Why UPS Battery Maintenance can save you money

Average Cost of Data Center Outages: $627,418 PER INCIDENT

Just how costly is an unplanned data center outage? A recent study puts the price tag at over $600,000 per incident.  The top root cause of those outages?  UPS battery failure. Here are three ways to ensure these costly failures don’t reach your data center.

The Ponemon Institute and Emerson Network conducted a benchmark study that attempts to estimate the full costs associated with an unplanned data center outage for 67 independent data centers located in the United States. 2013 Cost of Data Center Outages places the overall average cost as $627,418 per incident.

Below is a graph of the root causes of unplanned outages for both 2010 and 2013. The most frequent root cause was found to be the UPS system failure at 29% in 2010 and 24% in 2013.

Root Causes of Unplanned OutagesRoot causes of unplanned outages


The Ponemon Institute conducted another 2013 study of 584 individuals in US organizations who have responsibility for data center operations. The reported top root cause was the UPS batteries failure at 54% and UPS equipment failure at 22%.

Top Root CausesTop root causes of unplanned power outages
How to Succeed Against the Biggest Source of Power Failure

During a utility outage, a battery maintains power to the IT equipment through the UPS until utility power is restored, the generator (if present) comes on line, or the battery’s stored energy is exhausted.

What is necessary to ensure batteries will be there when you need them during a utility outage?

1. Knowing the condition (capacity) of the batteries.

2. Predicting the remainder of the service life of the batteries.

3. Maintaining the environment.

The only way to ensure you meet all three?  UPS preventative maintenance.

Preventative UPS maintenance provides hands-on inspection of the battery conditions including:

  • Terminal corrosion
  • Acid leak
  • Paths leading to ground shorts
  • Case rupture and cracks
  • Plate shedding
  • Discoloration
  • Heat buildup
  • High resistance connections
  • Thermal runaway
  • Battery load test
  • Capacitors leakage and fan operations

These observable and correctable potential points of failure can be discerned and detected by visual inspection and hands-on maintenance/testing. Data should be recorded and trend analysis performed.

To help you maintain the environment, battery monitoring provides 24/7/365 information on the state of the batteries such as change in voltage, change in current and temperature.  Monitoring can alert when the conditions are out of set points. But most importantly, the information needs to be received and responded to in a timely manner.

In order to ensure high uptime in the data center facility, a UPS preventative maintenance program and battery monitoring system should be in place. Especially when $627,418 dollars – or more – is on the line.

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  1. […] If VRLA battery environments are neglected and become overheated, this can lead to catastrophic issues such as thermal runway. Thermal Runway is defined as a kind of uncontrolled positive feedback situation, where an increase in temperature changes the conditions in a way that causes them to further increase temperature. This can lead to battery explosions or battery meltdowns, and may cause huge monetary losses. […]

  2. […] systems or even smart devices. They can also watch trends and start to predict failures before costly downtime takes […]

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