So you need a new UPS system and you’ve already identified the Voltage and kW load requirements for your environment. How do you then decide which UPS to purchase and from which manufacturer?

Regardless of the size of UPS you are looking for, there are several factors below that can help you differentiate one UPS from another. Not all UPS systems are created equal even though their power ratings may be similar.

1. Immediate and Long Term Power Requirements If kW load is expected to increase over the next 2 to 5 years, a scalable UPS solution may be the best option.
2. UPS Efficiency The efficiency of a UPS system will have a substantial effect on energy costs over the life of the product.  Be sure to look at the kW rating of the system rather than kVA.  Two competitive UPS products could have the same kVA rating but one may deliver more usable power (Watts) vs. the other.
3. Redundancy and Availability

How critical are the IT systems being protected by the UPS to your overall business?  If a power outage occurs, what is the financial impact?  How would your job or your manager’s job be affected?  This will help in deciding what level of redundancy is needed in the UPS design.

Ask your UPS provider:

  • Which components are redundant? Why is this important?
  • Can multiple UPS systems be paralleled? Why do I need this?
  • Does the facility have a generator?  If not, how much backup time do we need?
4. Battery Type and Upgrade Options
  • Battery type: Sealed VRLA, Flooded, or Battery-less (flywheel)? What’s the difference?
  • Upgrade options: Does it scale with a whole new cabinet or can you just add battery modules?
  • Is the amount of battery compliant to code?
5. Bypass Options

A Bypass is designed to allow power to continue supporting IT loads in the event something happens to the UPS or if the entire system needs to be taken offline for repairs.

There are two types of bypass designs for UPS systems:

  • Internal Bypass – Protects against internal component failures inside the UPS.
  • External Bypass – This is usually called a wrap-around bypass and it allows power to be completely routed around a UPS system when maintenance is required or if the UPS has to be moved or replaced. Are you ready to have an external bypass installed?
6. Management and Monitoring

UPS systems have numerous options available for monitoring and management and several communication methods are available for integration into existing management applications.  Here are some questions to consider:

  • Will it tie into your current Network Management or Building Management system?
  • What kind of alerts can you receive?
  • What types of control will you have over the UPS?
  • What types of connections are available (Serial, LAN, Relay)?
  • Is there software available to gracefully shutdown systems before the UPS Batteries are completely depleted?  Will this work with Virtual Servers as well?
7. Maintenance, Warranty, and Support

When selecting a UPS solution, it’s important to understand what level of support is available.  Similar to automobiles, UPS systems require annual, semi-annual, or quarterly maintenance to ensure everything is operating properly and safely.  Key questions to ask when looking at maintenance offerings from UPS manufacturers:

  • What is covered under warranty?
  • Length of warranty?
  • What maintenance options are available?
  • Does the manufacturer perform the maintenance directly or by a third party?
  • Support
    • Is there a start-up service?
    • Are close out documents provided?
    • Who does my electrician go to with questions?
8. Lead Times Large-scale UPS systems usually have lead times of 4-8 weeks. Depending on your deployment date, equipment lead times may be a major factor in your decision-making.  Scheduling start-up after the UPS has been installed also needs to be factored into the schedule.  A 2-week lead time is very common for scheduling start-up services with most manufacturers.

Hopefully, this article has provided some helpful information you can utilize when deciding on a UPS solution that best meets the needs of your organization.

Mirapath has a team of industry professionals who can assist with your next UPS project.  We are with you throughout the entire process starting from calculating load requirements all the way to scheduling start up services to ensure the project is completed to your satisfaction without issues.

If you would like to discuss your next UPS project, email us at solutions@mirapath.com.