2000VA+ UPS for Small ESXI and Unraid Cluster

ZyconnNetworks

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Aug 9, 2016
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Hello all,

I have a small, but fairly dense virtualization and storage network that needs 24/7 uptime (some VMs I host are crucial to operation at a few local businesses), currently afforded by two consumer Cyber Power "1500VA 900W" units (CP1500PFCLCD). I can get maybe 10-15 minutes each out of these units in a power outage, max.

I'm looking to extend my ride-it-out window up to at least an hour and get network management capabilities while I am at it. The area I am, and more specifically, the power company in this area, experiences multiple complete power failures every week with many brownouts in-between. Some will last up to 15 minutes, but typically it is less than 1 minute. It is truly the dirtiest power I've ever seen.

Here is what is running on my current two UPS, one each:

ESXI: Dual E5-2630 V4 (85W TDP each), 256GB DDR4 (16x16GB), Supermicro MBD-X10DRI, 6 400GB DC3710, 2 WD Se 4TB, PERC H730 1GB+BBU, all in a Supermicro CSE-825TQ - ~50 VMs

Unraid: E5-1660 V3 (140W), 64GB DDR4 (4x16GB), Supermicro MBD-X10SRL-F, 2 400GB DC3710, 8 WD Se 4TB, H310 in IT mode, Nvidia GTX 1080 passthrough, Quadro K4200 passthrough, all in Supermicro CSE-745TQ - 4 VMs

The ESXI system runs about 65% CPU utilization on average with my VM workload, rarely peaking to 100% and only for a bit, and RAM is of course fully utilized. The CyberPower reads an average use of ~285W. The highest reading I've ever seen on this system is ~360W

The Unraid system runs about 50% CPU utilization on average with my VM workload, and RAM mostly fully utilized. The GTX 1080 maybe gets run 4Hr a week and the K4200 is active maybe 30Hr a week. The CyberPower reads an average use of ~375W, and I've seen it peak as high as 700W with both GPUs going and all disks spinning.

I can run scripts to trim power usage down to ~200W on the ESXI system in case of power outage. The Unraid system I can get down to ~250W. However, I'd prefer not to go into limp mode so-to-speak when the power goes out.

While I would prefer 240V inputs and outputs, I realize this can drove up costs. Three phase 208V I do not have. I am fine with a 120V unit (I am stateside). I do not use a PDU, if that makes a difference. I can comfortably spend maybe $800, and definitely not afraid of Ebay deals or bargains (almost all my gear is used Ebay stuff/server pulls). Whatever gets the job done at least cost is great.

Noise is not an issue, my rack is noise isolated and tucked away deep in the basement.

TL : DR
Typical power draw: 660W
Max power draw: 1000W
Uptime needed: 1Hr
Noise does not matter.
240V I/O preferred, but 120V I/O is OK
Network Management Needed
$800 is my top dollar currently.

I have quite a few questions, as I am not at all an expert on UPSs.

1: Do those power numbers seem right for the load I am giving (i.e. can I trust what the Cyberpower units are telling me)?

2: What unit and/or capacity would give me the hour up-time I am looking for? I was thinking a decent 2000-2200VA Eaton or APC would do. Maybe a 3000VA in the worst case power draw scenario.

3: What units do users at ServeTheHome prefer in the 2000-3000 VA range?

4: I only have experience with Eaton's management interface, is APC any better?

5: Any good deals currently? Ha... I really don't know what a good deal is on these, not an expert on them.
 

cheezehead

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Sep 23, 2012
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1) Yes it's about about
2) Country Selection Page - Figuring on 1000W load with 120V, 1hr run-time with 20% future growth planning nets a 2200VA UPS with a couple of extra batteries for runtime.
3) I tend to stick with APC gear when buying used, there's lots of it out there.
4) I've used both and they are different but pretty much the same.
5) The biggest problem with UPS units is gonna be weight (ie shipping costs). In general racks and UPS units I tend to buy locally if possible due to insane shipping costs. As an aside, I do have a 2200VA APC unit...given that load runtime would be like 15-20min without an additional battery pack (PM me if your in the midwest and interest).

