Protect the Health of Your Data Center UPS with Battery Monitoring from PowerShield

Today, an organization’s IT infrastructure is more mission-critical than it’s ever been.

To stay competitive in its market, the modern enterprise is increasingly dependent on applications that enable real-time data processing and analytics.

At the same time, Covid-19 has transformed the way business operates, increasing the demands on IT as both staff and customers require more flexible ways to interact with the organization.

Operating a data center comes with the very real risk of unplanned events leading to outages. As the importance of the compute function grows for most businesses, so do the costs and consequences of downtime resulting from IT outages.

Downtime brings with it a range of other possible implications including data loss or damage, reduced productivity and lost sales.

With all this at stake, protecting against unexpected outages remains one of the top priorities for data center operators.

The Crucial Role of Batteries Within a UPS

On-site power issues are the single biggest cause of data center outages. They may be rare but when they occur, power interruptions have the potential to disrupt entire enterprises. That’s why there are few assets within the data center more critical to continuity than the uninterruptible power supply (UPS).

At the heart of the UPS is the energy-storing battery subsystem, made up of multiple cells, mounting equipment, protective devices, and monitoring equipment.

If the battery subsystem is unreliable, the ability to maintain an “uninterruptable” power supply is put at risk, meaning the entire operation of the data center could be in jeopardy if a mains outage occurs.

Every Data Center Needs Effective Battery Monitoring

Given the importance of the battery subsystem, monitoring the health of UPS batteries is vital if data center managers are to minimize the risk of both premature and unexpected end-of-life battery failures.

Ongoing monitoring and regular maintenance take the guesswork out of tracking battery health and ensuring the data center has backup power when needed, thus avoiding the costs and other negative implications of a battery-related outage.

Usually there is no visible indication that a battery failure is imminent. While it is not possible to prevent all battery failures, the risk associated with premature failure is lowered with good management, proper monitoring and regular maintenance.

Measuring the health of a battery means more than just taking a voltage reading. A cell or battery may have the desired voltage when it has been sitting on float charge, but it might not have enough stored energy to support the critical load for more than a few minutes or even seconds.

Therefore, it’s important to take a range of measurements, which can include: individual battery voltage, impedance and temperature, string current, ambient temperature and ripple current.

Measurements can be collected manually or automatically, with continuous automated measurement having clear advantages. Manual collection can be corrupted by such things as inconsistent placement of the probes from one cell to another, incorrect record keeping, use of different measuring devices from one time to the next, loss of records, a long period between measurements, or other human error.

On the other hand, continuous automated measurement has the advantage of timeliness and consistency. If a cell starts to fail rapidly, it might not be detected by manual readings for several months, whereas continuous monitoring can detect and send an alarm as soon as significant deviation is detected.

Quality Monitoring Enables Better Battery Management

As well as a means of preventing expensive downtime, monitoring is also a gateway to better battery management, and the significant cost benefits it can bring.

At the heart of a superior battery monitoring system is software which gives rich information analysis and insights into maximizing battery health. This intelligence can be used to enable preventative maintenance, maximizing the life of the batteries, and to accurately forecast and budget for battery replacement.

Monitoring the range of measurements listed above ensures optimal environmental conditions so batteries do not deteriorate faster than expected.

With a data center typically requiring hundreds or thousands of batteries, replacing them unnecessarily early can be an expensive exercise.

Effective monitoring extends beyond the battery itself. It can be particularly valuable, for example, to automatically monitor ambient temperature within the data center environment, given that excessive temperature can be a significant contributor to premature battery decay. When overly high temperatures are detected, a notification is sent so staff can make the necessary adjustment. This type of early intervention can reduce costs considerably over the long term.

Battery management is more than just waiting for alarms to go off. A quality monitoring system enables this to be done through an automated process that is safe and efficient, providing ongoing and regular insights for busy data center staff.

Make the Best Battery Management Decisions with PowerShield

The PowerShield Reporting Service takes the guesswork out of your battery management decisions. We give you the confidence to make good decisions about your batteries and take preventative steps to avoid potential battery failures.

The PowerShield system monitoring your standby batteries is continuously measuring and storing data – for the lifetime of the batteries.

At the end of each day the PowerShield system sends your battery data to our secured server.

Every month we analyze and interpret your battery data and a PowerShield battery expert prepares a report on the overall condition of your batteries and recommends actions for you to take.

The actions you take will correct any small problems before they escalate, meaning your batteries will be available when you need them.

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