by Kevin OBrien

Eaton 9PX UPS Review

The Eaton 9PX UPS is a new high-efficiency battery backup designed for the protection of medium-to-high-density IT equipment in computer rooms as well as small data centers in industrial, manufacturing, medical and telecommunications applications. Offered in sizes between 5-11kVA, the 9PX is aimed toward a wide range of operating conditions, with installations supporting the 9PX UPS itself or scale-out configurations with up to twelve additional EMBs (extended battery modules) to offer additional runtime. With claims of high operating efficiency (>98%) and AMB technology to extend the service life of batteries by up to 50%, Eaton is gearing to help IT departments save on power consumption and lower operating costs with the new 9PX UPS.

As we continue to expand on our compute, storage, and networking infrastructure in the StorageReview Test Lab, the one item that can't be overlooked is how to manage and protect devices as power consumption skyrockets. In a production environment brownout or blackouts can spell disaster for a server room as downtime translates into money lost. In our Test Lab the same comparisons can be made, although the biggest resource we stand to lose is machine time. With single enterprise test iterations taking nearly a day to complete, one short power blip to systems performing these test causes time to be wasted and review schedules shifted. To solve these problems in our ever-growing lab, we turned to Eaton for their new 9PX UPS to support our two 42U Eaton S-Series Racks. The model we chose specifically is the 9PX6K, rated for 6000VA or 5400W, with connections to attach our Eaton Advanced Monitored ePDU for server-level power management.

Eaton 9PX6K UPS Specifications:

  • Rating (VA/Watts): 6000/5400
  • Input Voltage Range: 176–276 Vac
  • Nominal Voltage : 208V default (200/208/220/230/240V)
  • Frequency: 50/60 Hz
  • Frequency Range: 60 Hz: 50–70 Hz, 50 Hz: 40–60 Hz
  • Input Power Factor: >99
  • Input Current Distortion: <5%
  • Output Receptacles: (2) NEMA L6-20R, (2) NEMA L6-30R, Hardwired
  • Output Voltage: 208V default (200/208/220/230/240V)
  • Output Voltage Regulation: ±1% steady-state
  • Overload Capacity: 102–110% : 120s, 110–125%: 60s, 125– 150%: 10s, >150%: 500ms
  • Transfer Time: 0ms
  • Heat Dissipation (BTU): Line: 1245, Battery: 1895
  • Audible Noise: <45 dBA
  • Warranty: 2 Years

Build and Design

The Eaton 9PX UPS is a 3U battery backup that can be setup in both rack-mount and tower configurations with supplied hardware. For rack-mount environments Eaton includes static mounting rails for 4-post racks, such as the Eaton S-Series Rack we use in our lab. For users opting to configure the unit in a tower configuration for floor mounting, Eaton includes two "feet" to keep the unit stable when standing vertically. While the 9PX6K we are reviewing is a single 3U unit, higher-rated models include multiple 3U sections where they store the primary batteries in a separate module.

The 9PX UPS operates in two unique modes; standard and high-efficiency. In standard mode the 9PX is constantly online using some power by flowing output power through the on-board inverter and batteries. This has the advantage of offering a 0ms transfer delay to keep critical power-sensitive equipment online without a blip during power outages. For I/T equipment that can handle a 10ms transfer delay, the 9PX can be operate in high-efficiency mode which increases the efficiency of the battery backup from >93% to >98%. In H/E mode the UPS operates in a bypass mode, with the inverter powered down, only switching online when power fails. 

The front of the 9PX UPS features two vented panels as well as a rotating/tilting LCD panel that displays detailed real-time information about the battery backup locally. From a cooling standpoint the large vents on the front provide airflow to the batteries (left side) and a front-mount cooling fan for the electronics (right side). The left and center panel section are also removable, and swing out of place to give access to the battery compartment located directly behind it. The design is such that the internal battery pack can be hot-swapped within minutes, allowing the system to stay inside the production environment and eliminate any downtime for normal maintenance.

The rear layout of the 9PX UPS varies between models, with our review covering the 9PX6K unit specifically. Most of these changes are to handle the higher-rated internal hardware, as well as the multitude of electrical connectivity options. The rear of the Eaton 9PX6K includes a 6-foot cord with an L6-30R connector for its primary power input, although this is pre-wired to a terminal block that allows a hardwired configuration. Electrical outputs on the 9PC6K include two 20A L6-20R plugs and two L6-30R plugs. The 20A connectors are protected by circuit-breakers on the UPS itself, while the 30A plugs are protected by either circuit breakers on the device attached or the master 30A circuit breaker upstream feeding the UPS. To manage and monitor the UPS, the 9PX includes USB and RS-232 for direct attachment or an Ethernet port for network connectivity.

