Uninterruptible Power Supplies – how much backup time do I need?

So you may already have a UPS or may be looking for one at the moment. The golden question is how much backup time do you need? As you would expect, the longer the backup time, the higher the cost. Along with that, the space required for the batteries will also increase. When talking about UPS of 100kVA and larger, the space required for the VRLA batteries can be substantial. The backup time depends on a number of different factors including what the UPS is supporting, what the load is and whether there is also a generator. For sites where there is a generator covering the whole building (or at least the load that the UPS is supporting) the general suggestion is for a 10 minute autonomy at 100% load (this is to make sure you allow leeway for any future growth).

For loads such as telephone switches or network switches, because their power draw is quite small, you can easily get hours out of a relatively compact UPS/battery configuration. For a dependable power protection solution, it is advisable to always link a UPS and a generator so that you have your uninterrupted power for your servers and other IT critical load and the generator which provides unlimited backup (as long as it has fuel in the tank).

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