An uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is a battery-driven power supply that helps protect electronic equipment from a sudden loss of power. It is especially useful with computers and equipment that could suffer damage in a power outage. In some cases, UPS battery units can be combined with generators to provide power for longer-term outages in larger, corporate environments where downtime could hurt business.
Uninterruptible power supply units are important for certain types of equipment that could be damaged in a power failure. For example, computer servers are typically left running 24 hours a day, as they provide services and files for other computers. A power outage could corrupt the data on a server or make data unavailable to users. In large business environments, networking equipment could also benefit from being on an uninterruptible power supply, as a lack of power to network equipment could prevent communication on the network. In both cases, a, uninterruptible power supply can ensure that the equipment remains operational even if external power was unavailable, as well as reduces the chance that a power outage could corrupt data on a server. In these cases, an appropriate backup power solution is highly recommended.
In other cases, uninterruptible power supplies are less necessary. Individual computers in a home or office likely do not necessarily need backup power. In these instances, while backup power from a UPS could ensure that the computer would be operational during a power outage, it is likely that a lack of power to other devices (such as having no lights or other electrical equipment) would make the backup power less than worthwhile. While a sudden power outage could corrupt data on a computer that was running, regular backups of a home or office PC provide protection against data loss. While uninterruptible power supply units aren't necessary for many PC systems, small units are available for little money and can provide a measure of protection against power failures.
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Uninterruptible power supply units come in a variety of capacities and price ranges. Some UPS units are designed to provide enough power to keep computers running just until they can be safely shut down. Others can keep equipment operational for hours. When purchasing a uninterruptible power supply, it is important to consider what equipment must be kept running, as well as for how long. The more devices that are connected to the uninterruptible power supply, the faster a battery-based power supply will drain. Not surprisingly, larger-capacity solutions with longer-term power supplies generally cost more than smaller systems.