SUMMARY: UPS for IPX running Solaris 2.4

From: The Boss (
Date: Tue Jul 16 1996 - 15:18:26 CDT

Re: UPS recommendations for Sun IPX running Solaris 2.4...

First of all, my apologies for not checking back far enough in the
archives. This question has been asked in the last six months. I
only went back about two months in my search...

That said...

The results are in!

The overwhelming response from you was in favor of APC products,
with very few remarks about anything else.

The difficult thing has been finding UPS products that include
software for Solaris. Most UPS software packages (and cables,
I might add) are geared toward PCs. I plan to use a Linux box
as my backup server (and maybe my primary if it works better!), so
I was also looking for compatibility with that.

We've decided to go with an APC Smart-UPS 700 with PowerChute Plus
software. We were originally considering a Smart-UPS V/S 650, but
the software that comes with that does not run on Solaris. PowerChute
Plus is the only version of their software that does. Since that
costs $100 or so, we decided not to go for a V/S product with
software we couldn't use. The cost is slightly higher for the Smart-UPS,
but with the software cost factored in, it's not by much.

In addition to software, the regular Smart-UPS version comes with
more LEDs on the front to indicate battery level. The V/S version
has only a low-battery light, which doesn't give me warm fuzzies.
I like to know exactly how much life is left in them. All batteries
in the Smart-UPS line are hot-swappable, which was another one of
my requirements. And, unless I'm confusing it with the Smart-UPS 1000,
the Smart-UPS 700 also has six electric sockets in the back instead of
four. All of them have RJ45 and RJ11 ports to protect networks and

Finally, vendors. My usual sources (NECX Direct, Insight) are so PC-
oriented that they don't even sell the Solaris software. Instead,
we bought from Inmac, which APC recommended (there was another vendor
that APC recommended whose name escapes me -- sorry!). Their price
was competitive and, since I also wanted to buy some 8mm tapes from
them, we saved a little on shipping.

Now if only the IPX didn't have those silly round serial ports!

Many, many thanks to my husband Vivek, who did all of the research on
this for me while I tried to keep the business going so I could pay for

Responses follow. The last one is from APC Tech support, in response
to a query about the PowerChute V/S software and Solaris.

Thanks for all your help!

Leslie Dreyer Kalra
Techies, Inc.

The following people replied to the request:
Nate Itkin (
Jason D. Noorman (
Rahul Roy (
Martin Achilli (
Jeff Dingbaum (
Don Catey (
Wis Macomson (
Lynne Pickett (
Les Greene (

====> original post <====

>From lbd Tue Jul 2 19:38 EDT 1996
Subject: UPS for Sun IPX
Cc: lbd

Two questions wrt UPS:

1. Can anyone recommend a UPS for use with a Sun IPX with:
        17" color monitor (obviously, doesn't *have* to be power-protected)
        Seagate Hawk 4 GB disk (up to 4)
        TP hub
        EtherFRAD frame relay router
        Exabyte 8mm 8505XL tape drive
        possible modem

   I'd also like to have automatic shutdown software, if you can
   recommend that.

   Any negative/positive experiences with various UPSs?

2. Do you know the power rating required to run all this stuff? I
        have no idea what the power consumption is of the IPX,
        though I can find out about the rest of the equipment. The
        IPX is the major unknown, and I'm trying to avoid taking it
        down to figure it out (it's my web server)...

Please send responses to I'll summarize...


Leslie Dreyer Kalra
Techies, Inc.

====> and the replies... <====

>From Tue Jul 2 20:13 EDT 1996
To: Leslie Dreyer Kalra (The Boss) <>
Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX

American Power Conversions (APC) Smart UPS 450 with the Power Chute
UNIX software. 100% reliable and it just works.
 American Power Conversion
  32 Fairgrounds Road
  West Kingston, RI 02892


>From Tue Jul 2 20:51 EDT 1996
Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX
X-Anon-Password: ou8nr6yceudba

Your UPS question is common. Recent summaries from Marc LeMaire
(at Gestionnaire de systemes, Quebec, Canada) and Sid Cowles (at
Stanford University) are attached. You may also want to look at the

- Nate Itkin
- Portland Technology Development, Intel Corporation      Aloha, Oregon
- E-mail:

======================================================================= Reply-To: Marc LeMaire <> Date: Wed, 31 Jan 1996 17:30:36 -0500 To: Subject: SUMMARY: UPS units

Thanks to all of you who responded to my request.

