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Small Business Buyers Guide To Battery Backup Devices

by John Ciarlone on March 11, 2014

These days, even small businesses need battery backup!battery backup for small business

Given how vital computers and online telecommunications are to modern businesses, a power outage can be devastating to a business. A working network isn't simply a nice aid to business; it's usually mission-critical.

If you're going unprotected, you're going to experience significant losses in the event of a power outage. So, let's talk about some battery backup  solutions that prevent this!

Short on time? Download our  free guide The Different Types of UPS Systems 

Some Frequently Asked Questions About Small Business Battery Backup Planning


How do I calculate my power consumption?

A battery which can't power the devices attached to it is ultimately just a very pricey doorstop. So, your first concern when buying should be ensuring it's sufficient for your operations.

For single-office startups, this might be as simple as averaging your power bills over a few months. For larger organizations, you'll probably have to send someone around to get the voltage and wattage for all the devices you're using.

We strongly recommend putting this in a database, or else combining it with your existing network inventory, so this process only happens once.


What's the difference between a PDU and a UPS?

The essential difference is whether it includes battery backup.

A PDU (Power Distribution Unit) is more than an industrial-sized surge protector - it takes the incoming current, regulates it, and distributes it smoothly to everything plugged in while transforming the voltage appropriately.  More advanced units can be switched and monitored, more on that in another article.

A UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply) is a PDU with one or more backup batteries attached. It regulates your power while also providing a backup source of energy during a power outage.

You can also plug a PDU into a UPS, as long as you've calculated the power draw correctly.


Rack-Mounted or Floor Units?

UPS systems come in two "flavors." A rack-mounted UPS is designed primarily to regulate the power to your server racks and other large collections of hardware. As the name implies, it's mounted to your server rack, saving space and ensuring it's always near your most important equipment.

Floor units are independent, self-contained UPS systems which are designed for portability. Unlike rack units, they have sturdy external shells that resemble tower PC cases, and often have wheels for easy transportation. As such, they're also a bit more expensive.

However, they're designed to move around your operation as you grow, providing backup power to whichever offices or equipment have the greatest need. The slightly higher price buys a lot more flexibility in their usage.


How much battery backup do I need?tripp lite battery backup

There's virtually no limit to how many hours -or days- of backup power you can buy, since you can always add more batteries or UPS units. Unfortunately, large rechargeable batteries are not cheap, so there's an element of risk here.

It's an insurance policy, and you should consider the costs/rewards accordingly.

You probably only need 15-30 minutes of power, covering short outages and allowing your workers to save their work. However, you may want to consider multi-hour backup power for your network if:

  • You have server equipment that can be damaged if shut down,

  • You rely on online sales to drive your revenues, or

  • You're under legal or contractual obligations to maintain up-time.

How Far Ahead Should I Look?

Once you buy a UPS, every additional device you attach to it will increase the power draw and decrease the battery's backup time. Too many additional devices may even exceed its output.

So, it's wise to buy a UPS that's more powerful than you need, which your operations can grow into over the coming years. Since the batteries in these systems (like all modern rechargeable batteries) only last around 3 years, that should be the basis of your future forecasting.

Of course, every business has different power needs. For more ideas on how businesses similar to yours are protecting their equipment, just contact us for a free consultation!

ups systems

Topics: Power and Protection