May 2, 2009

The $5000 UPS/Generator solution for server room

double conversion generator with UPS
Want to power your server rack with a UPS and generator?  Here is the most economical solution.

A combination of a APC 5000va SURT UPS for the rack + Generac portable 12kw generator + Manual transfer switch + surge suppressor + extended run battery pack

  • $1800 - APC UPS w/XL pack powers your 3000watt rack and offers 30m of runtime
  • $2400 - Generac 4582 Gas power generator offers upto10hrs of runtime at 7000watts allowing for 3000watts for your rack, and 4000watts for lights, fans, etc
  • $300 - Reliance panel type manual transfer switch which routes normal power to your server room and then switches to generator power when you want.
  • $80 - Basic surge suppressor to prevent spikes
  • $180 - APC Smartslot card with relay controls to initiate shutdowns and turn off non critical loads
  • $220 - Breakers, cabling, wiring and misc parts for sucessfull installation

The downside is that this is a manual system and means you have only an hour to roll out your generator, start it up and pull the transfer switch.  But for $5k, its a good solution.

Add about another $5000 to make the process automatic.

May 1, 2009

UPSes and Generators

This week, we have had lots of discussions with people needing a UPS in combination with a generator.

Many large companies used to buy very large UPS systems to survive power outages.  However, with the high costs and limtations of these room UPSes many are now looking for a more affordable way.

Now the thinking is have a UPS that offers just enough runtime, until the generator can be activated.

If you are thinking of this design, remember generators provide "dirty power" so be sure to have:

Other nice tidbits for our experience wtith generators for Hurricane Wilma:

  • keep surge strips & extension cables handy... to reconfigure loads or reroute UPSes as needed.
  • buy a led strip light for your server room... every watt is precious during generator runs
  • keep several small desktop upses around... as replacements or casual offline use
  • triage your loads as "important" and bare bones "essential" and make sure PDUs and UPSes contain only those loads.
  • install an blue colored outlet that is connected to generator system, but not to the UPS for things like box fans and charging station.