Thunderbolts and lightning – protect your ICT equipment this summer

Electric power systems work optimally in stable weather, yet they are vulnerable to changes in climate, especially turbulent weather.

November 9, 2012

Electric power systems work optimally in stable weather, yet they are vulnerable to changes in climate, especially turbulent weather. In the southern African environment, where thunderstorms are common during the summer season, organisations are therefore advised to take additional precautions in order to avoid the damage that lightning strikes, power blackouts, brownouts and equipment failure could have on their business and its technology during this time of year.

“One such precaution is installing uninterruptible power supply (UPS) technology on site in order to protect your power sensitive equipment,” says Gina Santos, distribution manager: Southern Africa at Schneider Electric, a specialist company in energy management.

“APC by Schneider Electric’s Smart-UPS RT range offers performance power protection with scalable runtime for space-constrained server rooms, and voice and data networks.”

The Smart-UPS RT is a family of high-density, performance UPSes for voice and data networks, server rooms, and light industrial applications. The range is capable of supporting up to 20kVA in a 12U rack/ tower convertible form (which protects the initial investment in the UPS when migrating from tower to rack-mount environment), and users can support power hungry blade servers or heavily loaded equipment racks.

This flexible form factor allows standardisation across multiple applications, such as:

  • data networks – the range can protect and power customer’s business critical servers, including mid-range Servers, wi-fi applications and data network backbones,
  • voice networks – Smart-UPS RT offers extra long runtime for cellular sites, voice over IP (VoIP), a PBX and an IT-Enabled PBX;
  • medical – in this environment, the devices protect against costly downtime, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners with long cycle time; and
  • industrial – here, the UPSes provides reliable protection against
  • downtime, especially critical for technology such as programmable logic controllers (PLCs), industrial robots and controls for windmills and ATMs.

“The UPS unit’s automatic internal bypass supplies utility power to the connected loads in the event of a UPS overload condition or fault. Furthermore, scalable runtime allows quick addition of more runtime when needed and intelligent battery management provides higher availability through intelligent precision charging that maximises battery performance, life, and reliability,” says Santos.

Hot-swappable batteries ensure clean, uninterrupted power to protected equipment throughout battery replacement and plug-and-play external batteries ensure clean, uninterrupted power to the loads when adding extra runtime to the UPS.

A great benefit is that the units are network manageable, allowing users to remotely monitor and control the UPS via included PowerChute software or APC’s Network Management Card with temperature monitoring. A smart slot also allows users to customise UPS capabilities with management cards and LED status indicators enable quick understanding and response to visual indicators showing UPS status. Lastly, serial connectivity provides management of the UPS via a serial port.

“As the thundershower season begins, do not be left in the dark when it comes to protecting your ICT equipment. The technology to protect server hardware and peripherals is available, no matter if you have multiple applications that have different voltage requirements or wiring needs or if you have limited space,” adds Santos.