There is a strange land, far, far away, where the power comes clean from the wall and black outs never occur. In this happy place, the people plug their computers and servers directly into the wall outlet and live happily ever after.

Since you don't live in that magical land, you need to be concerned about power. Those zero's and one's that run around inside your computers were once just plain old AC power that comes out of the socket in the wall. Your computer's power supply converts that AC power into energy that your computer components can use and makes your computer run well. Unfortunately, your computer's power supply has a big job to do, because the AC power is not always "clean." Clean power is always at the right voltage and frequency. Because the power from the wall is dirty, your computer's power supply has to work hard to clean the power so that your computer can run correctly. This overwork is inefficient and causes the power supply and other components to wear out much faster than they should.

That is where a good battery backup unit comes in. A uninterrupted power supply, or UPS, has three important jobs:

  1. Provide power when power is not available from the wall.
  2. Clean the power before it reaches the computer or server.
  3. Tell the computer when the power is shut off, so it can shut down properly.

The first part of the UPS's job is what we pay attention to the most. The unit allows the computer of server to operate for a certain time without utility power. This time allows the user to save important work and shut the computer down before the battery runs out.

The second job of the UPS is often overlooked. Having a battery backup unit on both your servers and desktops is important to extend the life of your equipment. If the computer receives clean power, the unit lasts much longer and has less likelihood of having major component failure. Additionally, many new computers are Energy Star compliant and are rated to achieve a 80 Plus power efficiency (ie: Green Computing). To achieve this rating, they need what is called Pure Sine power, which is only available from higher-end battery backup units.

Finally, the UPS can be connected to the computer it is powering and send a signal to shut down properly when there is a power outage. This prevents operating system failure and file corruption. It is important to make sure that the software is installed and configured on the computer to make this happen.

Battery backup units are essential to having efficient computer systems. They provide constant power to your computers and servers, while giving your computer's hardware added protection against the dirty power that comes from the wall.