainties

Determining and then discussing these points will lead you to your best power solution. In my example, the respondent was looking for a reliable, flexible, scalable and efficient answer. One of my customers had a similar needs profile, and we specified a 100kVA/kW, 208V Liebert eXM UPS with maintenance bypass, distribution and 8 minutes of battery (at 65% load).  This new UPS most often provides the performance and flexibility demanded in midsize requirements, such as for this insurance firm, with capacity ranges from just 10kVA/kW up to 250kVA/kW.” Benjamin E., Vertiv local business partner.

Q. Recently I had an executive with an IT provider enquire:  “We operate three colocation facilities and we have been evaluating methods to better support the critical needs of several clients who want enhanced SLA availability levels.  What should we look for in our UPS performance in this reserve power architecture?”  

A. “With our extensive experience working with colocation providers, we were able to offer consultation on their power configurations and recommend modifications to the electrical system so they could leverage both dedicated and shared reserve bus architectures.  This enabled the company to offer tailored levels of redundancy that matched their customers’ applications. Our large UPS systems support rapid electrical loading, which allows for a more reliable reserve system.”  Tim G. – Vertiv local business partner.

Q. “I know a friend through my medical association who recently experienced headaches and delays when their contractor was unpacking and connecting the new UPS.  How could he have avoided this?” – Rebecca W., Network director of a 100 bed medical facility. 

A. “A UPS installation should not be a problem or painful experience ... in fact, it should be the answer to a problem. With good product design, coupled with effective planning by experienced partners, most everyone can avoid difficulties.  For example, our Liebert eXM UPS ships with a built-in ramp for easy deployment, it’s also designed to assemble quicker and has excellent access points for cabling. Plus, a team of onsite experts oversee the start-up and work with the key partners to ensure a smooth, painless install.”  Mark A., Vertiv local business partner.

Q. “I select and install UPS systems for my customers.  I remember a few jobs where the UPS didn’t have the options needed to address the customer’s requirements.  That forced me to source add-ons, which added cost and didn’t integrate or perform as advertised.  I can’t afford a damaged reputation. I found your solutions a better fit.”  - Jose P., electrical contractor.

A. “We’re glad to hear Jose is enjoying our solutions.  All of our UPS systems are professionally designed and tested.  Most components are factory installed. Our local experts follow a thorough process to ensure selection and installation integrity. With innovations like the optimized ancillaries, which actually enhance the performance, footprint and efficiency of the power system, we can meet needs more efficiently.”  Steve C., Vertiv local business partner.

Q. Here’s one from our rep who worked with a law firm earlier this year, and their attorney in charge posed this situation. “Our legal practice has 5 offices scattered around the state.  Revenue billing requires us to keep our client and research systems working.  A network coordinator was routinely traveling to check on systems.  We don’t want to needlessly send that person on the road to check on things like the power operations. Is there a better way to manage this?”

A. “This legal executive’s eyes lit up when I described the benefits of our exclusive LIFE™ Services.  I mentioned that this option provides secure, remote monitoring of the UPS system by our power experts. Remote monitoring can help prevent problems by diagnosing UPS status and even proactively dispatching service if and only when needed. This solution removed the pressure this firm had with supporting critical UPS power given their limited resources.” Alexandro O., Vertiv local business partner.

Our experts get questions like this every day, and are happy to share their expertise with the data center professionals who ask them. 

Maybe you have a question that needs answered?  Just contact us.

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