What is our primary use case?
We use Eaton UPS's in a variety of our data centers and for emergency operations in our city.
What we were looking for wasn't necessarily to address challenges we were facing but for something that would reliably supply backup power to us, when needed, at an affordable price.
We have one big UPS at each of our locations. The 9PX is at our Public Works, while at the Police Department we have a 9170, which is a large three-phase UPS. At City Hall we have another large UPS. At each location we have a solution that will give us runtime during a total power outage, of anywhere from 30 minutes to six hours.
For the desktops and remote switches, we have a lot of the 1000s and 1500s.
What is most valuable?
There isn't any one particular feature that is most valuable. The fact that they're reliable and that they notify us whenever the line power drops are the only things we really need. All of our UPS's have been available and up whenever power outages have happened.
So far, the battery life, from my observation, seems better than average. It was one of the features that Eaton had described to us. They have a certain way of charging the batteries and keeping them charged so that they actually last longer.
What needs improvement?
The Eaton products themselves, and the sales and support, are excellent. However, when it comes to the power management software portion, that's the part that I haven't really seen or heard a lot about. The dashboards of the UPS's, or the management software, are one area that they could probably improve a little.
For how long have I used the solution?
We have been using Eaton UPS's for close to five years. It was five years ago when we first got connected with Jim Nimi who introduced us to them. We tried out a couple of them before we switched one of our older UPS's out to the large Eaton 9PX.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
So far, when it comes to performance and reliability, we've had virtually zero problems with the products. From our perspective, they've just been up and running and we haven't heard from them. They've supplied us with power when needed. So it's a win-win for us.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
It grows with our needs. Almost all of the systems that we looked at had pretty robust scalability, and Eaton's sales staff were always very forward-thinking when recommending the replacement units.
We plan to increase usage of Eaton UPS's. We have two more large batteries that need to be replaced in the city. We will be working on one of them this fall, and the other in the spring.
How are customer service and technical support?
I've only had to call their support twice and they have been excellent. They routed me to the correct person right away and they took care of my issues.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We had some aging units throughout the city. Some of them were 15-plus years old, and it was a matter of starting to replace them one at a time. About 80 percent of our units are now from Eaton. We've slowly converted almost the entire city to Eaton.
How was the initial setup?
The purchasing experience and delivery were all excellent. They were very straightforward and easy to do. The actual installation was a little more complex.
The installation was a little bit different from the purchasing and delivery stages, only because I hadn't ever really been involved in replacing a UPS before. It seemed more cumbersome than I thought it would be. However, I didn't really have anything to compare it to. The difficulty seemed to come from having to hire a contractor to do the electrical work and prep, and then have him plug it in and set it up. Then, a person from Eaton had to actually come out and turn it on. That was the unusual part for me. I would have assumed that an Eaton person would have installed it and plugged it in. I'm not sure that reflects badly on Eaton. It's just the way things are done, but it was new to me.
In terms of our staff involved with the units, two technical services managers were the main ones who worked with Eaton, when spec'ing out the batteries.
What was our ROI?
I'm not so sure about a return on our investment. We got an affordable, decent price and we've gotten a good product out of it. But UPS's just sit there until they're needed. When line power has gone out, they've been there every time for us.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
Before we chose Eaton, we evaluated other vendors, but we try to standardize. For us, it doesn't make sense to have two or three UPS vendors. Before we started replacing the old ones, we looked at APC and a couple of the other UPS vendors, along with Eaton. We thought that, for the overall product, Eaton supplied the best and we standardized on them.
What other advice do I have?
Look at the price and availability, as well as the long-term durability of the batteries on the Eaton side. That's what they did for us.