Are battery backup units necessary?

ups battery backup systemsThe short answer is yes, battery backup units, appropriately named an Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) can prevent your computer equipment from getting damaged by providing an additional layer of protection in case of a power outage, they will also give you extra time to properly shut down your computer or server when the power goes out allowing you to save your work. Sudden power loss can also corrupt your operating system, resulting in the computer refusing to boot up.

How do battery backups work?

An uninterrupted power supply, or UPS, has three important jobs:

1. Provide power when power is not available from the wall.
2. Clean the power before it reaches the computer or server.
3. Tell the computer when the power is shut off, so it can shut down properly.

The first part of the UPS’s job is what we pay attention to the most. The unit allows the computer or server to operate for a certain time without utility power. This time allows the user to save important work and shut the computer down before the battery runs out.

The second job of the UPS is often overlooked. Having a battery backup unit on both your servers and desktops is important to extend the life of your equipment. If the computer receives clean power, the unit lasts much longer and has less likelihood of having major component failure. Additionally, many new computers are Energy Star compliant and are rated to achieve an 80 plus power efficiency (ie: Green Computing). To achieve this rating, they need what is called Pure Sine power, which is only available from higher-end battery backup units.

Finally, the UPS can be connected to the computer it is powering and send a signal to shut down properly when there is a power outage. This prevents operating system failure and file corruption. It is important to make sure that the software is installed and configured on the computer to make this happen.

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