Imagine this scenario…
You’re hard at work when your office goes completely dark. Your computer shuts off suddenly, and even though your machine comes back up with no problem, when you try to turn your server back on, it beeps and tells you “no drive detected.” Suddenly, it looks as if you might have lost invaluable company data!
What could have protected you against this scenario? The answer is battery backup.
Computers depend on electrical power to function, and while we tend to take that availability of power for granted, power outages and power surges can and will happen when least expected. Having a battery backup solution in place for machines that house your data, such as your server, mitigates the potential hardware damage and loss of important data that power surges, brownouts, and blackouts can create.
Uninterruptible Power Supply
The technical name for a battery backup is an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). A UPS is essentially a large battery with multiple outlets and one plug to put into the wall. This large battery resembles an oversized surge protector, and most UPS units do indeed have surge protection built in. UPS units have status lights to indicate how much of a charge the battery is currently holding and whether the unit is provided power from the outlet or from its own battery, and whether the battery needs replacing or not.
Under normal circumstances, a UPS acts like a normal surge protector, distributing power to the devices plugged into it. In the background, the battery inside the UPS is being charged by the same source. Unlike a plain surge protector, UPS units have circuitry built in that senses when power is no longer flowing from the plug in the wall. When such an event happens, that circuitry switches connections seamlessly to the battery within milliseconds, and an alarm will go off warning that the UPS is now draining the battery to keep your devices running. When AC power is restored, the UPS switches back to the main circuit and resumes powering your devices normally and starts recharging the battery again.
It is important to understand that a UPS is not designed to be a long term replacement for a extended loss of a power source. In fact, depending on how many devices are hooked up to a UPS, most will provide only 15 to 30 minutes of power. While it doesn’t sound like a lot, that 15 to 30 minutes is plenty of time to save work and power the machine down gracefully, preventing hard drive crashes and data corruption. Special software included with the UPS, when installed on a server, automates the safe shutdown of the machine.
For mission-critical hardware such as your company’s server, a UPS connected to it is an absolutely essential piece of equipment to have! Power-outage related damage to servers and the data they contain can be crippling to a business’s bottom line, and having the safety of a functioning UPS in place would only be a mere fraction of that cost.
So, let’s revisit that scenario again…
You’re hard at work when the lights around you and the entire block goes completely dark! You hear a beeping noise and notice the lights are blinking on your UPS. The UPS software then shuts down your server gracefully. Crisis averted! Data safe!
It’s a much happier ending, thanks to battery backup solutions and the peace of mind it can offer.