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How Counties Avert Outages with UPS Systems

New, Improved Batteries

The configuration of the UPS plays a role in its reliability, according to Kaushik Venkateshwaran, lead analyst for the energy, engineering and automation division of TechNavio, a research and advisory firm. The safest approach is “n+1,” he recommends. That means that for however many units the space requires, the organization implements an additional one for failover.

Sarasota County, Fla., didn’t stop with n+1. IT Director Ken Watson says the county aimed for many layers of redundancy when building its new data center in 2010, achieving a configuration of a little more than n+2. “We designed two of everything but we didn’t stop there. If our power consumption grows and we need to run full time on two units, we have built in enough room to add a third UPS,” says Watson. “It could happen at some point.”

The county spent $1 million to $2 million for Emerson/Avocent UPSs. Watson appreciates the improved battery technology. A monitoring system sends an alert if the battery is on its last legs. Previously, he had to wait for quarterly maintenance to tell him if a new battery was needed. “We were burned by that in the past. A couple of bad batteries kept us from transferring from street power to generator power. This takes away all the guesswork,” he says.