[unisog] APC Smart-UPS 1400 XL on Sun Fire V240

Walter G. Aiello Walter.Aiello at Duke.edu
Wed Apr 6 19:21:29 GMT 2005

To all who responded to my request for suggestions about shutting down a SunFire V240
server attached to an APC Smart-UPS 1400 XL when the power fails, thank you.

There were several recommendations, many for the Network UPS Tools package, nut-2.0.1
found at  http://us1.networkupstools.org in the US, or at http://www.networkupstools.org
for sites not in the US or Canada. This is a comprehensive collection of programs that
provide a means of monitoring and administering a wide variety of UPS hardware. This is
definitely what I would use if I had more than one server attached to a single APC UPS
with only a small number of workstation "clients."

Another recommendation was for the package apcupsd-3.10.17 whose source code can be
downloaded from SourceForge at http://sourceforge.net/project/showfiles.php?group_id=54413
This is a very simple program that will listen on a tty port for input from the UPS and
will take action depending on the output. One can configure it to start a shutdown
procedure upon the UPS reporting states such as a chosen number of minutes left of battery
power, the batteries being below a given percentage of full charge, or the mains power
being off for more than a given number of seconds. As well, one can configure the apcupsd
daemon to execute a script before initiating the shutdown procedure, including unmounting
of filesystems, shutting down workstations, and shutting down of RAID controllers.

One person suggested obtaining a Belkin UPS and connecting it to some system such as a
Linux, MacOSX, or other box and installing Belkin's "Bulldog" software for that particular
OS on that system. Then that computer would cause  Bulldog events to perform an SSH or
some similar command to shutdown the V240. He suggested that one could even configure an
email message that the V240 could watch for with something like procmail or spamassassin
to trigger a shutdown.

Of course many suggested using APC's PowerChute Business Edition which can be found at
http://www.apc.com/tools/download/. This software requires a Windows server that is
connected to the UPS via a serial port, and has clients for several OS'es, including
Solaris. It consists of three components, a server and a monitor running on a Windows
system, and the clients which run on various flavors of Windows, Linux, Solaris, and

In order to avoid the purchase of a new system just to run a server, and because our
configuration is a very simple one, we opted for connecting the APC UPS to serial port
ttyb on the SunFire, and installing apcupsd on the server. We have the shutdown procedure
tripped off when the power is off more than five minutes, starting with a script that
attempts to shut down the workstations cleanly, then unmounts server filesystems and
shuts down the RAID controller, and finally shuts down the server itself. Unfortunately
many of the workstation UPS's are so underpowered (blame it on $$$) that they do not last
for very long. The APC will keep the server and associated peripherals such as RAIDS up
for about 22 to 23 minutes. So this does not really protect the workstations very well
until we can upgrade their UPS systems.

Walter G. Aiello, Ph.D.
Manager, Network and Information Services
Magnetic Resonance Research Section
Box 3808, Department of Radiology
Duke University Medical Center

Walter.Aiello at Duke.edu
(919) 684 7519

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