PacB Group // How UPS Monitoring Works and Why It Is So Important


How UPS Monitoring Works and Why It Is So Important

Anyone who may be genuinely concerned about the health of his or her computer and the integrity of the data stored on it is likely to be just as familiar with the uninterruptible power supply as with the various brands of anti-virus software in circulation. After all, while a virus can act to corrupt important data, so too can a power failure if it should happen to occur at the wrong time. While the needs of home users tend to be less sophisticated, UPS monitoring can often play a crucial role in many businesses.

As the name implies, the function of an uninterruptible power supply is to ensure continuity in the event of a mains outage – an occurrence which has become all too frequent in recent years. To do so, the equipment required must be able to sense when the mains power fails and switch immediately to an auxiliary source, such as a battery. This basic monitoring ability of a UPS will ensure that any devices the owner considers to be important will continue to function, automatically reversing the process when the mains power supply is restored.

This fundamental ability of these devices is, however, restricted to the detection of fluctuations in the mains supply and executing an appropriate response. Depending upon the type of system used, the time required to switch between power sources can range from milliseconds to zero. Because of their importance, many businesses choose to keep a close watch on the functionality of their UPS installations, employing specialised monitoring software for this purpose.

It is a choice that offers the owners of an uninterruptible power supply some additional peace of mind. For example, when an uninterruptible power supply makes the switch to battery power, there will be a finite limit to how long that power can be maintained before the battery is exhausted. When monitored by the special software, an alert can be issued in time to avert the inevitable consequences. Without the surveillance provided by UPS monitoring software, the potential value of an uninterruptible power supply is likely to be severely limited. The more visible signs of a mains failure will then become the means to alert staff that they should safely power down any sensitive equipment, such as computers before the battery power fails also.

In practice, the example cited is rather extreme, but it does serve to underline the importance of maintaining an awareness of the system’s status at all times. A system does not need to be complicated to be effective. Volt-free contacts can be quite sufficient to indicate simple events, such as a mains failure, low battery levels, or that the load has been transferred to an inverter.

That said, a network-based UPS monitoring system offers many advantages, and the idea has been gaining popularity. The single biggest advantage of this type of system is that it can be used to manage an almost unlimited number of uninterruptible power supplies. When using a wide-area network, its function can even be extended to manage multiple locations, including sites like a disaster recovery facility, that will often be left to operate on an unmanned basis for much of the time.

UPS montoring may be applied to any device fitted with an SNMP adaptor whether connected via the internet or by means of an Ethernet cable. While the exact functionality available will be determined by the SNMP software, it is certain to include key activities, such as the ability to reboot protected devices remotely and to safely power down those devices in the event of a prolonged mains outage. Other features might include alarm notifications via email or SMS, logging of alarms and activity and the protection of data using SSL and SSH encryption algorithms.

For more detailed information about UPS monitoring and its benefits, have a word with the industry experts at PacB Group.


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