Author Topic: Using a UPS to save SSDs  (Read 11824 times)

Andrew Stephenson

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Using a UPS to save SSDs
« on: November 05, 2023, 03:09:15 pm »
This is a follow-up of topics re setting up my work system...  A nice person (whose permission to quote names I have yet to obtain, hence vagueness here) is arranging for me to acquire a Lenovo M900 with 8GB RAM and 250GB SSD.  In due course, all being well and that permission having been obtained, I hope to regale you lot with Usefully Thrilling Tales of success and merriment &c.

A remark by Ivan "Moving archived SMTP emails to AOS-5.1 Thunderbird", re him using a backup PSU to keep files safe (thanks again, Ivan), set me researching how SSDs behave when power feeds turn dodgy.  (See. eg, Wikipedia's "Solid State Drive" & "Uninterruptible Power Supply".)  The news is not good: not only is whatever you are recording to SSD (or working on) apt to get broken but so too is the hardware.

My plan during work sessions: load RAM Drive with files being developed, do work, then save new file versions back to the SSD.  Which seems likely to go a lot better if I had an UPS minding my back.

The likely UPS load is:
* computer -- up to 90W;
* display -- up to 22W; and
* desk lamp (LED equivalent of hot-wire 60W) -- 9W (so I can see to close everything down tidily).
Total therefore == up to 121W.  (Roughly.)

I have been looking at the APC ES700G -- but it seems to have been discontinued.  It switches over to battery, if mains power goes awry, in 6-10msec IIRC.  Waveform is a stepped pseudo-sinewave.  On the whole the design seems rational, though battery (lead acid) life could be as low as 3 years.

Does anyone have a personal favourite I should look at (here in the UK, NB)?  Ta muchly.

ivan

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2023, 06:21:52 pm »
Since I have 4 UPS units in my workroom and one for upstairs I think I know a little about them.

First of all remember that most UPS units have output rated by VA not watts.  Next you need to know how long you need UPS support (how long will the mains power be off approx), since EDF put the village power cables underground the number of power outages has become almost non existent - we had one on Tuesday for a quarter hour.  I didn't notice it except for the UPS bleeping.

My main unit is an APC Bak-UPS 1400, i.e. 1400VA @ 240 V.  I have replaced the internal batteries twice during its life, the smaller Trust 650 units have had their batteries replaced three times during their time with me.

The last thing you need is to check the quality of the power supply for the computer you are getting, no matter how much you protect the computer if its power supply goes fut you can lose all your work which is why I am a great advocate of using a NAS box with raid disks to store everything.

Andi B.

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2023, 10:23:11 am »
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I routinely add end-of-session backups onto Kingston 32/64GB USB MSD sticks.  Mind, given what I hear about SSDs, let's make that "2x backups".
No clue if I understand you correctly. But if you think USB sticks are as similar reliable as SSDs, then you're wrong. Suggestion, backup on external SSDs or conventional HDDs from well known manufactures. Don't save very important data to sticks.

Doug Bissett

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2023, 10:32:10 pm »
I think there are some misleading (or unclear) statements made.

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The news is not good: not only is whatever you are recording to SSD (or working on) apt to get broken but so too is the hardware.

This is more likely to happen with a spinning disk, than with an SSD. Now, by "SSD" do you mean a SATA (AHCI) SSD, or do you mean a NVME SSD? OLD SATA SSD are far more likely ti fail (for more than one reason), then those less than about 5 ears old. The same is true for spinning disks. NVME SSD is new enough that they generally don't have problems.

Now, I will state, that any drive, that survives the first 6 months, is probably good for 10 years (if properly handled). SSD does not have the vibration, or dropping, problem that can affect spinning disks. There are always exceptions.

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My plan during work sessions: load RAM Drive with files being developed, do work, then save new file versions back to the SSD.  Which seems likely to go a lot better if I had an UPS minding my back.

An UPS has its place, but don't bet on it "saving your work". There are many other reasons why you can lose it. Again, is it a SATA SSD, or a NVME SSD? NVME SSD will operate near the speed of a RAMDISK, without the problem of losing everything if the power goes off (or many other things). A modern SSD (either kind) will likely last 30 years. Using the RAMDISK, is likely to extend the SSD life by about 3 months. Other things are more likely fail first.

