5 ways UPS systems fail to improve data centre uptime & how to avoid these mistakes

Just because you have a UPS, or more likely multiple UPS, in your datacentre, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better uptime if you fall into one of these 5 mistakes:

1. Poor or no maintenance regime

It is surprising how many customers pay good money for a UPS system only to then not service it and be surprised when it fails prematurely. It is a well known fact that preventive maintenance is cheaper than reactive. It is far better to service a UPS and keep it in optimum condition than just forget about it and expect it to just work. You are literally playing Russian roulette with your data centre uptime.

UPS being serviced with capacitors visible

2. Failure to future-proof

Data centres typically expand over a period of time and it can be difficult to accurately predict the size of UPS you will require. Whilst of course you don’t want to over spec the size of a UPS because it’s less efficient and more expensive, it is important to get the right balance between this and having some capacity to increase the load over the short or medium term without requiring a brand new UPS. This has been made a lot easier by the large range of modular UPS that are now available on the market. Modular UPS allow you to easily expand the size of UPS by adding additional power units. The UPS can grow with your needs.

Riello Multi Power modular UPS

3. Forgetting to test your UPS

Regular maintenance is of course important in ensuring the continued operation of your UPS. However it is also important to test your UPS systems regularly. How can you have total confidence in a system if you have not tested it? It’s often when carrying out tests, that issues also become apparent (e.g. underperforming batteries). If you hadn’t tested it, it’s likely you would only know of the issue when you actually had a power cut. That’s a direct impact on your uptime, your income, your entire business.

4. Untrained use of UPS

Whilst UPS require minimal input when operating, they are not plug and play units and should not be operated by people who are not trained or who do not implicitly follow the provided instructions. The number of times that UPS have been incorrectly switched and seriously damaged in the process because of electricians (and other non UPS engineers) thinking they know what they are doing and switching the UPS. This is not only potentially dangerous for the operator but it significantly increases the chances of damaging the UPS and affecting your downtime.

5. Cheap poor quality UPS

Now I will start with the premise that we are not suggesting you need to go for the Rolls Royce of the UPS world. It is true that the most expensive brands might have some additional features and it is important to balance up whether the additional features are worth the extra over cost. On the other hand however, it is a very dangerous game to play, going with the cheapest price for a UPS. The cheaper UPS are often manufactured using low quality parts by companies who do not have a good service network in the UK.

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