Convergence Q&A: Backup Power for Video

A primer on uninterruptible power and orderly shutdown procedures

The IT department would establish the shutdown and restart configurations for the IT servers on the UPS. Be sure to establish logging with real-time error notification for the shutdown sequence, so that contingencies for video outage can be activated, and any errors can be identified and corrected allowing quick manual intervention in the event of a significant shutdown error.

Large hard disk storage arrays, whether inside the server computer or in a separate storage system, can use up a lot of battery backup power. This means that accurate calculation of total UPS load and battery-backed uptime for the systems is very important. Fortunately, once the UPS battery is fully charged, the software provided with the UPS will report the Estimated Battery Time for the connected load.

The UPS must be able to support the total length of time required for the full shutdown sequence, including a good margin of safety for shutdown time. Error logging and notification adds more time to the overall shutdown process. Both the full shutdown sequence and startup sequence must be tested and timed, including notifications.

An orderly startup sequence is required when power is restored, which may or may not be the reverse sequence of the shutdown. Startup times will be different than shutdown times, and startup operations should also be logged with real-time notification.

Your security video system is a significant investment. Don’t allow power outages to destroy recorded video or corrupt server operating system files, when a good UPS system can prevent such problems for a fraction of the cost of the total system.

If you attend ASIS, take data about your VMS deployment (current or planned) to the show floor in Chicago, and ask candidate vendors how they would recommend you establish orderly shutdown and restart of all the server components of your system. Request an application note, white paper or specific written guidance — they really should have such materials.


Write to Ray about this column at Ray Bernard, PSP, CHS-III is the principal consultant for Ray Bernard Consulting Services (RBCS), a firm that provides security consulting services for public and private facilities. For more information about Ray Bernard and RBCS go to or call 949-831-6788. Follow him on Twitter: @RayBernardRBCS. Mr. Bernard is also a member of the Content Expert Faculty of the Security Executive Council (, and is an active member of the ASIS IT Security Council and Physical Security Council.