Tactical Advice

Review: Tripp Lite's Smart 1500XL UPS

This UPS keeps your equipment running without draining your wallet.
This story appears in the June 2010 issue of BizTech Magazine.

Boasting a 1500 voltage-amp payload and a price tag under $500, the Tripp Lite Smart 1500XL UPS delivers the functionality expected of an enterprise uninterruptible power supply — at a reasonable price.

The Smart 1500XL is a full-featured 1500VA UPS system, bundled with powerful management software, a two-year warranty and a $250,000 connected-equipment guarantee.

End-User Advantages

For a 1500VA unit, the Tripp Lite has a long battery life. In my test environment, the connected server and peripherals drew less than 20 percent power and managed to stay online for more than 20 minutes before the critical alarm was tripped, allowing the server to gracefully shut itself down.

The included PowerAlert management adds its own value, providing vital information in a comprehensive, easy-to-understand format. Systems administrators can monitor everything from battery strength and system temperature to output load, all from one compact user interface. The software can be programmed to send e-mail alerts to any number of administrators in the event of a power failure, allowing for a swift response to power emergencies.

Additionally, the ability to wall-mount the 1500XL, combined with its snug size, make it an ideal solution for any environment that requires redundant power in a tight space. If you need more battery life, there is a port for an external battery.

Why It Works for IT

The Smart 1500XL is versatile. The management software offers a wealth of useful information, and it also empowers administrators to tweak the behavior of the UPS. For example, sysadmins have the option of assigning a lower priority to a given power outlet so that during an outage, devices connected to that outlet will shut down before other, more important devices. By staggering the length of time that devices stay online, you can preserve the UPS’s battery for mission-critical equipment plugged into other ports. Additionally, by default, the PowerAlert Agent console sends all open programs on client machines a “save” command as it forces them to close during shutdown.

Disadvantages

Although the management software is replete with value-added features, I had a few minor issues. For example, the console’s menu system is a bit unusual: Instead of the typical nested-hierarchy menu structure, Tripp Lite uses a three-section, linear menu bar at the top of the window. Rather than drilling down through menus, you click either “Status,” “Action” or “Settings” on the left side of the bar, and then click the desired category in the middle of the bar to perform relevant tasks. Because of this unfamiliar structure, users may need to spend a little time with the program to adapt to its look and feel.

66 square inches The space-saving footprint of the Tripp Lite Smart 1500XL uninterruptible power supply

Also, the PowerAlert Console’s help system could be improved. Although there is a “Help” link, clicking on it yields little more than version information and copyright notices. All of the really useful help information resides in the documentation provided on the included CD. Because of this, if administrators want access to reference material while using the software, they will need to manually copy this documentation onto whatever system they use to run the program.

But those are minor complaints. The Smart 1500XL UPS can deliver peace of mind, reliable power protection and redundancy at an affordable price.

Jason Holbert is a Tier II desktop support technician at Harcros Chemicals, a chemical manufacturer and distributor in Kansas City, Kan.
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About the Author

Jason Holbert

Jason Holbert

Jason covers desktop applications and help desk utilities, including reviews geared toward the IT end-user support function. Jason is the PC infrastructure manager for Harcros Chemicals, a worldwide leader in chemical manufacturing and distribution. At Harcros, Jason supports over 350 end users at 30 branch locations. In his free time, Jason enjoys reading, motorcycling, competitive shooting and remodeling his starter home with his wife.

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