What is our primary use case?
Eaton has a lot of reputable years in the data center industry, giving out UPSs to massive data centers. We really rely on these units to ensure that we have no power interruptions. They have a proven track record. Personally, I use them because we have experienced a lot of close calls, where Eaton UPSs saved my infrastructure from any type of downtime.
We have a monitoring software that I am not very familiar with, which just landed on my lap recently. All the global offices for our corporate data center (300-plus locations), a lot of these closets have PDUs in them. I do know some of them are Eaton products, but the majority of them are different.
In my world, we use a little bit of everything. We have our PD UPSs, which are our uninterrupted power supply units. We have the UPS internally to the data center as well as PDUs, so we have UPSes in a lot of our server cabinets.
We have our bigger unit, a 300kVA unit, which is a lot bigger and not a rack-mountable unit. These are standalone frames. If we went into a smaller UPS design, I would consider having a rack-mountable UPS. However, the way certain of my data centers are designed, it has made more sense to have a frame UPS in place, as opposed to a rack-mountable UPS.
How has it helped my organization?
Considering the drastic changes our data center has taken in the past five years, Eaton has been able to accommodate a lot of our needs, e.g., remote monitoring.
My team knows how to respond to the actual monitors. If they get an alert, and it is a critical one, they automatically place a call in immediately with our vendor. Obviously, they notify us.
I believe that every industry today should put a remote monitoring solution in place. You need to have a business continuity backup plan, as opposed to having onsite people. I believe remote monitoring is going to be the way of the future for a lot of data centers.
What is most valuable?
The redundancy aspect is the most valuable feature. Within the UPS itself, Eaton UPS has different critical layers of redundancy, e.g., everything from battery banks down to controllers inside a UPS. It also has a default mechanism of an internal bypass in case something goes wrong with the actual UPS itself. The way I like to describe it the best is business continuity.
The solution’s footprint is excellent. It is the reason why I keep on choosing Eaton. It has great products and solutions. Eaton prepares us for the future state of our data centers. They come out with impressive, new technologies that we rely on to make sure that there are no blips in all our data center infrastructure. So, we have a clean source of energy into all our internal systems.
I use the internal legacy monitoring that we currently have set up on all our UPSs. We found the internal remote monitoring is very effective. We do have internal teams at our corporate data centers, which are staffed 24/7, who look at these monitors.
What needs improvement?
The external monitoring solution could use further enhancements. I'm thinking of business continuity. If an internal legacy monitoring solution goes down, and it has no one to connect to the outside world, then it can't send out an alert. How are we going to be able to determine that there is a problem with that UPS if it loses network connectivity?
Cellular hotspots will be a big topic in the coming years.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using Eaton UPSs as long as I have been in my career: 23 years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
Our Eaton UPSs help with business continuity. I have a reliable system in place that I know that I can trust.
How are customer service and technical support?
I use the vendor service plan. The reason why I go this route: They built the systems, thus they are very familiar with the systems. I am in an industry where I cannot have margin for error. I would much rather pick the vendor who made and knows the product like the palm of their hands.
We have had onsite service. Eaton services all our current UPSs. For some of my UPSs, they do hire qualified third-party vendors, but Eaton does maintain them. Their response time has been phenomenal. I did have a couple of very close calls. Their engineers were onsite immediately. They actually beat the required SLA that we had signed in the contract for remediating any type of issue that we have had. I have been very impressed with Eaton's response time.
On the first visit, they assess. A lot of times, parts need to be ordered. It can take X amount of time for parts to arrive onsite, depending on the type of issue. I have had different issues over the years. For the most part, all my problems have been minor. For the big problems that I've had, they remediated those within a two-day period. During that time frame, I had no outages due to the UPSs that I had in place.
How was the initial setup?
We did a UPS replacement, putting a newer UPS in a production data center. We did this without an outage, which we take a lot of pride in.
UPSs replacements are actually very complex. There is a lot of planning involved. It took almost six months to get it right.
There was a lot of planning involved for our implementation strategy. When you are replacing a single UPS unit, which is the heart of your production data centers, you have to make sure it is planned right. You have to make sure that it is on the money. There were a lot of high blood pressures during that period of time.
What about the implementation team?
I was a part of our initial setup. I was in the design factor of this.
While you are planning this, your number one thing is to minimize any type of risk that will happen during this whole upgrade transition. Remember, you are ripping out an old UPS with the new UPS, so downtime is critical during this period of time. I am a director for our global enterprise so I need to have a game plan ready and in place. Because if something goes south during this period of time, we have to make sure that we declare an emergency status to rebuild all our systems up from scratch. If that is not enough stress, I don't know what else is.
I needed to have my electricians involved in order to make this project successful. When you have a live UPS, and you're in a transition of upgrading them, you need to surround yourself with multiple team members to make that project successful, one of them is your electrician.
What was our ROI?
The UPS that we currently have in one of our production data centers has reduced our cooling costs by at least 30%. This is because of the way that the air vent flows are actually located in the internal plan.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
I have mixed feelings about the pricing and licensing. I believe that when you sell a UPS, and considering the UPS is a lifeline to a lot of the major corporations, the monitoring solution should be part of the package automatically, out-the-door. If you have to raise that price on the UPS an extra $5,000, then do so at that moment. Don't have that as an extra offer after the UPS has been sold. I believe that all UPSs need to have high availability, all the latest software installed, and be ready to go out-the-door.
What other advice do I have?
The power density will always vary depending on the models that you choose. We always like to have a 50% ratio density. We always look at a future for growth. Most of our UPSs were designed with future capacity and growth in mind.
Even the modular solutions out there today, compared to UPSs, they can be predesigned or prefabricated to feed one's needs. For example, in my data center I have X amount of kilowatts. You measure the right size UPS to put in place to ensure that it is picking up the load wherever it is designed to be at. Modular solutions do the same thing, just a little differently, but they still have the same capacity in line as the UPSs.
The solution's heat dissipation capabilities allow it to be located near equipment racks. As we know today, network monitoring is not 100%. You can have an internal failure on one of your switches where you lose monitoring to a UPS. Then, it will not send out alerts and nobody will know there is a problem with it. These modular cellular devices, or even hotspots, are critical to monitoring solutions because that is an extra layer of protection where it will still send out an alert, regardless if you had an internal network hardware malfunction.
I rely on Eaton for any future enhancements or software upgrades.
I would rate this solution as a nine (out of 10). In my world, there is always room for improvement.
Which version of this solution are you currently using?