In part one and part two of this series, we discussed the fundamental reasons why investing in an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is so important. Between cybercrime, infrastructure power failures, generator failover time and simple customer confidence, it is imperative that we do not forget about ensuring that we always have clean, stable power. In this concluding installment, we go beyond the UPS to explore the complementary tools and best practices that enable businesses to further ensure they maintain power in the event of a crisis.
When you think about it, you are physically onsite with your equipment at the most only eight hours of each workday. If you are responsible for multiple sites or remote facilities, you may never even see the equipment. This makes relying on flickering lights to signal a power issue a losing battle. To ensure that you stay on top of input, output and the overall health of your power infrastructure, add a network management card to each UPS that you deploy. Network management cards can alert you of potential issues, power health and battery lift, and can even facilitate the graceful shutdown of servers and other networking equipment. It is one of the simplest ways to embrace power management connectivity. A product like the new Eaton Gigabit Network Card (Network-M2) offers the latest in cybersecurity enhancements, boasting LDAP/Radius authentication. And, because the firmware is signed and encrypted, the UPS will not boot in the event of firmware tampering.
A server room full of equipment heats up quickly if not properly cooled. Electronic equipment will shut down--sometimes with catastrophic results--if it is forced to operate in extreme temperatures. Know when air handler cooling equipment is struggling before servers start shutting down and systems fail: Eaton’s Gen2 Environmental Monitoring Probe notifies users when the temperature or humidity in a rack enclosure rises above an acceptable threshold. By leveraging this connectivity device, you can also monitor water, smoke or door opens, as well as create customizable shutdown and load shedding protocols in the case of extended power failures.
Rack power distribution units, also known as rack PDUs, are a key component to any IT environment. As the name suggests, they distribute power to network equipment within racks. A common misconception is that they’re just power strips. At first glance they do almost look like power strips, but modern rackmount PDUs provide benefits a simple power strip cannot. Some of the valuable features include network connectivity, environmental monitoring and remote access.
To this end, physical separation from your organization’s equipment makes a hard power-cycle of locked-up equipment impossible… unless you can yank the plug remotely. Eaton rack PDUs enable remote users to power-cycle servers and switches from a laptop or mobile phone. You can even disable unused receptacles to prevent unauthorized use. Depending on your IT environment, there are a full range of PDUs (including configurable units) on the market that can meet your electrical and connectivity needs.
The final step is actively monitoring your power infrastructure and setting up email and text alerts so that you know about issues before your customers do. Eaton Visual Power Manager (VPM) can be deployed in data centers of all types and sizes to complete your power management infrastructure. A data center administrator can overlay scale maps of the facility into the software to facilitate troubleshooting and monitoring of the equipment. Built-in reporting tools make viewing trends and identifying equipment health status a snap.
Above all connectivity options, it is critical that you don’t forget the underlying engine, the UPS battery. A battery is a chemical reaction that degrades over time. Think about the battery in your mobile phone: Is it as strong as it was the day you bought it? UPS batteries are no different. They should be regularly checked and changed about every three years (no longer than every four years). If your battery does need to be changed, it can be done while keeping the UPS and connected equipment running--no downtime required. And don’t forget to register your equipment, which helps expedite warranty claims and battery replacement.
Still have questions about UPS and your connectivity options? Don’t wait until your power supply gets interrupted. Contact an Eaton representative today.