With all the received answers I can say that: - APC (American Power Conversion) is the most popular brand of UPS 132 Fairgrounds Road West Kingston, RI 02892 1-800-800-4APC

- in second place:

Best Best Power Technology inc. P.O. Box 280 Necedah, Wisconsin 54646 (608)565-7200 1-800-356-5794

- the thing to look at is battery longevity (3 years approx.) and they should be user repleacable.

- nobody did send any unpleasant comments or horror stories on the two above products.

Thanks again!

-- Marc LeMaire E-mail: Gestionnaire de systemes Tel: (819) 564-4868 Centre d'information topographique Fax: (819) 564-5698 2144 King Ouest, suite 010, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada, J1J 2E8

Reply-To: scowles@pangolin.Stanford.EDU (S. Cowles) To: Subject: SUMMARY: UPS recommendations

orig: I need to put the following equipment on a UPS: orig: orig: Sparc 10/41 (internal 424M disk) orig: Sun 21" monitor orig: Sun 1.3G external disk orig: 2 Seagate 2G external disks orig: orig: I'd like to get recommendations for 2 options on UPS capacities: orig: orig: option 1) keep this equipment up for a maximum of 3 minutes orig: orig: option 2) keep this equipment up for a maximum of 1 hour

I got many useful replies. The bulk of them recommended two vendors: APC (, 800-800-4APC) and BEST (800-356-5794).

Several people went above and beyond; thank you very much. Their informational contributions follow.


======================================================================== * Tox Gunn *

Check your total wattage, multiply by about 1.4 for load factor to convert to volt-amps, and then pick a model depending upon how much holdup time you want. Unless your system is lightly loaded, you might want to give a bit more than 3 minutes for a clean shutdown. Offhand, I'd suggest 5-10.

======================================================================== From: (Dave Johnson)

Your best bet would be to get a copy of the UPS faq:


======================================================================== From: Simon Burr <>

>From the APC power protection handbook:

Sparc 10/41 (internal 424M disk) = 400VA Sun 21" monitor = ~220VA (19" monitor is 190VA) Sun 1.3G external disk = Minor 2 Seagate 2G external disks = Minor

Assuming the total load of ~700VA....

1) For a maximum of 3 minutes Use a SmartUPS 600

2) For a maximum of an hour Use a SmartUPS 2000XL



>From Tue Jul 2 21:08 EDT 1996 To: Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX Mime-Version: 1.0 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit Content-Md5: IkT6mDu8Nof9GuVCathdXQ==


I have installed UPS's in many companies. Using the specs to build a power rating is generally not a good way. What I have done is got a UPS reseller to come out and use an inline power meter to measure load, but if you can't take it down specs may be the only way.

With regard to the software I have used the PowerMon II software quite successully. It uses a background daemon to monitor serial port, there is both BSD and svr4 versions available.

+----------------------------------------------------------------------+ | .-./\ Jason D. Noorman Email: | | / \ Snr Unix Systems Consultant. Group Treasury Technology. | | \_.-._/ National Australia Bank Limited. | | v 14/500 Bourke Street. Melbourne. Victoria. Australia. 3000. | | Phone: +61 3 9641 4027 Facsimile: +61 3 9641 4928 | +----------------------------------------------------------------------+


>From Wed Jul 3 09:46 EDT 1996 To: Leslie Dreyer Kalra <> Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX Mime-Version: 1.0

APC - American Power Corporation makes pretty decent UPS's - they come with serial port controlling software quite well....



======================================================================== Rahul Roy Voice: (609) 727-4600 Ext.2650 Systems Consultant Fax: (609) 727-1318 Professional Services Group Cell: (908) 202-5029 Bluestone Consulting Inc. Pager: (800) 631-4621 1000 Briggs Road Email: Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054 Web: ========================================================================


>From Wed Jul 3 05:03 EDT 1996 To: Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX

We have 7 workstations hooked up to a 3000 VA ups unit here, only two of them have their monitor under UPS too.

The reason you might want to put your monitor under UPS too is that if you want to do anything with the machine during the power outage then you need to have the monitor working.

Our UPS is rated to maintain supply for 15 mins (at 90% load), we are using it at about 70% load and have verified that supply is maintained for at least 15 mins.

I think you should be ok with a 1000 VA ups, I won't send along details on ours since I reckon it is only available in Europe, anyway the make is IWATEC.

What you should check before buying the UPS is the type of batteries that it uses and what type of maintenance they require. Once a UPS is installed you tend to forget it, and a few years later when you need it you find out the batteries are dead.

