Recently we were asked to investigate the random crashing of a server in a business. When asked about power problems the owner of the business mentioned the large UPS sitting on the floor next to the server. Upon attending the site we discovered that no equipment was connected to the UPS. The previous technician had plugged the UPS into the wall and walked out!
An uninterruptable power supply, commonly referred to a UPS, is basically a large battery that provides emergency power to crucial equipment during a power outage. Circuitry inside the UPS will instantly supply power from the battery when a power cut is detected. Software may also tell the operating system to shut down gracefully to preserve data. The internal battery is constantly charged and is ready for use. They are available in various sizes depending upon the amount of equipment they have to support.
A typical UPS will last for about 3 years before needing replacement. A Line-interactive UPS may cost a little more but should last longer as it is able to correct minor voltage fluctuations without switching to battery power. A UPS will also provide more protection to equipment in the event of a surge or thunderstorm.
So, do you need one? This is an easy question to answer. If your business relies on any expensive equipment such as a server, NAS or phone system, it makes a great deal of sense to invest in a quality UPS. Some manufacturers also provide insurance cover for damage so its pays to compare brands.