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The last thing you need is to check the quality of the power supply for the computer you are getting, no matter how much you protect the computer if its power supply goes fut you can lose all your work which is why I am a great advocate of using a NAS box with raid disks to store everything.

A NAS box is simply another storage medium. Until your work is copied to it, there is an exposure to losing it (even a NAS box can fail).  If you "build your own", you can select a PSU. If you buy a complete box, you get what you get. In either case, it can fail (usually if it lasts 6 months, it is good for 10 years).

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Volt-Amps, check -- power factor and that good stuff.

Interesting information, but it tells you nothing about how long it will keep your system powered. Each system quotes power usage, but that is mostly if it is fully loaded. I doubt if any system ever comes close to what they quote. <more below>

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I routinely add end-of-session backups onto Kingston 32/64GB USB MSD sticks.  Mind, given what I hear about SSDs, let's make that "2x backups".

Well, as mentioned, USB sticks are notoriously unreliable. Do not buy cheap ones, but the expensive ones are not much better. Personally, I find that Kingston sticks are okay, but they are SLOW. I got a couple of PATRIOT brand sticks, that seem to be better than most. I probably won't buy any more sticks. Get an SSD enclosure. The biggest problem, with USB, is the Type A connector, especially when using USB 3. Type C connectors are far better.

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I gather you have found APC/Schneider worthy of your trust.

I have two APC units. They have been very good (but this reminds me that I need to test them). The biggest exposure is battery failure (they don't last forever, and it depends on how much they have been used). <more below>

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As SSDs apparently can be damaged by power failures/surges, I plan double backups to USB sticks, good quality ones.

Any hardware can be damaged by power failures/surges. Make sure that you have SURGE protection (usually part of an UPS), even if you don't have an UPS.

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Would that rate as safe enough for archiving?

Personally, I prefer SEAGATE disks (internal, or external), but I have started using CRUCIAL SATA SSD for performance, and so far they are performing well. I have a NVME SSD (Samsung 960 Pro), in my main machine, but the machine is not smart enough to boot from it, so I use a Crucial SATA SSD to boot.

Okay (this is "<below>"). UPS is meant to ride through power problems that last less than about a minute Almost all of them will do that, but the length of time after that first minute will vary by how much power is needed, and how much power is available. One would think that simply pulling the plug, and wait for it to shut down, would be good test for that. First, it is recommended that you do not just pull the plug. That can cause large surges (although the UPS should filter them). Use a power strip, with a switch (or simply turn off the breaker) to test. One warning, is that you reduce the battery life, every time you do that (more than once I had a real power outage, and the UPS turned off immediately, because the battery was at end of life).

Okay, if the power is still off, after one minute, you need to save your work (can be automated), and shut down.  I recommend that you do NOT try to start your machine after power is restored, for a few minutes. That avoids a possible second/third power fail. The trick with saving your work, is to be sure that you can do it quickly (two minutes).

You can spend a LOT of money, for a longer time.

Now, I use a couple of (older) APC UPS. One is a BE550G and the other is a BE750G. I use mAPCUPS (it is at HOBBES) to monitor what is happening. That program can be configured to do what needs to be done, even if you are not watching.

Okay, now you need to decide what to connect to an UPS. The UPS that I have have two sections. On is powered from the battery, the other is simply surge protected (and goes off, when there is a power outage). You are interested in what needs to have power, for long enough to get shut down. So, to the battery supplied outlets, you connect the main machine, the screen, and any other devices that are going to cause shut down problems, or start up problems (running CHKDSK on a large USB attached drive can take a long time). Those can include NAS boxes, externally powered USB drives, network hubs, USB, hubs, and so on. If you don't need it to stay on, don't connect it to the battery supplied outlets.

You may notice, that I did not include a lamp (of any kind). You have the screen, that is a good light source. I keep a couple of LED flashlights handy, which I can find using the light from the screen. Some lamps (Fluorescent, especially) cause a lot of electrical noise, and should never be near computer equipment.

Printers can be a bit of a problem. I don't use powered outlets, for them. Generally, they are better off on the surge protected outlets.

