Is your UPS smart enough to protect your servers and data?

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Is your UPS smart enough to protect your servers and data?

The following is a case study of a new client that joined Intuitive IT recently.

The company is an architectural firm located in Melbourne and employs 5 people. They had 3 servers and a UPS. Their previous IT provider had installed the UPS over 3 years ago.

Recently, this company suffered a power failure and the UPS kicked in. However, it wasn’t a smart UPS which means that the servers did not begin the process of shutting down.

Furthermore, the batteries were flat which means that even if the UPS sent a signal to the servers to shut down, there wasn’t enough juice in the batteries to let the servers do that.

This company is now paying a data recovery specialist between $5,000 and $10,000 to recover their data. To make things worse, their last backup was May 2010 – over 15 months ago.

Even in the event they had a recent backup, which they didn’t, the company would have to pay for an IT consultant to restore their backup.

We highly recommend you take this opportunity to manage this risk and keep your business functioning without disruption.

Below are some questions normally asked regarding a UPS.

What is a UPS?

A UPS is basically a smart battery pack for your server. In the event of a power outage, the server keeps running on the power of the batteries.

Why is this important?

If your server encounters a power outage, there is chance that the data on the server could become corrupted. If this occurs, you may lose time and money trying to restore data from backups.

We already have a UPS, why can’t we keep using that?

You may already have a UPS, but this only half the solution. If your UPS isn’t “smart” enough to realise it is running on batteries, the server will just run the batteries dry. Once the batteries have been exhausted, the server shuts down abruptly and the chances of data loss are still present.

So what do we need then?

What you really need is a UPS that detects the power is out and then automatically starts to shutdown the server. This is called a graceful shutdown. This allows the server to process everything it needs to while the batteries are available. We can also check and see if your server has the ability to automatically start up again once the power is restored.

OK, what is this going to cost?

Depending on your environment and setup.

A UPS can cost around $700 for an entry level unit to support 1 server.

Most come with a 2 year warranty and a minimal amount of runtime (usually 5 – 10 minutes), which is enough time to shutdown your server.

What on-going maintenance is required for a UPS?

The batteries in the UPS usually last 2 years. So it is common that every 2 years or so the batteries will need to be replaced.   Also, every three months we perform a UPS test to ensure it is working as expected and continues to protect your data. If all is well, we expect this will take half an hour of our time.

Do I really need a UPS?

If you want to manage your business risk properly then yes.