UPS for Home Server RRS feed

  • Question

  • I just purchased an HP Home Server and am a first time user.

    A few of my friends are telling me that I should buy a UPS for it, but could not articulate to me why do I really need it. I don't recollect having a power outage in the past 5 years in my area (Boston, MA) and am in a new building with good installations, so I am not expecting any surges etc.



    1) Anyone has any thoughts on should I use a UPS and if yes what type should I use?

    2) Would a surge protector be sufficient?




    Monday, March 31, 2008 2:42 PM

All replies

  • Vlad,


    It really depends what you want!

    There are a few people, who have reported that, after a power failure, their WHS has had problems, including having to re-install all the software.

    I run two WHS, (plus other servers,) and all of them are on UPS's. Primarily because they are running 24x7 and all of them are doing work in the background, even when I'm not using them. I personally feel that a UPS just provides that extra security of maintaining a system up and running. (WHS also performs operations in the background, even when you're not working on it yourself).


    All the WHS's I've built/sold, I've recommended a UPS, as a clean, stable supply is a pre-requisite for a server.


    If you do decide to use one, ensure that it's one that is recommended and supported by Server 2003, the underlaying system for WHS. Also, before going further, read this thread, it has some info.






    Monday, March 31, 2008 3:10 PM
  • I would get a UPS that is rated for at least twice the peak draw you are seeing on your WHS.  I used a Kill-a-Watt meter to figure out my Dell Poweredge SC440 with external 4 bay esata box was pulling 110 watts with high disk usage.  That includes the overhead of the UPS, which is an APC 500VA unit.  I would buy one that does AVR.  Mine does not, but I could not justify buying another one since I had 2 laying around.  I get about 8 minutes run time until the UPS battery hits 50%, which is where I have the server set to shut down.  You do not want any computer equipment doing a hard shutdown, especially when it is doing disk writes.  I put a UPS on all computer equipment in the house, including my DSL router and switches.  Ever since I did that, I have never had to reboot any of these devices.  They like clean reliable power.  A surge protector will not protect you from power fluctuations like a UPS will.  Spend $50 on a cheap UPS, and you will be a lot better off than with just a surge protector.  If you can afford it, spend the extra to get a good UPS that talks to your WHS, and will shut it down gracefully in the event of an extended power outage.  What is your data worth to you?  To me, it is worth a whole lot more than the cost of a UPS.


    Monday, March 31, 2008 3:22 PM
  • I think UPS is a hoax. They just want to take more money from you than with traditional Surge. When was the last time you lost electricity.

    + do people even leave their Home Servers running all the time. Just turn it off when you are not using it.

    I definitely think a surge protection at best would be enough.

    Tuesday, April 1, 2008 5:35 PM
  •  Rens83 wrote:

    I think UPS is a hoax. They just want to take more money from you than with traditional Surge. When was the last time you lost electricity.

    + do people even leave their Home Servers running all the time. Just turn it off when you are not using it.

    I definitely think a surge protection at best would be enough.

    Steady there. Just because you never have power cuts, and switch off your WHS when you are not using it, doesn't mean "UPS is a hoax".

    My power goes out two or three times a month. I leave my WHS switched on all the time so it can do backups and provide remote access to my home network.  A second UPS keeps my DSL modem and wireless router up during power cuts so that my WHS, work, and/or surfing are not interrupted.

    A UPS is crucial if you want your WHS to be working 24/7!
    Tuesday, April 1, 2008 7:02 PM

    A surge protector offers zero protection against power interruptions, which happen all the time.  The events that happened to me last night prove it.  My UPS went down to either a bad battery (year old, I doubt it), or an internal fault.  The UPS killed power to all connected equipment.  Fortunately my WHS is on a different UPS and unaffected.  However, I had an Infrant ReadyNAS (X-raid configuration) attached to the UPS that died.  It was performing disk reads at the time it died, during the middle of the night, as I was copying a bunch of stuff to backup drives.  The hard shutdown did not allow the ReadyNAS to shut down gracefully, forcing it to spend the next several hours checking the volume for errors.  Had it been performing writes, it would have been a lot more disastrous, as the integrity of the raid array would have most likely been compromised.  I have journaling disabled, to speed up write performance.  That is getting switched back on tonight.  I am now moving everything to two UPS's with failover between them.  Found a great deal on two rack mount APC SmartUPS's (1500va) locally for $130 each with good batteries, and an automatic transfer switch for $125.  Probably overkill for a home setup, but if I am going to have my WHS on it, along with priceless data, I think it is worth $400 in good power protection.  