That should be enough, for now. Ask questions, if you have any.

Sandra Asja Eickel

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2023, 10:50:09 pm »
Addendum, soon after the above:-  I see that the UK chain store Argos is offering Western Digital's Elements 2TB USB 3.0 Portable Hard Drive for just under GBP70.  WD is a brand I have associated with quality for decades: in the old days, they made stuff like a widely used disk controller chip and today they own SanDisk.  (In fact, a few days ago they announced a forthcoming split between their SSD and HDD operations.)  Would that rate as safe enough for archiving?

Argh! Nooooooo! From the german c't Magazine (even if this is a commentary and not a normal article):

https://www.heise.de/meinung/SSD-Ausfaelle-Western-Digital-verspielt-alles-Vertrauen-9352972.html

Especially the newer external SSD stuff from WD / SanDisk dies like flys, customer service is non-existing!

If you can afford it, I would highly recommend getting an "IODD ST400" USB 3.0 External Hard Drive Enclosure (I use its predecessor IODD 2541 regularly - it is a "must have" tool for anyone doing computer support/administration) plus a normal 2.5" SATA SSD from Samsung EVO 870 series (not QVO!).

SSD must be powered up at least every once or better twice a year.
For some IODD maintenance tasks like creating virtual sticks and disks or keeping your newest ArcaOS or Linux ISO in one piece on the disk, Windows is required.

Greetings,
Sandra-Asja

Dave Yeo

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2023, 11:02:31 pm »
I'm using a 2GB Seagate backup slim for backups, it has been fine. The extra speed of a SSD for backup is useless with OS/2 as our USB drivers aren't the fastest, even with USB3.1. I did partition it to about 1/2 GB partitions and formatted with JFS. The big downside is if chkdsk has to run, takes a long time. Best to keep the drive disconnected except when backing up and only partition what you need.

Dave Yeo

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #6 on: November 07, 2023, 04:26:35 pm »
Yes, that was a typo, 2TB HD.

Doug Bissett

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2023, 06:33:00 pm »
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Thus far, I've not been aware of that SATA/NVME issue, so "pass".

Check out NVME. It can be your only "disk" in your machine, as long as the machine is new enough to be capable of booting from it. NVME SSD  is a LOT faster than SATA SSD. The cost is comparable.

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Scarily, I've been backing scrappy stuff to a Kingston 1GB USB-2A (Data Traveler II, "migo") bought in 2006 and simply trusting all is well.

Well, 1 GB will keep the backup size under control. I don't think you can even get sticks less than 32 GB any more, and they are more expensive than 256 GB sticks. Kingston is one of the netter brands, but if it is from 2006, you are pushing your luck.

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(Re: NAS boxes, PSU quality &c)  NAS boxes I have never dealt with, ditto RAID (other than theory, which suggests a five-way drive setup is Good.  A review on the Net really liked the APC ES700G (NB the 'G' apparently matters).  Further info on an APC site suggested that model would cover my needs, besides having 4x surge-protected sockets + 4x surge- and battery-protected sockets.

NAS boxes are useful, if you need one. If you don't know anything about them, you probably don't need one. Same goes for RAID. RAID is not really supported by OS/2, so it is a waste of money. USB enclosures will serve the same purpose, for a simple system configuration.

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Guess: perhaps the symmetrical, doubled-up structure of 3C gives more reliable contact, on top of the higher speed forcing better construction?

Almost anything is better than Type A USB connectors (especially when used with USB 3.x).

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Wikipedia article underlines how battery life can be consumed by deep-discharge events.

Deep discharge is a killer. You want to be shut down, by the time it gets to about 50%.

Pete

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2023, 08:24:59 pm »
Hi Andrew

The printer will sit at the far end of a 5m USB-2 cable...

No Wireless capability?
If printer and router are both wireless capable it gives you more options on where to site the printer - and there is no need to go tripping over long USB leads  :-)


Regards

Pete

ivan

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2023, 06:39:19 am »
Hi Andrew,

Regarding printers, forget long USB cables and get one with a network connection if it needs to be a long way away from the computer.  I have two Brother laser printers, one an all in one unit DCP9020cdw sits nearly 5 metres from my main computer while the other an HL3170cdw is upstairs with my other computers.  Being on the network they can be accessed from anywhere in the house, even the table near the front door for when friends bring something to be printed.

