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Need Help COnfiguring PCBE for Multi-Server Shutdown

APC UPS Data Center & Enterprise Solutions Forum

Schneider Electric support forum for our Data Center and Business Power UPS, UPS Accessories, Software, Services, and associated commercial products designed to share knowledge, installation, and configuration.

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Mr._Chip_apc
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163

Need Help COnfiguring PCBE for Multi-Server Shutdown

This was originally posted on APC forums on 2/7/2009


Hello

I am hoping someone can help me configure my UPS and PCBE installation. I have a 6-year old Smart-UPS 1400 RMXL unit with three additional battery packs daisy chained to it. A little over a year ago I bought all new genuine APC batteries for the entire system. I am self employed so the roughly $1,500 I spent on batteries was not trivial. I used to have two W2K servers connected to the UPS. I just upgraded my entire server rack so I now have a total of 4 servers being protected. One of the four is one of the original W2K servers. So I now have:

One W2K server (old web server)
One 2003 SBS server (primary domain controller)
One 2003 Enterprise server (backup domain controller)
One 2008 Server (new web server)

Note: There will only be a 1-2 month period when the old web server (W2K) and new web server (2008) are both running. After this testing period the old web server will be unplugged and retired.

I purchased a port expansion card so my 1400 now has three serial and one USB connector. I am a lifelong APC customer and have so many PowerChute disks that I could build a sculpture out of them. Unfortunately, I cannot seem to locate the original disk that came with the 1400. I downloaded the latest version of PowerChute Business Edition from APC and tried installing it on the SBS box (which I want to act as the PowerChute Server). I want to program the UPS to do the following. In the event of a power loss, keep everything on for 15 minutes. If the power is still out, I would want it to do an orderly shutdown of the Backup Domain Controller. If I also have both web servers running, I also want it to shutdown whichever web server is not being used in production at this time. So after 15 minutes the UPS will be powering the SBS domain controller and the production web server. Then it should keep both of these online until there is only 10% battery power left. At that point it should shut them both down, probably the web server first and then the SBS.

Question #1. Can I do all of this with PCBE and my port expansion card?

Question #2: Assuming the answer to Q1 is yes, what ports does PCBE use to communicate with all of the servers. My set-up is protected by a hardware firewall that is partitioned into several zones. I may need to "punch holes" in the firewall for the PCBE to communicate with all of the servers.

Question #3. I have been told that the AP9617 network management card would be a "nicer" solution since it requires a single connection to the network and can be controlled over the LAN. If I buy one of these cards would my PCBE software work or would I also need to buy PowerChute Network Shutdown. I can swing the cost of the card, but if the card and s/w cost around $500 I would very much like to stay with my current solution.

Question #4. I have tried installing the PCBE Agent on the SBS server. It is unable to auto detect the UPS. I checked and confirmed I am using the correct APC serial cable. I also made sure the COM port is configured in the suggested way. Any suggestions on why the server can't see the UPS?

Thanks so much! I have literally spent 3+ hours Googling this trying to find an answer on my own.

Chip


Accepted Solutions
BillP
Administrator Administrator
Administrator
0 Likes
0
163

Re: Need Help COnfiguring PCBE for Multi-Server Shutdown

This reply was originally posted by Angela on APC forums on 2/9/2009


hi,

hopefully I can assist here:

> Question #1. Can I do all of this with PCBE and my port expansion card?

Yes, you can do this but you can only have one server attached to the serial port on the UPS that will be able to communicate in "smart signaling" mode. Smart signaling is where the UPS and computer can essentially communicate back and forth. The rest of the ports on the serial interface expander card will only be able to comminicate in "simple signaling" mode. This means the UPS can only essentially tell the server that there is a "low battery" and that is when the devices connected to the serial interface expander will shutdown. The only thing you can do is change the low battery signaling time on the UPS via the computer attached to the serial port on the UPS which can change the value because its in "smart signaling mode." So essentially, you will only be able to customize the shutdown on the computer attached to the "smart signaling" port on the UPS. The rest will only shutdown based on the low battery signaling time. I think this may be a hassle due to what you are looking to do and the cabling required. 940-0020B cables are required for the two devices using simple signaling and then you probably have the 940-0024/940-1524 cable needed for smart signaling.

> Question #2: Assuming the answer to Q1 is yes, what ports does PCBE use to communicate with all of the servers. My set-up is protected by a hardware firewall that is partitioned into several zones. I may need to "punch holes" in the firewall for the PCBE to communicate with all of the servers.

[see this article|http://nam-en.apc.com/cgi-bin/nam_en.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=2790]. and FYI, here is what all the components of business edition are if you arent sure. The free version is just a single node agent.