Beyond looking at the initial UPS cost, take a look at how much the batteries will run you....i've avoided some models in the past because of unusual battery sizes resulting in high battery replacement costs. If you know what your looking for, Amazon and Ebay seem to have the cheapest battery prices if you look at the bare batteries to repack yourself.

2-Phase UPS units might be cheaper on the used market because there is less of a market for them (not everyone is running 2-phase at home).
 
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T_Minus

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Feb 15, 2015
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There's no way you're getting all what you want for that price.

1HR run time at 600w is a lot of battery, 1hr run time at 1000w is obviously a lot more... and will cost too.
 

aero

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Apr 27, 2016
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You're going to need a ~6000 VA UPS for the 600watt scenario, or a 2000 VA + extra external battery pack. APC has a sizing tool, CyberPower also has a sizing tool, and they point out which models would be applicable.

I don't think you're going to get anything in your price range to fit your specifications. I'd estimate ~$1800.
 
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cheezehead

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Really depends if your awake and around when it's going on....you could get away with a smaller UPS and a portable generator for sub-$800. IMO if it really needs to be up 24x7, 7KW standby generators entry point is around 2k.
 
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ZyconnNetworks

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Aug 9, 2016
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There's no way you're getting all what you want for that price.
Even used? I'm not afraid of a refurbished unit, or something used. But, I do see buying new that is the case, this stuff is NOT cheap buying retail.

Are charts like these to be trusted?: APC Smart-UPS Runtime Chart | APCGuard.com

The times quoted look pretty optimistic. It shows a few 2200VA units up near 50 minutes at between 600-700W, the SUA2200RM2U listed would do that with an extended battery, right?

I was thinking of getting a proper Onan/Generac Ng/Diesel generator anyway, so I could probably live with 30 minutes or less uptime. Realistically, by the time an hour rolls around you probably would want a generator going anyway, running more than just your server gear.

Thank you!
 

Jon Massey

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Nov 11, 2015
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Word of caution on the used units, the cost of replacement batteries can bite you in the arse if they're not in good health.
 
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Michael Hall

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Oct 9, 2015
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The computer store I used to work at sold several refurb. UPSes from UPSforLESS - APC SmartUPS & Uninterruptible Power Supply Battery Backup Experts/. They may not be the cheapest, but they come with a 1 year warranty and, most importantly, brand new batteries.

An UPSforLESS Power Backup Experts | APC SUA2200RMXL3U 2200VA Rackmount 3U Extended Length Runtime UPS is rated for 864 VAh, and the additional battery unit, UPSforLESS Power Backup Experts | APC SUA48RMXLBP3U, is rated for 1728 VAh, so that combination should be good for over 2 hours at 1000W for about $900 + shipping. They also have a bundle deal on a 3000VA w/additional battery (UPSforLESS Power Backup Experts | APC SUA48RMXL3U 3000VA Extended Runtime Rack UPS 3U) for $950 with free shipping.
 

Drewy

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As marv is suggesting I replaced the 4 6volt batteries of my very old APC unit with 2 large 12volt leisure batteries (cope better with deep discharges than car batteries). I'd have to go check the exact AH ratings but they last for 4-5 hrs whereas the original batteries would be flat in 15-20 minutes.
I did originally think the ups may have problems charging the large batteries but it's fine. Obviously takes longer to charge from deep discharges than the standard unit but works fine.
These batteries also work out much cheaper, cheaper to purchase and last longer. I was replacing the 6v packs every 3-4 years, these have lasted 5 so far.
 

ZyconnNetworks

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Aug 9, 2016
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That Cyberpower inverter looks like a cool idea. Even though it looks like I'd have to figure another way to tell me the power is out to run shutdown scripts after X amount of time has passed. Might be for the better to have a separate solution though.