I recommend a laser printer because over time they save money - (no ink to dry out unless they have solved that problem) and all you need is the ppd file and the PSPRINT driver.

My 2 cents worth which may or may not be of help.

Mentore

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #10 on: November 08, 2023, 08:29:29 am »
Hi Andrew,

Regarding printers, forget long USB cables and get one with a network connection if it needs to be a long way away from the computer.  I have two Brother laser printers, one an all in one unit DCP9020cdw sits nearly 5 metres from my main computer while the other an HL3170cdw is upstairs with my other computers.  Being on the network they can be accessed from anywhere in the house, even the table near the front door for when friends bring something to be printed.

I recommend a laser printer because over time they save money - (no ink to dry out unless they have solved that problem) and all you need is the ppd file and the PSPRINT driver.

Spoiler alert: they didn't solve the ink problem in inkjet printers.  8)
So (unless you print photos) laser printers are the way to go.

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My 2 cents worth which may or may not be of help.

Doug Bissett

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2023, 01:39:21 am »
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Crucial: no experience of them. And I've concluded from your input that my backup drive may as well be one of those quaint Olde Worlde electromechanical things, with a simple USB-3 cable (to suit), around 1TB or even 500GB, formatted in FAT32 (purely for inter-OS portability).

Crucial has really good performance numbers, and I have had no reason to question that. I will never buy a spinning disk again. They are more expensive, more delicate, and slower than SATA (AHCI) disks. I may even switch totally to NVME sticks, even for external (USB) drives.

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Seemingly it comes with two types of USB-3 cable, which is handy and probably means they can cope.

Cables don't mean much. Adapters are available.

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Avoid: Western Digital and San Disk got no applause, so chuck them on the compost heap.

If you have them, use them, but I wouldn't buy a new one.

[quoteEthernet would mean more cables littering the floor.][/quote]

There may be an advantage to using Ethernet, but I don't know what capabilities your printer has. My HP OfficeJet 3830 has WiFi. No cables, and more function than using the USB connector. If it does what you want, use it, but I would avoid connecting it to a battery.

Neil Waldhauer

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #12 on: November 10, 2023, 01:55:05 am »

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Seemingly it comes with two types of USB-3 cable, which is handy and probably means they can cope.

Cables don't mean much. Adapters are available.


A friend who would know told me that a USB-3 cable has more computing power than the Apollo Lunar Lander (which landed using computer guidance)
Expert consulting for ArcaOS, OS/2 and eComStation
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Doug Bissett

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #13 on: November 10, 2023, 05:49:47 pm »
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(Re: those cables)  I mis-phrased, intending to say I presume Seagate ensure supplied cables work properly with their HDD.

Seagate. like every other manufactuer, use the cheapest cables they can get. USB cables are basically two kind. One is used for charging devices, and the other is used for data. In fact, both are the same (although some charging cables don't have the data wires). I would expect the USB cables, that come with any device, will work with the device. The connectors, and the legth, are the inportant parts.

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(Re: the Apollo Lunar Lander)
16K, in those days, was a huge amount of memory. Remember that it was not running an operating system, only a very specialized, highly optimised, program.

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we hear Not A Lot about Error Correcting Code (ECC) RAM in office m/cs.

ECC, when it was first developed, was am expensive stop gap for poor manufacturing. Today it is an advertising gimick. Memory rarely fails, eliminating the need for ECC (which is just as likely to fail, and slows memory speed). It is generally only used for "mission critical" computers (usually in hospital monitoring machines). If those who mandate that (usually governments), really understood it, thay wouldn't bother.

Dave Yeo

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Re: Using a UPS to save SSDs
« Reply #14 on: November 10, 2023, 06:08:55 pm »
My understanding of USB C cables is they get complicated when delivering a lot of power. Basic 1 amp or whatever is just wires, start jacking up the amperage and voltage and it gets complicated enough to need processing power to negotiate the link and cheeping out can be dangerous, it's OK to charge slower then ideal, it is not OK to overcharge.