The latest in my attempts to stop bitrot and the loss of data that’s important to me is this purchase:
It’s an Eaton 5S1600AU Uninterruptible Power Supply, which is able to provide smooth, clean power to my two HP servrs and PC during normal operation and battery-sourced power for a few minutes when the power supply goes off for any reason (which it has quite a lot of late). A few minutes isn’t much, of course… but it’s time enough for the servers to automatically shut themselves down, cleanly.
I read after I’d bought it that someone had found it to be noisy and underpowered. Had I read that review beforehand, I probably would have thought twice about making the purchase. As it is, I’ve found the UPS to be utterly silent in normal operation (as I’d expect from something which is, basically, just a battery). It is also not warm at all -maybe just a little warm spot in the middle of the top edge, but certainly nothing untoward. Of course, during power failures, the battery kicks in and starts supplying about 1 kilowatt of power to the various devices that need it: at that point, it’s essentially doing what a 1-bar electric fire does, and accordingly cooling fans kick in to dramatic effect. I certainly wouldn’t want to have to sit next to it for any length of time in that mode of operation -but then, I wouldn’t expect to do that either. The UPS’s job is, after all, simply to handle clean server shutdowns two minutes after the power goes off. If it can do that (and it can!), then it’s done what was asked of it.
I chose this particular Eaton model because it’s on the hardware compatibility list for FreeBSD (the O/S underlying FreeNAS). Setup was satisfyingly simple as a consequence:
There are a few Eaton drivers listed when you select that driver drop-down and none of them are labelled ‘5S1600AU’, which was a bit of shame. But picking anything named ‘Eaton’ that’s listed as using the usbhid-ups driver worked fine. I settled for the 5 Evolution S 1250/1750/2500/3000 VA USB port (usbhid-ups) in the end, and that’s doing all I need it to do, anyway.
UPSes are nothing new in the commercial Data Center of course, but they don’t yet seem to be a household item. But at AU$320 for this one, I’m wondering why not: it cleans a power supply of spikes and variation, even when there’s no actual power failure; it means you consume only one wall power socket for 6 devices, instead of several; it protects your servers from power surges and failures. It is to desktops what a battery is to a laptop, basically… and I think these should probably be seen as ‘consumer essential’ rather than ‘geek toy’.
Anyway: I recommend having one of some sort, and -so far at least- I have no problems recommending this specific model.