How old/unusable would an Eaton 5130 3000Va be? PW5130L3000-XL2U
I found one dirt cheap around my area with new batteries. Like $200 dirt cheap. Seller claims 50 mintues with 600W load. It has a a network management card too. At this price I could nearly buy three sets of batteries extra on my budget.

What I am wondering with something this old is if I can get Eaton's IPM software to work with shutting down an ESXI 6.0 machine. I have every VM configured for automatic, in order VMtools Guest shutdown, so a simple shutdown call on the ESXI host would do. Unraid may need a different solution. I do have IPMI on both boards, so I could probably fudge some script using ipmitool to soft shutdown the hosts/VMs on the UPS.

I see one article on the 5130 specifically: EATON 5130 UPS and graceful shutdown for ESXi

Not sure how I feel about something this old in terms of reliability outside of replacing batteries. I might just bite the bullet and get a brand new Eaton 5PX around 1440Va, and a good gen set down the road. Run shutdown scripts in the mean time.
 

fractal

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You "could" do something like https://www.amazon.com/Xantrex-Freedom-806-1840-Inverter-Charger/dp/B00DA0CXUC plus a couple of golf cart batteries. That stays within your budget. You would need to find a well ventilated place to put the batteries to avoid hydrogen buildup. That will give you an hour and a half to two hours at 1kw.

I have something similar in my garage and it works for me, but is not necessarily for everyone.

The golf cart batteries are 70 dollars each at Costco and about 100 other places. You will need two of them for a 12 volt inverter. I got 8 years service out of my first set.
 
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ZyconnNetworks

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Aug 9, 2016
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Hello,

I found a great deal on a new 2200Va 5PX without an Eaton NETWORK-MS management card. Would an older NETWORK-MS card out of say, an Eaton 5130 work with the newer 5PX series? They look to be physically compatible, and all I see are differences in firmware. Would it be a simple firmware update? Would this firmware update be done before or after swapping the network card into the 5PX?

I'm thinking of buying both an old 3000VA 5130 and a new 2200VA 5PX and running ESXI off the 5PX and Unraid off the 5130, relaying signals from the ESXI VM running Eaton IPM to Unraid to shutdown.

Thank you for your input!
 

Blinky 42

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I have not used Eaton stuff directly but the guys down in Baltimore I buy reburb UPSs from deal with basically Eaton and APC and say the maintenance and reliability is basically on par between them, just depends on what you have more of or are used to.

You can pick up the UPS unit pretty cheap but the new set of batteries plus extra expansion batteries /chassis for it to last that long at load is what costs the $ - if your power is that bad and you have paying clients on it, I would really think about getting a generator & ATS in the mix and size the UPS so it can handle the spin-up time of the generator instead of totally relying upon a huge bank of batteries that you will need to totally swap out every few years. The cost savings of swapping less batteries a few times could be applied to the generator over its lifetime.

Side note - If your Eaton doesn't pan out and close to Philly/Harrisburg area I have a pair of 3U APC 3kVA 208/240V units I recently pulled to swap up to 6 kVA's but have not had time to consider if I will set up downstairs for myself or try and sell off. Both have the expansion connector on the back so you can chain on more battery packs or build up some franken-battery setup if adventurous :) PM if interested.
 

nk215

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Unraid: E5-1660 V3 (140W), 64GB DDR4 (4x16GB), Supermicro MBD-X10SRL-F, 2 400GB DC3710, 8 WD Se 4TB, H310 in IT mode, Nvidia GTX 1080 passthrough, Quadro K4200 passthrough, all in Supermicro CSE-745TQ - 4 VMs

If you use an inverter with a massive battery bank then you can use your existing UPS connected to a small load (Pi SSH server for example). This small server will be the one sending you an email for power outage. Or you can use USB pass-thru and connect your existing UPS to one of the VMs. This can also email you.

Best solution to be within your budget is to get a used APC UPS with external battery connector. Junk the internal battery and use a few marine batteries to power the UPS via the external connector.
 
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