Power Protection Strategies for Small and Midsize Businesses

by ServerWatch Staff

Keeping systems up and running through a power outage is a vital part of any disaster recovery plan. One way to accomplish this is with a UPS, but careful planning is still required, and other options may be more appropriate.

More on power and cooling

Aside from regularly backing up your hard drive, keeping your computers and network hardware plugged into an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a wise data protection practice. Doing so ensures in the event of a power failure there is enough juice to shut down your computer normally. It also prevents an abrupt shutdown from causing damage to an operating system's configuration or the loss of open but unsaved files.

When powering an average desktop system, a typical UPS device will last anywhere from five to 20 minutes. UPS devices with longer run times are available, but their large sizes and price tags make them impractical for home- or small office use.

However, unlike a desktop PC that can swill electricity like a runner with Gatorade at a track meet, a DSL/cable gateway and broadband router (wired or wireless) both consume relatively small amounts of power. Therefore, the same UPS that powers a PC for only a few minutes will likely run your gateway and router a good deal longer — perhaps for several hours.

The best way to ensure constant uptime is to plug your broadband gateway and router into its own dedicated UPS device. This way, they won’t have to compete with more ravenous devices for limited battery power. If you absolutely must share a UPS device with a desktop system, make sure it also connects to the desktop via USB and is running software to automatically shut the system down (or do it manually yourself as soon as the power fails). When setting up a UPS, be mindful of which of its outlets you’re using, because some outlets provide only surge suppression and not battery backup. Avoid plugging nonessential avoid plugging nonessential devices like printers into battery-backed outlets.

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This article was originally published on Friday Aug 6th 2010
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