by StorageReview Enterprise Lab

Eaton BladeUPS Power System Review

The Eaton BladeUPS system is a modular battery backup platform that enables uninterruptable power to a populated rack or racks. Unlike other UPS systems, the BladeUPS houses both its electronics and batteries in the same housing. The BladeUPS is unqiue though in that it is both modular and scalable. Users can start off with one 8kW, 6U unit and scale all the way up to an entire rack populated with units, topping out at 60kW. Eaton claims that their BladeUPS have an operating efficiency of 98.6%, with 65% less heat dissipation, and a 70% reduction in footprint compared to their competitors.

As our StorageReview Test Lab continues to grow we have to further extend our ability 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 hours or days 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 and its BladeUPS Power System for our 5 Eaton S-Series Racks. We are using the BladeUPS along with a 3U EBM to extend battery power as well as Eaton’s Rack Power Module to distribute power to multiple Eaton G3 metered and managed ePDUs.

Eaton’s BladeUPS comes with several features that make it appealing to datacenters. Aside from its modular design that allows additional BladeUPS or EMBs to be added as power needs grow, the BladeUPS can be redeployed and reused in the event that IT needs to move (or in our case moving our lab from a lower floor to an upper floor). The BladeUPS offers Advance Battery Management (ABM) and Hot Sync technology, which will enhance battery life while simplifying configuration and paralleling. The BladeUPS is designed with multiple points of redundancy to avoid a single point of failure and comes with hot-swappable components (including batteries and electronics) to avoid unplanned downtime.

The Eaton BladeUPS system comes with a 18-month warranty and starts at $8,300 for the new 8kW model.

Eaton BladeUPS Power System specifications:

  • Power Rating: 8-60 kW
  • Voltage: 208 Vac and 400 Vac models
  • Frequency: 50/60 Hz
  • Frequency Range: 50 or 60 Hz, ±5 Hz
  • Input Power Factor: >0.99 with IT loads (PFC power supplies)
  • Input Current Distortion: <5% with IT loads (PFC power supplies)
  • Rated Output Voltage:
    • 208V model: 180 to 225 Vac, Ph to Ph
    • 400V model: 180 to 240 Vac, Ph to N
  • Battery Type: VRLA–AGM
  • Heat Dissipation: 371W/1266 BTU/hr at 100% rated load
  • Cooling: Fan cooled, temperature microprocessor monitored; front air entry, rear exhaust
  • Audible Noise: <60 dBA at 1 meter
  • Topology: Double conversion on demand
  • Efficiency: Up to 98%
  • Configuration: Rackmount
  • Dimensions (HxWxD): 10.3 x 17.4 x 26.0 in (267 x 442 x 660 mm)
  • Weight: 307 lb. (140kg)
  • Warranty: 18-month

Design and build

The Eaton BladeUPS is a flexible battery backup platform made up of 6U UPS and 3U EBM modules. It is a rackmount device that fits a standard 19” width rack, offered in individual modules or preassembled solutions. The preassembled system we received was a top-entry model, with one EMB as well as an RPM to distribute power out from the BladeUPS. The front of the unit has a black plastic cover for ventilation. The cover can be removed in order to the take the batteries out, for hot-swapping or for ease of movement. At the top front of the device is a screen for local adjustments with four buttons for navigation. The top left has Eaton branding and the bottom center has the product name.

To remove the battery for a live hot-swap, one just needs to pull off the front cover, unplug the LCD screen, unscrew and remove the battery plate, and slide the batteries out. The electric module can be removed through the front as well by pulling on the ring handle once the screws have been removed.

Moving around to the rear of the unit, we see two cooling fans on the left hand side. Along the top are three breakers, from left to right: the load connector breaker, the input breaker, and the battery breaker. Directly below the battery breaker is the UPS battery connector for connecting more BladeUPS units or EBM units. The input power cord(s) are to the left of the UPS battery connector. Beneath the input power cords are two slots for communication bays. To the left of the input cords is a load connector and to the left of that is a communication port.

To distribute the protected power from the Eaton BladeUPS to our datacenter, we use Eaton's Rack Power Module or RPM, to which all of our ePDUs are connected. The RPM offers a central point for powering ePDU ports, shows phase loading at a quick glance and comes with a quick-connect cord to make installation possible without an electrician present.

From the rear the Eaton RPM comes with six L6-30R connectors, each color coded to which phases make up the connection. This is helpful when it comes to balancing the load, where certain racks might draw more than others.

Eaton Power Xpert Gateway

To connect to a networked environment as well as provide online monitoring information of the BladeUPS platform, Eaton offers a Power Xpert Gateway add-on card. This Web-accessible interface offers detailed stats of the day to day operations of the BladeUPS unit, as well as an area to collected logs if power outages occur and you want to track stats on a more granular level.

Eaton Intelligent Power Software Suite

For remote monitoring and management, Eaton includes their Intelligent Power Software Suite with the BladeUPS. 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 shutting down 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 servers on an rack-by-rack basis that are connected through our Eaton Metered Input G3 ePDUs as well as runtimes of battery backups on the network. We also leverage one managed PDU that certain devices are connected through to track power usage and remotely cut power to save on utility bills and lower cooling demands. 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.

Conclusion

Eaton’s BladeUPS offers uninterruptable power for data centers. The UPS is 6U in height and modular and scalable from as low as 8kW to 60kW in a single 42U rack. The BladeUPS offers Advance Battery Management and Hot Sync technology, multiple points of redundancy, and the ability to hot-swap batteries and electronics. Users can add more BladeUPS or EBMs to a single rack or they can choose to buy a preassembled rack.

When it comes to running a single rack or a small datacenter like our lab, power conditioning, management and distribution is critical. In the traditional sense, interuptions could be loss of business or service delivery levels. In our case, if the lab isn't up, reviews and other projects aren't happening. Eaton's robust portfolio ensures our servers, storage and networking stay online even when there are elictrical service delivery issues in our office complex. Beyond the basics though, Eaton's tools within the Intelligent Power Software Suite, provide excellent integration with vCenter. In a prolonged outage, the Intelligent Power Manger could initiate a vMotion of critical VMs to our remote replication lab. In total, this collection of hardware and software gives our lab the confidence that operations won't stop regardless of the environent outside. 

The Bottom Line

Eaton’s 6U BladeUPS system provides uninterruptable power for several racks. It can scale with the needs of the business and comes with a robust management software suite. 

Eaton BladeUPS product page

Eaton BladeUPS on Amazon

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