Strong Partnerships Ease Challenging UPS Upgrade

A team effort enabled a grocery store chain to attain zero downtime throughout a complex UPS upgrade.

Eaton Guest Blogger

January 24, 2023

5 Min Read
A team effort enabled a grocery store chain to attain zero downtime throughout a complex UPS upgrade.
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In 2021, a grocery store chain that had been a longtime Eaton customer found itself at a crossroads with its existing data center uninterruptible power systems (UPSs).

The supermarket chain’s four Eaton 9390 units were configured in redundant pairs within two separate data centers — one located on the west side of the company’s sprawling facility and the other on the east side. Tasked with keeping the organization’s mission-critical equipment and applications up and always running, the units had been operating for well over a decade — some for as long as 16 years — with no problems.

However, with the model scheduled to be phased out through the end-of-life process, the company recognized that ongoing maintenance and parts availability would become difficult. As a result, the grocery chain decided to proactively upgrade the four units. However, there was a major catch: To ensure zero downtime, only one UPS at a time could be taken offline, removed and replaced.

Due to the complexity of the project, the company sought an outside professional team to oversee the job from start to finish. “I didn’t want to have to do anything but open the door and let them in,” acknowledged a spokesperson for the organization. “We wanted a turnkey solution and didn’t want to do any of the work in-house.”

Partnering for Success

Thanks to a collaborative team approach through Eaton, the company was able to achieve everything it desired. Working with Anixter, its preferred distributor, the company first identified the ideal data center backup solution in the Eaton 93PM UPS with lithium-ion batteries and VCOM-Data Center Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software. Anixter then coordinated with data center and network infrastructure experts JPI Associates to oversee the entire project.

For more than 20 years, JPI Associates has been helping customers throughout North and South Carolina design and implement data center and network infrastructure solutions. Partnering with numerous leading manufacturers, JPI has been an Eaton representative for the DataComm channel since 2014 and has represented Eaton’s B-Line products since 2004.

JPI first helped the grocery chain secure deal registration pricing through Eaton. “We consolidated the products with the installation services to present the customer with a true turnkey solution,” said Todd Lovelace, president of JPI Associates.

Continuing to work with Anixter throughout the project, as well as Eaton’s Territory Development Manager Jeff Sechrist, JPI assembled an internal team and secured a local electrical contractor. Then the group went to work to ensure no detail would be left undone in the complex endeavor, slated to be completed in a four-week cycle.

As the project’s single point of contact, JPI was on site to oversee all logistics, including sizing of the units, procurement of materials, delivery and storage of the new equipment, haul-away of old UPSs, electrical work and UPS startup. “The end user didn’t have to deal with any of the headaches or challenges,” said Lovelace.

“JPI did everything — and did a great job,” the company spokesperson confirmed.

With the data centers located on the second and third floors of the building, key factors had to be considered, such as how the units would be moved and where the new UPSs would be stored.

As anticipated, the biggest challenge was swapping in one new UPS at a time, while ensuring the other three units kept critical load protected.

“We had to take down one 9390 UPS at the east side data center and replace it with a 93PM,” Lovelace explained. The same process was then repeated at the west side data center. “Then we had to go back to east side and add the second UPS, then repeat that on the west side. We had to coordinate all of this internally, while simultaneously managing the external logistics and installation with the electrical contractor and the Eaton startup team — all the while keeping the other three units up and running.”

Once all four UPSs were back online, the team took down the next unit the following week, until all four Eaton 93PM units were up and running. While the project was undeniably challenging, Lovelace credits the partnership with Eaton as being an important key to its success. “As an Eaton partner, the support we receive is great,” Lovelace said. “It’s some of the best I’ve ever worked with, from presales to post sales to getting very technical information.”

Indeed, Lovelace is quick to praise the technical expertise provided by Eaton, one of the many perks of being an Eaton partner. Noting that it was the first time the electrical contractor had installed a lithium-ion UPS, Lovelace said, “Eaton walked them through everything, and anytime we had a question, we could pick up phone and immediately get the answers we needed.”

This access to resources continued through the progression of the project. “The Eaton startup crew was also great to work with and made it very easy for us to coordinate four separate startups,” Lovelace reported.

As an Eaton partner, JPI Associates was able to:

  • Provide the highest quality power protection solutions and services to its customers

  • Access extensive Eaton support resources, including technical and service team members

  • Secure optimal pricing through the Eaton Deal Registration program

“All the way around, it was just a great experience and very smooth, from presales to installation to startup,” said Lovelace. “We did all four UPSs on a tight, structured timeline in which we could only take down one UPS at a time, yet still made it seamless.”

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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