The ABCs of UPS

By Michael Green, CXtec Account Executive


“Just quote me a UPS.”

All too often this is what I hear when I ask someone about power protection. Unfortunately, it just isn’t that easy, although we all wish it was.

There are a few very important factors to consider when thinking about implementing a new or additional UPS. We find customers often get so frustrated trying to figure out what they need that they simply decide to order what they have always been using. Or sometimes they order whatever is equivalent to what they’ve used now that their unit is discontinued by the manufacturer.

Here's how to make it much easier for yourself!

The first reason it isn’t simple to quote a UPS is because no network closet is set up the same. Everybody has different switch counts, uses different servers, and has different PoE requirements.

One person might have a closet that has three switches and only 48 ports of PoE, while another may have a rack with a stack of eight 48 port all PoE switches. Obviously the stack of three switches is going to draw a lot less power than the stack of eight, and even if both people want 20 minutes of backup time, each closet will require a different model UPS to properly match the environment.

WHAT DOES YOUR VENDOR NEED TO KNOW (or what should they know)?

Please be wary of anybody who says ok to the phrase, “Just quote me a UPS.” And be especially wary if they don’t know what you’re currently using. If they aren’t familiar with your network, then they are really just guessing and possibly trying to make a quick sale.

You should choose a vendor that is committed to sizing your UPS to your need and not oversell you. Or, even worse, undersell you a unit that is not powerful enough to do the job.

To get a power protection project started, your vendor would need to know what you intend to back up. For example:


  1. HP Proliant DL360 (PS2)
  2. 2 KVMs (Master view ACS-1208A, DMZ (Cisco SG1000), LCD Monitor 200w total
  3. Aruba 7210 Controller
  4. Cisco 2951 router 
  5. 2 HP 2920 48 PORT GIG POE+ Switches - J9836A

*A list like this and specific part numbers are very important. In this case the HP 2920 has two different versions, one is the 370 watts of PoE+ and the other is 740 watts. Without the specific J9836A, we would not know which one it is (in this case it’s the 740-watt switch).


Once the vendor has the list of equipment, they will need to know how much back-up time you need. Standard is about 10 minutes, but different environments have different requirements. Keep in mind the more time you need, the larger, heavier, and more expensive the UPS will be.


Nothing complicated here. It’s all about if you have room in your rack/cabinet or if you want the UPS to sit on the floor.

110 or 220 OUTLETS?

This is becoming one of the big hang-UPS in designing a UPS solution. We are finding that many network closets only have access to the regular 110 outlets, which has been fine for decades.

However, with the recent explosion of PoE devices, such as wireless access points, security cameras, and VoIP phones, it may not be possible to back up all of your switches and servers with a single UPS without having access to a 220 outlet. In many cases, organizations are finding they have to either hire an electrician to run additional power or use multiple UPS units.


Many people are unware that the UPS manufacturer APC has a Trade-UPS program where you can trade in your old and/or broken units and receive a discount through your vendor toward your new UPS. This is a great value because you can send the old units back with the old batteries as well, relieving you of the hassle and responsibility of properly disposing them.


Not too bad, right? Yes, gathering the list could be a little tedious and possibly adding 220 power could be an extra unexpected expense. But properly backing up equipment that may have cost you tens of thousands of dollars will be well worth it!