Half a million UPSes in need of refresh

Half a million UPSes in need of refresh

Despite the fact that sales of UPS (uninterruptible power supply) product generate around $100 million annually in Australia, UPS vendors seem to spend an exorbitant amount of time reminding resellers to tell customers to install or update their UPS systems. This month, UPS vendor American Power Conversion (APC) launched a Reliability Upgrade Program after encountering an increased number of companies operating with old UPS systems that are near, or beyond, capacity.

APC predicts that there are just over half a million UPS units installed in Australia that are more than three years old. The assumption is based on data collated by US research firm VDC data in December 2000 and, according to APC's Australia/NZ managing director, Leanne Cunnold, makes the timing right for resellers to get back in front of the customer and suggest upgrades.

Forty per cent of calls coming through APC's helpdesk are related to battery replacements, system refreshes or upgrades, which is the basis for the introduction of the upgrade program.

Cunnold says organisations are prone to plugging more devices into an existing UPS without considering whether it is stretched beyond capacity or how runtime will be impacted.

"They never stop to consider the life of the battery or the fact that now the UPS is protecting two servers instead of the one for which it was originally purchased," she said.

UPSes are one of the first things to be taken off a company's IT purchase order if there's a budget restraint, according to Cunnold. If the company has an old UPS unit installed, there's a mentality of, 'we've already got that' when in fact the customer should be asking, 'does it still meet our needs today?'."

APC's Reliability Upgrade Program covers battery replacement kits, warranty extensions, onsite warranty service and management services, and software for customers with multiple sites of UPS systems. However, the real incentive is the trade-in option, which allows customers to trade in their old UPS -- either an APC unit or a competing brand -- and obtain a $16 to $730 price reduction on a new unit.

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