Standards for Technology in Automotive Retail
The two most common and critical server peripherals are usually a device to back up the files on your server and an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). The UPS will help to prevent both hardware and software damage which can result from fluctuating power levels and will allow any equipment plugged into it to run on its battery for a short period of time in the event of a power outage and allow the equipment to shut down. The backup device will allow you to make copies of important files like customer contact data as well as sales and service activity, separate from the server or other computers, to safeguard your company against loss of data which could result from computer failures. The UPS should be checked periodically.
Look for the following in a back-up and recovery system:
A product that can allow critical dealership information to be backed up and does not omit certain file types and equipment configurations.
A product that has reliable schedules.
A product that has reporting and comprehensive logging capabilities to record and send alerts to an administrator when something goes wrong.
A software product that encrypts the backup archive with a minimum of 256 bit encryption.
A software product that has bit-level validation.
A software product that is easy to use and allows for easy data back-up and selective restore of the desired dealership business information and IT applications.
A UPS traditionally can perform the following functions to protect dealership computer, phone and security equipment:
Absorb small power surges.
Filter or block out electrical "noise" from power companies.
Continue to provide power to equipment during power "brown outs".
Provide power for some time after a power "blackout" has occurred.
UPS/software combinations can provide the following functions:
Automatically shutdown equipment during long power outages.
Monitor and log the status of the power supply.
Display the voltage/current "drawn " by the equipment connected to it.
Enable the equipment to be restarted after a long power outage.
Display the voltage currently available.
Provide audio alarms and send electronic messages to IT administrators when certain error conditions occur on the UPS.
Provide protection against short circuits that could permanently damage computer equipment connected to the UPS.
Look for the following characteristics in a UPS when selecting replacement units:
Sinusoidal power output. In general, the closer the AC output of the UPS is to a sine wave (not square wave patterns), the better the equipment.
A manual bypass switch that allow you to pass power through the device if it is broken or being serviced. This would be for emergency situations since the critical UPS safety features would no longer be functioning.
The ability to monitor how much power (or percentage load) the equipment is drawing, how much battery life is left and indications of the input power quality. Expectations for the power battery pack can range from 15 minutes to several hours. If more back-up time is needed, then solutions that include a diesel generator should be considered.
The ability to communicate with the UPS monitoring software via a network connection and also SNMP.
Make sure the wattage of the device and the power source circuit breaker are compatible. Look for the UPS volt-ampere rating.
A good support/maintenance contract that includes a 4-hour on site response time and/or overnight shipment of a replacement UPS unit.
The following are recommendations for maintaining a UPS:
Perform regular maintenance on the UPS and change the batteries periodically as recommended by the UPS manufacturer. Do not "deep cycle" the batteries any more than is necessary.
Make sure the UPS keeps in contact with its electrical ground at all times.
Do not subject the UPS to temperature or humidity extremes, water, excessive dust, or excessive static electricity. Keep the area around the UPS clean and dry.
Do not overload the UPS. Ensure the maximum power rating for all equipment connected to the UPS unit is well below the UPS unit's maximum power output.
Test the system regularly by simulating an outage. If the UPS shows signs of misbehavior or malfunction, remove it from service at the earliest possible opportunity. Don't put it back into service until it has been examined and recertified by qualified UPS service personnel.