Eaton also includes Remote On/Off (ROO) and Remote Power Off (RPO) terminals to, as the name implies, remotely power the battery backup down. For example, RPO functionality can be used in scenarios where you want to protect equipment in the event room temperatures get too high and you force the unit and supply of power to turn off.

Eaton Intelligent Power Software Suite

For remote monitoring and management, Eaton includes their Intelligent Power Software Suite with the 9PX UPS. The suite includes both their Intelligent Power Manager for monitoring multiple devices across the network and Intelligent Power Protector installed at the system level to perform tasks such as safely shutdown a server in the event of a power failure.

Eaton provides an edition of its Intelligent Power Manager with support for up to ten nodes as a free download. The IPM can monitor and manage multiple UPS and ePDU devices across the network via web browser or a vCenter or XenCenter dashboard. Eaton IPM is compatible with ESXi, SCVMM, XenCenter, and KVM technologies. Intelligent Power Manager’s shutdown agent management enables safe shutdown of servers including vCenter clusters. The software can also be configured to trigger vMotion, XenMotion and other migration applications to transparently move virtual machines to an available server on the network, maximizing integrity and availability in the event of power disruption. 

In our lab we use Intelligent Power Manager to monitor usage of individual servers on an outlet-by-outlet basis that are connected through our Eaton Advanced Monitored ePDU as well as runtimes of battery backups on the network. On the testing servers that we utilize in our enterprise reviews, we use Intelligent Power Protector to trigger safe shutdowns in the event of prolonged power outages. This synergy between hardware and software allows the StorageReview Test Lab to operate smoothly, riding out adverse conditions in our region without setting our product evaluations behind.

StorageReview Enterprise Testing Environment

The StorageReview Test Lab is divided into two zones, each of which has unique power requirements. Zone 1 includes the bulk of the gear in our lab and as a result the highest power requirements, where the main need for a battery backup is to ride out short-term power interruptions. Zone 2 includes vital infrastructure pieces as well as enterprise gear working on higher-priority tests where the combined power loads are lower, but runtime is key. Zone 1 is the section protected by the new Eaton 9PX6K and managed with Eaton's Advanced Monitored ePDU while Zone 2 is protected by the Eaton 5PX-2200RT with an additional EMB. Below we detailed the hardware currently in use at the time of this review, including the minimum power consumed by each device.

Zone 1 Devices / Power Requirements (Aggregate Minimum Load 5129VA):

Zone 2 Devices / Power Requirements (Aggregate Minimum Load 279-558VA):

  • (1-2) Lenovo ThinkServer RD630 (105-210VA)
  • (1-2) Lenovo ThinkServer RD240 (174-348VA)

Conclusion

The Eaton 9PX UPS provides enterprise-grade power protection for medium to high-density rack configurations. Our particular model, the 9PX6K, is rated for 6000VA or 5400W, which is perfect given the number of storage solutions and servers operating in the lab at any given time. For small businesses or branch/remote offices housing at least some of their own infrastructure locally, proper support for power conditioning and UPS backup is critical to ensure accessibility and continuity for business applications and data. 

The 9PX UPS family though goes well beyond simply offering a battery that takes over in the event of power loss. We found everywhere benefits everwhere from intuitive initial setup and configuration to detailed administration options. In terms of performance, the 9PX offers different options to lower power usage of the unit itself depending on the environment it is operating in. Depending on the environment the 9PX is being installed in, the system can be configured to offer up to 98% efficiency to save on power costs. When it comes to software, Eaton provides a robust Intelligent Power Software Suite that offers "single pane of glass" integration with most virtualization management programs to automatically trigger VM migration in the event of an outage event. Overall the synergy of hardware and software that comes with Eaton power quality products is hard to match in features or integration.

Bottom Line

The Eaton 9PX UPS family offers capacities between 5-11kVA, ideal for businesses that have a rack or more of local infrastructure to protect. Our 6kVA model supports over 30 servers and storage systems in our Enterprise Test Lab, providing robust management and power protection to keep our tests running smoothly.

Product Page

Discuss This Review