Is it time to replace your uninterruptible power supply?

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Like all other IT equipment, an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) has a finite lifespan. The average expected lifecycle of a UPS is eight-to-ten years. The batteries typically need to be replaced at least three times during that lifespan. Of course, once a UPS reaches the end of its lifespan, it should be replaced to mitigate downtime. Businesses can now save money and reduce their carbon footprint by replacing their UPSs with more sustainable, feature-rich models, particularly at edge computing sites.

Newer UPS models offer many advantages: They are smaller, weigh less, and are equipped with batteries that have a longer lifecycle. To help reduce carbon emissions, some new UPS models are also built with sustainable materials, including recycled metal. This development is significant because organizations are increasingly buying only equipment that meets stricter environmental specifications.

decision making uninterruptible power supply

In addition to addressing sustainability, which is becoming even more important with the increased adverse impacts of climate change, replacing legacy UPSs also fills an immediate need to prevent downtime. Most organizations do a good job of tracking UPS health and performance. However, sometimes UPSs at edge computing sites that often have no IT staff on-site are overlooked, and units remain in place when nearing the end of life or even past their usefulness.

Uninterruptible power supply selection criteria

When choosing a uninterruptible power supply, IT teams can evaluate two criteria. One is the life of the unit itself – up to ten years. The second consideration is batteries. Every UPS unit has a battery, which as mentioned, must be replaced up to three times. Newer models, however, carry lithium-ion batteries that last as long as the UPSs themselves. This translates to less maintenance. Businesses can avoid the expense of sending technicians to remote locales to change a battery. 

The main point to remember is UPSs are in place for a reason. They protect critical infrastructure from power surges and quality issues that may damage equipment and provide temporary power during an electrical outage. 

If an outage occurs with a UPS that is no longer working, a company can lose data and suffer equipment damage. Of course, downtime can be expensive because of lost revenue and reduced productivity. The Uptime Institute recently reported that two-thirds of all outages cost more than $100,000. If the UPS is working, but at less than full capacity because of its age, its runtime during an outage can be considerably less, say 20 minutes instead of an expected 30 minutes, which is important when every minute counts.

Smaller footprint

Besides avoiding downtime, companies can save rack space with new UPSs. As businesses add technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR), they need bigger servers with larger chipsets and circuit boards, leaving less space for UPSs. Therefore, UPSs with a smaller footprint are preferable. Newer UPS models are smaller while offering more power protection. Companies can save anywhere from 1U to 8U of rack space, making it easier to plan future technology deployments.

More sustainable and secure

Other advantages of newer uninterruptible power supply models involve sustainability and security. New UPSs are more efficient than legacy models. More efficient models generate less heat and are built with recyclable materials. For companies with large fleets of UPSs, there is a cumulative positive effect when deploying new UPSs. Businesses can save money on cooling and power, while reducing their carbon footprint. 

Unlike legacy models, new UPSs have security features such as available doors with locks to prevent tampering, whether intentional or accidental. Another is a user interface that can be programmed to accept only the credentials of specific individuals. This also prevents tampering and supports cyber and physical security policies.

Yet another important feature is remote monitoring and management. While some legacy models had remote capabilities, newer UPSs are more sophisticated. They are compatible with Schneider Electric’s remote management platform, which provides visibility into the UPS environment to track performance, enhance security, and collect data for predictive maintenance.

A smarter UPS for edge environments

UPS models that meet all the criteria discussed above – sustainability, smaller footprint, higher efficiency, longer lifecycles – include APC Smart-UPS Ultra and Smart-UPS Modular Ultra. These units are an ideal choice when it comes to replacing legacy UPSs to modernize power management. 

Having UPSs at the edge performing at their best is critical to IT operations. If you haven’t been keeping up your UPS fleet, now is a good time for an assessment. Figure out what units should be replaced and take advantage of new features that help you save money and move toward a sustainable future. Learn more about sustainable and reliable power protection for your business.

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