How Do I Choose Between the Types of Uninterruptible Power Supply Systems

3 min read
12/13/22 9:30 AM

As society continues to rely on technology, unplanned downtime can be devastating for a business. From potential equipment damage to unsaved data, the effects can force organizations to lose important work and hurt their reputation when power falters. Uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) are one of the best solutions for companies that need to avoid downtime at all costs.

What Is a UPS?

An UPS is a simple backup system that activates in the event of a power failure. UPS batteries provide power for at least a short time when your normal source fails. This saves your devices from being damaged during a hard shutdown and keeps you from experiencing data loss. When you are choosing an UPS, one of the first things you will need to decide is if you want a centralized or distributed backup. While it ultimately serves the same purpose, the two systems go about it in very different ways.

Centralized vs. Distributed UPS

A centralized UPS is one large system that reaches the organization’s entire network. This power supply requires its own designated room or area to house the large system. A centralized unit produces protection that is high-density server hardware friendly. These UPS systems are a great option for larger companies that require a reliable way to monitor, maintain and manage power supply. 

For small to medium-sized organizations, one large system may be overkill. However, they may still need an easy-to-manage power supply in case of a power failure. The smaller option, a distributed UPS, can be a vital source of power for companies while being a straightforward, easy-to-manage system. A distributed unit provides power locally to multiple different loads. While these units do require some space, it is much smaller and does not require a large area. 

What Are the Differences Between Various Types of Uninterruptible Power Supply Systems?

Let’s break it down even further to examine the differences between the two systems. 


Since these systems are a huge investment that is meant to last for years, it is important to be aware of any possible reliability issues. Overall, centralized systems are known to be more reliable due to some of these units having a shield against single points of failure. This extra feature increases reliability by reducing the risk of damage. However, since all the resources are compiled in one place, if there is any type of damage, the whole unit will be affected. Though decentralized units are not as reliable long term, since the units are spread out, not every resource would be damaged. A UPS’s battery life can be affected by temperature, where you choose to store it and how often you complete the required maintenance.  


Centralized UPSs require less maintenance than distributed units and tend to have much higher efficiency. However, centralized units have a pricey upfront cost whereas distributed units are more budget-friendly. Maintenance is cheaper for centralized units since everything is housed together. There would not be a need to examine each individual unit like you would have to do with a distributed UPS. Installation can also be a factor when you are considering which UPS you should invest in. Centralized units require people to help you install them due to their heavy weight and needs access to electrical outlets. Meanwhile, all you have to do for a distributed unit is plug it in. Typically, your return on investment will be a highway with a centralized unit, but many companies will not want to pay the large upfront cost. 

How Do I Choose an Uninterruptible Power Supply System? 

There is no cookie-cutter answer for which UPS solution would be best for your business. However, factors such as cost, reliability, space, and the organization’s need should be heavily evaluated to ensure you get the best fit for your business. 

If you still have questions and want to get advice on which unit to invest in, contact one of our experts! It is as simple as filling out a short form and scheduling the call, then you will have a personalized conversation about what works best for you.

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