More and more critical power customers, whether their critical power assets are managed by a representative of their IT department, Facilities or even Procurement, are opting to adopt the “we’ll fix it when it breaks” mentality. The cost to maintain their critical power equipment namely the UPS, becomes a cost saving strategy that frankly, is looking at ‘how to not spend money’ as opposed to ‘how to not lose money due to an outage’…and considering the risks involved, this is a dangerous, and potentially costly practice.
Throughout my years as a critical power instructor, I have often referenced the automotive industry as one similar to the UPS industry: there are multiple makes and models, there may be more parts available for one make over another, there are customer preferences to contend with, and there’s the varying ‘subject matter experts’ for each make. In continuing this reference, I will use it as it applies to the upkeep of one’s vehicle.
If your daily driven vehicle, the one you rely on to regularly commute to and from your place of employment, needed new tires because they were bald…how long would you drive on those tires?
- Would you, upon being made aware of the state of your tires, simply replace all your tires?
- Would you replace the worse tire first, and just work your way through the whole set one at a time, hoping you get through the whole set before one blows-out?
- Would you just keep going until you saved up enough money to replace all of them, hoping you don’t have a blow-out in the meantime?
- Would you wait until you had a blow-out, and then replace the one that blew-out?
In the case of your vehicle, why would you risk your safety, and possibly the safety of others by ignoring a known risk? In the case of your UPS system, imagine those tires were your batteries… why would you risk the potentially high cost of lost data, revenue, employee downtime, and in some cases, also risk human life if the application is a Life Safety application? One may be surprised to know that a lot of companies today, due to not spending money, opt to wait for the blow-out! Whether the risk is old batteries, old capacitors, old fans…the parts still pose a risk, but if the unit is still running, the risk is ignored…much like the fact the vehicle is still able to go down the road…even though the tires are bald!
The average VRLA battery replacement costs $3,000 to $6,000 for one string of batteries. The average data center outage caused by a failed battery string has met and/or surpassed that cost, and with the financial cost of the outage comes other ramifications such as: lack of confidence from customers, recovery time, unforeseen labor costs, potential generator fuel costs, etc., yet customers only see the cost to replace the batteries.
We at Nationwide understand that not every business is able to use capital monies immediately upon manufacturer based recommendations, however; there is a distinct difference between waiting for budgetary reasons, and opting not to simply due to not wanting to spend money. This is also why we make our recommendations to our customers pro-actively, to allow them time for budgetary planning, and after that recommendation has been made, you only must answer one question. Why wait?
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