    You have to remember that it is not just the surges you need to protect against.  Your computer equipment needs constant, clean power.  That means no surges, sags, spikes, or interruptions.  You cannot get this from a $10 power strip labelled "surge protector".  If you want to cheap out on that, by all means go ahead.  I don't think you will find too many people on this forum that will be following you.



    Tuesday, April 1, 2008 8:03 PM
  • Thank you all for you responses.


    I will be getting a UPS. I checked some other posts and it seems that people prefer and recommend APC brand the most. Is this the safest route or are there some other brands I should look into before making a final purchase?


    Thanks again to everyone.



    Wednesday, April 2, 2008 4:30 PM
  • APC all the way.  When my UPS died yesterday (rare for an APC), I emailed customer service.  They quickly diagnosed it as dead, and are promptly shipping out a refurbished one.  I get it tomorrow, and they are sending me a better model than the one I had due to mine being out of stock.  No receipt required, just the model and serial number.  Then I return the bad one in the same box they shipped it in.  No out of pocket cost on the exchange.  How can you beat that for service? 


    Wednesday, April 2, 2008 5:43 PM
  • Vlad2001,


    Since I once sold corporate sized UPS systems, I would like to make another point (or two, or three, etc).


    One of the major issues with a clean power supply to a server is NOT power outages, it is the 5pm power SAG when everyone gets home and starts turning on A/C units, TVs, etc. This sag will burn a system out if it catches it at the right time. So the vote for using UPS systems is 4-fold;


    1 - gives you time to get it shut down.

    2 - takes the hit from lightening, cheap replacement vs a server.

    3 - maintains the proper voltage, even during SAG periods.

    4 - just plain old "peace of mind".


    Having many years at this, I would NEVER install a server and not have some form of UPS system in the loop. And, I am not talking about surge surpressors... now there is a waste of money...er...well you do get extra outlets and a neat little switch on them I guess Smile




    Wednesday, April 2, 2008 8:43 PM
  • Great point on the power sags.  I can watch the volt meter on mine during the summer especially, and watch it go from 120 in off peaks hours, down to 115 during really hot days, and then up to 125 if it cools off rapidly (reduces demand faster than the power company can pull supply). 


    The APC Smart-UPS's do AVR in both directions, and put out pure sine wave power.  The cheaper ones generally boost only, and output stepped sine wave power.  You can pick up a used Smart-UPS on ebay for $50 that will run most anything consumer grade.  I am picking up a rack mount SUA1500RM2U tomorrow for $130 with good batteries.  Lots of clean power, and can talk to the server to automatically shut down in the event of a prolonged outage.  These sell new for $600+ at Newegg.  Very cheap insurance.


    Wednesday, April 2, 2008 9:02 PM
  • I just checked my UPS log and in the last week I had 1 blackout lasting 2 seconds, the last 4 weeks I've had 3 blackouts for 7 seconds, 3 Electrical noises for 3 seconds (we had a thunderstorm).


    The blackout forced me to reprogram my vcr and variouse clocks, but all of my routers, switches, modems and computers never skipped a beat - because they were on APC UPS's. Your little surge protector won't produce electricity when the power goes out. And if you do lose power and your WHS is "balancing" you'll wish you had an UPS...


    I managed a Circuit City in Tucson for more years than I would like to recall and I can't tell you how many computers get destroyed in Tucson after a lightning storm. We sold tons of UPS's after every storm and every one of those sales were to people who thought surge protecters were good enough...




    Thursday, April 3, 2008 3:19 AM