Vital Operating Equipment- The Uninterruptible Power Supply
Few things are more essential to the continued operation of your business as the UPS -the (Uninterruptible Power Supply). Your organization’s UPS is the large bank of batteries that sit quietly (let’s hope) in your server room or telco closet. When you have a power spike, surge, or complete loss of power, the UPS picks up the slack, so that the momentary blips in the power grid are not service impacting for your business.
This simple yet sophisticated piece of equipment monitors the power coming from the wall, and instantaneously takes over the job of powering your equipment should the worst occur. This vigilant guardian of your infrastructure works continuously, day and night, tirelessly monitoring and defending your castle from the horrors of the outside world. It asks only one thing in return: Listen to it!
Don’t Ignore the Warning Signs
If you start getting that infamous high-pitched beep or squeal from the server room or telco closet, do not ignore it! As a technician, I’ve seen too many cases where someone has silenced the alarm on their company’s UPS. While this addresses the annoying and immediate issue of the noise, doing so is not a valid solution to the underlying problem. The problem most often indicated by your UPS alarm is that one or more of the internal batteries has died. This does not typically cause your powered equipment to shut down, or experience any issues that would indicate a catastrophic failure is imminent. That is until you lose power.
If your UPS batteries are dead, or otherwise not doing their job (as indicated by the alarm), then the moment you lose power, have a surge, or even a momentary blip in power quality, you will know it. Your users will suddenly ask why the Internet isn’t working. Inevitably one of them will pick up the phone to ask you the boss, and they will find their phone has no dial tone. Within moments, complete and utter panic sets in, and civilization as we know it ceases to exist! Or at the very least, production from your valuable employees comes to a grinding halt. On too many late nights (and Monday mornings) I’ve had upset business owners demanding answers as to why a technician could allow this to happen!
Just Replace the Batteries
“Thousands of dollars are being lost every hour,” they cry, as they sit in utter reliance on their friendly technician to restore their service to some semblance or normalcy. It’s only when they are reminded of the estimate they have had sitting on their desk for three weeks you know, the one to replace the batteries in the UPS that the sad truth finally dawns on them. This all could have been avoided. This dramatization is a true story (yes, the estimate to fix the UPS had been ignored); I’ve worked through this type of scenario too many times over the years. The bottom line is this; Batteries are pretty cheap these days; replacing servers and incurring hours of overtime labor are not. Do yourself a huge favor and make sure you keep those things running, as regular as the other “UPS” in its brown trucks; they are what keep your business humming, along with your friendly technicians, of course.
-submitted by Ben Bruce, Greenville SC Engineer