Hop this helps, Martin

Martin Achilli - Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche - I.N.B. c/o Medicina Nucleare, Osp. San Raffaele 20132 Milano, Italy tel: +39/2/26433648 fax: ../26415202


>From sproule@nascar.Princeton.EDU Wed Jul 3 09:51 EDT 1996 To: Leslie Dreyer Kalra (The Boss) <> Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX

I just purchased an APC UPS for < $500, 670 Watts. It has a serial port on it, and you can buy software to do auto-shutdown



>From Wed Jul 3 10:09 EDT 1996 To: Leslie Dreyer Kalra <> Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX

I use a unit from APC. They have a web page, I think it is They advertise heavily in the trades, so you should be able to get a phone number. You can also order from places like datacom warehouse and get a price break. I'm not in my office right now, but if you need any more info send me email.

BTW, they have charts that tell you how much power each type of system will draw.

Jeff Dingbaum HEP Network Resource Center @ Fermilab PO Box 500, MS368 system admin, webmaster, Batavia, IL 60510-0500 postmaster, coffeemaker (708)840-8472 (708)840-8463 fax


>From Wed Jul 3 10:59 EDT 1996 To: Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX

American Power Conversion (APC) has the best UPS's on the market, IMHO. Their "SmartUPS" line has varying sizes, depending on how long you want the machine to stay up in a power failure. APC also puts out "PowerChute" software for most platforms. It requires a serial link to the UPS (cable included) and works on either their Matrix or SmartUPS line of products.

About power consumption and more info, visit

Don Catey Internet: Systems Administrator Compuserve:

Motorola, Corp. Voice: 602/675-2608 Government & Space Fax: 602/441-7138 Technologies Group 8201 East McDowell Road MS H1192 Scottsdale, AZ 85252


>From Wed Jul 3 11:52 EDT 1996 Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX To: MIME-Version: 1.0 Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit


What is the primary requirement for the UPS -- allowing a graceful shutdown or continuous operation in the face of AC mains failure? This is probably the biggest question, since it determines your how much equipment must run and for how long. This, for the most part, pinpoints the unit you need, leaving on the vendor to be chosen.

For a clean shutdown, you probably need at most about 5 minutes for an IPX system. I suspect one could argue endlessly about that, but the general idea is that a very large system with loads of files open and a ton of users will require more time to save and flush data to the disks than a single user CAD station. You can make some decisions about what equipment has to be powered during the shutdown time, and maybe reduce your UPS capacity requirements. Be careful here...some users may differ in opinion :-o

For a mission critical system, you will need to run every bit of machinery for as long as it takes to get the utility back. If you see large quantities of $ when you hear that, then you're on the right track.

If you have been in your location for a year or so, then you probably have a feel for the types of failures you are likely to encounter. For instance, where I live, there are numerous (at least every two weeks) occasions when the power drops for about half a second, but very few extended outages. I could argue that I need minimal run time but good filtering. The cost of runtime may not be worth it for a particular application.

[NB: for a web server, you'll have lots of files open for read, i.e., don't need to be written back to disk, and and non-critical communications links. I think I know which way I'd lean :) ]

To size your UPS:

Every piece of AC line powered electrical equipment has a tag on it that specifies its operating voltage and power. The tag must be near the power entry point, so you'll find it on the back of the unit beside the AC power cord. The power is typically stated in units of volt-amperes ("VA"), which are kind of like watts ("W"), which is the true power measure. { ugly details available on request }

So, look on all the boxes with AC line cords and sum their VA ratings to get a first cut at UPS size. You'll probably be grossed out when you see how much your monitor draws. If you're lucky, it has a power-down mode that you can enter to save juice.

If the tape drive is internal, then the VA rating on the IPX probably includes a couple of internal peripherals like a tape drive and one disk (maybe two). Find out the power dissipation of a disk (Volts*Amps=Watts when you deal with DC) and add the extra drives' power into your total.

Now, add a kludge factor that makes you feel better. This factor can shrink when you see where vendor's price points lie.

With your run time and power requirements, you're set to pick a unit. Now you get to deal with loads of marketing hype. The decision is: "true online" vs. "standby". The basic idea is whether your UPS supplies AC all the time, or whether it simply passes utility power through until a failure, then cuts in with its own. I will not get into the muck of this one, OK? It's all a "mine's bigger" situation anyway.

( are perusing vendor propaganda here...)

