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10 Important UPS System Design Considerations

30th April 2024

There are some key design considerations to be taken into account when installing a new UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply).

1. Single-Phase and Three-Phase Power

Many IT managers prefer to work with single-phase equipment at rack level, despite the temptation to focus on the bigger three-phase UPS systems. That’s why it’s important to understand your current UPS power supply when choosing the right power source for you.

Single-phase loads, at the rack level, exist in a lot of small-to-medium-sized data centres and computer rooms. However, a lot of ground-up designs prefer a three-phase power source because it helps them in increasing efficiencies and reducing total costs. These benefits create a great opportunity for three-phase solutions to be used in new construction.

2. Installation Environment

It is crucial to evaluate the environment(s) in which a potential UPS system will be deployed. Certain environments can support several different UPS units and if you operate in extreme weather conditions, you’ll want to consider a severe weather UPS.

3. Power Load

The VA or watt rating of the power source is one of your most important considerations in choosing a UPS power supply. For single-phase deployments, it’s wise to choose a UPS that exceeds the current input requirements, but also offers greater run times and allows for future expansion if necessary.

4. Availability and Battery Run Time

These are the basic battery run time configurations:

UPS with 10 to 15 minutes of run time and no generator. You are covered for 90 to 95 percent of power outages. You can either use UPS shutdown clients to save your data or stay online as long as possible before the system crashes.
UPS with 10 to 15 minutes of run time and a generator. You have a very reliable setup and most generators will start up within one minute (five minutes maximum). You are covered for most situations.
Redundant UPSs, generator and two power feeds for dual-corded servers. You have a lot of money and/or are really worried about the power failing. It’s time to get a consultative professional on-site to help you work it out.

5. Form Factor

Is your business premises better suited to a tower or rack-mount model? This can be answered by working out how much space you want to designate for your UPS and where you plan to install it. Some USPs have a two-in-one form factor, which allows you to deploy the unit in a way that suits you.

6. Scalability

Scalable UPSs allow capacity to be increased cost-effectively. From firmware upgrades, additional components and paralleling multiple UPSs, a scalable UPS allows you to add to the utility power without purchasing additional hardware.

A simple kVA upgrade is all you need to get your UPS to operate at full capacity. If you want to service your UPS power supply yourself be sure to look for a unit that allows you to add capacity with power or battery modules.

7. Power Distribution

It is very important to think about how the input or utility power will be delivered to your most critical equipment. You can plug some electrical equipment directly into the UPS. For others, you may need a PDU (Power Distribution Unit) to help distribute the power to computer systems and other electrical apparatus. You may also have to incorporate rack-based PDUs into the overall design.

8. Manageability

Power management software ensures your important work-in-progress is saved properly while other connected equipment is properly shut down if the output voltage exceeds the battery run time of the UPS. Consider the following capabilities for monitoring and managing:

Email or text notifications whenever there’s an unexpected power event
Suitable logging of any recent power events
Integration into software such as VMware, ESXi and VSphere, Microsoft’s Hyper-V and Nutanix Ready Acropolis Hypervisor (AHV).
Dedicated battery monitoring with strong service notifications.
Remote monitoring from your UPS manufacturer.

9. Operation Maintenance

A lot of IT and facilities management professionals prefer the peace of mind that comes with on-site services or advanced UPS agreements. An assessment of your technical and service capabilities will help you decide whether or not this is for you. A rule of thumb used by many is that the more complicated the equipment, the more important it is to have experts perform the maintenance.

10. Budget

You should be ready to prioritise your needs to make sure your chosen UPS power system is within your budget. You may need to make trade-off decisions to ensure you can get the right package, as opposed to your dream one.

Ten other UPS design considerations

The following design guidelines should be reviewed and followed prior to ordering the appropriate UPS solution.

1. Check to see if there’s an adequate electrical supply near the UPS.

2. Find out the dimensions of the UPS and include any battery cabinets.

3. Ensure the UPS can be placed in its final position.

4. Verify that the floor is strong enough to support the UPS and battery cabinets.

5. Confirm that the UPS will have adequate ventilation.

6. Always be sure which wall receptacle is required to plug in the UPS.

7. Verify that the UPS fits your receptacle and power requirements, or engage with electrician to hardwire it.

8. Installing small UPS models behind larger UPS models.

9. Using a UPS and a generator together.

10. Verify the UPS solution meets local building codes.

For more info on any related to UPS systems or UPS maintenance, get in touch: [email protected]