Now that your eyes have glazed over from all that, here follows "MHO":

I have a Best FERRUPS running my Sparc 20. I like the filtering and zero cut-over time of the ferroresonant design. I have extended runtime battery options, and it comes standard with a serial interface and extensive sense reporting. The software was an extra cost option (~$150) when I bought the UPS, so I stalled. I just downloaded the same stuff two weeks ago for free from the Best Web site, and it appears to work. I haven't done the full testing (which includes shutting down the UPS -- this happens when the batteries get low).

Minuses: less efficient due to full-time operation. It is heavier than the dickens and I think it gives my screen the shimmies due to incomplete magnetic shielding.

I think a standby unit, a la APC, is a very good choice for PeeCee's and smaller "workstations". They are really cheap, and for ten minutes or so of run time, offer good value. The serial interface is quite common and I think software is free (at least the DOS/Windows stuff).

I don't know if there's much difference between the standby units from APC, Tripplite, or Exide. I'm leery of the no-name UPS's, because I'm sure they compete strictly on price and I don't want to deal with shoddy design, components, or assembly. Some companies, like HP, put their names on somebody else's unit. Make sure you know the source.

Good luck, and let us hear what you come up with.

-wis -- Wis Macomson c/o


>From Wed Jul 3 13:31 EDT 1996 To: "Leslie Dreyer Kalra (The Boss)" <> Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX

I have no reccomendation for VA rating, but I do reccomend you use a UPS from American Power Conversion. We use their UPSes exclusively now, and have been sorry in the past when we did not.


>From Wed Jul 3 18:09 EDT 1996 To: Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX

Please forward any information about this subject and I will do the same. I too am looking for the same setup. We are going to be having scheduled power outages this summer (the electric company knows when but will only give us a 10 minute warning).


-- ____________________________________________ | | |Lynne Pickett, D450 860-433-5576 voice | _____ |Sys Admin, Tech Pubs 860-433-5063 fax | | | |Electric Boat Corp. Email External - | _____________| -|- (_______ |General Dynamics Co. | ||_/ \ |75 Eastern Point Rd Email Internal - |< _ ) |Groton, CT 06340 USA | || \___________________________/ | | | ** Let the voice of wisdom be your own ** | |___________________________________________|


>From Mon Jul 8 14:19 EDT 1996 To: Subject: Re: UPS for Sun IPX

Leslie -

Try contacting APC (American Power Conversion) - I have 5 of their 2200 UPS systems with Powerchute shutdown/moniter software... I think they are on the web...

>Les Greene >Hughes Space/Comm

>From APC Tech Support:

>From Tue Jul 16 11:01 EDT 1996 Received: from ( []) by (8.7.5/8.7.3) with ESMTP id LAA09814 for <>; Tue, 16 Jul 1996 11:00:57 -0400 (EDT) Received: from ([]) by with ESMTP ( id AA238369219; Tue, 16 Jul 1996 11:00:19 -0400 Received: from Lotus Notes (PU Serial #1563) by (PostalUnion/SMTP(tm) v2.1.8d for Windows NT(tm)) id AA-1996Jul16.085741.1563.287102; Tue, 16 Jul 1996 10:59:13 -0400 From: (Jane Sarphie) To: (Leslie_B_DreyerKalra) Message-Id: <> X-Conversion-Id: <PU-NOTES.2171.837521861.49017> X-Mailer: Lotus Notes via PostalUnion/SMTP for Windows NT Mime-Version: 1.0 Organization: American Power Conversion, West Kingston, RI 02892 USA Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 10:59:13 -0400 Subject: Re: PowerChute v/s Content-Type: text/plain; charset="US-ASCII" Content-Length: 1111 Status: RO

Dear Leslie,

Powerchute v/s does not run on Solaris, Intel or otherwise. You may purchase a copy of Powerchute Plus and run it in simple signalling mode with the Smart-UPS v/s or you may exchange the v/s for a Smart-UPS and run PC+ in smart signalling mode.

Any required cables are included in the package with Powerchute Plus, and the pins to make an adapter for your round port are explained in the user's guide for the software.

Jane Sarphie APC Technical Support

Does PowerChute V/S, which comes with the Smart-UPS 650 V/S, run on Sun Solaris 2.4 (on SPARC, not on Intel)?

If it does not, is there another version of the software that does, or is there some third-party software that is compatible with your UPS that will run on a Sun?

Do we need a special cable to use this configuration? Are you willing to give us a pinout of any necessary extra cables?

Finally, my Sun is an IPX, which has round, 8-pin serial ports. If a cable comes with your UPS, can we get a cable that will connect directly to one of these ports?

Thank you. Leslie Dreyer Kalra Techies, Inc.

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