There are 3 components to PCBE deluxe, Agent, Server and Console. The agent runs as a background service on each server with a data connection to the UPS. Please note that only these servers will shutdown. The role of the Agent is to monitor the UPS and initiate a shutdown based upon configurable UPS events. The role of the Server is to provide centralized monitoring and control of numerous PCBE Agents. The role of the Console is to provide a remote graphical interface for any and all PCBE server modules on the network. The freeware version of PCBE can accommodate 1 Agents per UPS installation. The server and console run only on Windows platforms, but each agent has a web user interface, which can be used for non-Windows environments.










> Question #3. I have been told that the AP9617 network management card would be a "nicer" solution since it requires a single connection to the network and can be controlled over the LAN. If I buy one of these cards would my PCBE software work or would I also need to buy PowerChute Network Shutdown. I can swing the cost of the card, but if the card and s/w cost around $500 I would very much like to stay with my current solution.

I totally agree with this. It requires a lot less cabling (uses the network as you mentioned) and you can get an AP9617 NMC for around $250-$300. Powerchute network shutdown is free and is a lot more customizable than the above solution with the serial interface expander card. Also, Powerchute Business Edition, the paid version if you needed it to monitor all the UPSs from one GUI, is double the cost and I think a network management card would work a heck of a lot better for you. You then will also have a web interface to monitor everything and can set up email notifications, SNMP, SSH, etc. You can log into a network management card to test even at [http://testdrive.apc.com] so that you can see if you like it. I highly recommend doing this and would be happy to assist you in configuring it.




> Question #4. I have tried installing the PCBE Agent on the SBS server. It is unable to auto detect the UPS. I checked and confirmed I am using the correct APC serial cable. I also made sure the COM port is configured in the suggested way. Any suggestions on why the server can't see the UPS?

If this is on the interface expander, as I mentioned before, it will use simple signaling. You'd have to manually choose simple signaling mode/interface expander with a Smart UPS. If you are using the smart signaling port, I am not sure why it couldnt detect it. I'd first recommend removing the simple signaling devices/cables from the UPS and trying again.

Hope this helps!! please let me know if you have any other questions or comments.

See Answer In Context

1 Reply 1
BillP
Administrator Administrator
Administrator
0 Likes
0
164

Re: Need Help COnfiguring PCBE for Multi-Server Shutdown

This reply was originally posted by Angela on APC forums on 2/9/2009


hi,

hopefully I can assist here:

> Question #1. Can I do all of this with PCBE and my port expansion card?

Yes, you can do this but you can only have one server attached to the serial port on the UPS that will be able to communicate in "smart signaling" mode. Smart signaling is where the UPS and computer can essentially communicate back and forth. The rest of the ports on the serial interface expander card will only be able to comminicate in "simple signaling" mode. This means the UPS can only essentially tell the server that there is a "low battery" and that is when the devices connected to the serial interface expander will shutdown. The only thing you can do is change the low battery signaling time on the UPS via the computer attached to the serial port on the UPS which can change the value because its in "smart signaling mode." So essentially, you will only be able to customize the shutdown on the computer attached to the "smart signaling" port on the UPS. The rest will only shutdown based on the low battery signaling time. I think this may be a hassle due to what you are looking to do and the cabling required. 940-0020B cables are required for the two devices using simple signaling and then you probably have the 940-0024/940-1524 cable needed for smart signaling.

> Question #2: Assuming the answer to Q1 is yes, what ports does PCBE use to communicate with all of the servers. My set-up is protected by a hardware firewall that is partitioned into several zones. I may need to "punch holes" in the firewall for the PCBE to communicate with all of the servers.

[see this article|http://nam-en.apc.com/cgi-bin/nam_en.cfg/php/enduser/std_adp.php?p_faqid=2790]. and FYI, here is what all the components of business edition are if you arent sure. The free version is just a single node agent.

There are 3 components to PCBE deluxe, Agent, Server and Console. The agent runs as a background service on each server with a data connection to the UPS. Please note that only these servers will shutdown. The role of the Agent is to monitor the UPS and initiate a shutdown based upon configurable UPS events. The role of the Server is to provide centralized monitoring and control of numerous PCBE Agents. The role of the Console is to provide a remote graphical interface for any and all PCBE server modules on the network. The freeware version of PCBE can accommodate 1 Agents per UPS installation. The server and console run only on Windows platforms, but each agent has a web user interface, which can be used for non-Windows environments.










> Question #3. I have been told that the AP9617 network management card would be a "nicer" solution since it requires a single connection to the network and can be controlled over the LAN. If I buy one of these cards would my PCBE software work or would I also need to buy PowerChute Network Shutdown. I can swing the cost of the card, but if the card and s/w cost around $500 I would very much like to stay with my current solution.

I totally agree with this. It requires a lot less cabling (uses the network as you mentioned) and you can get an AP9617 NMC for around $250-$300. Powerchute network shutdown is free and is a lot more customizable than the above solution with the serial interface expander card. Also, Powerchute Business Edition, the paid version if you needed it to monitor all the UPSs from one GUI, is double the cost and I think a network management card would work a heck of a lot better for you. You then will also have a web interface to monitor everything and can set up email notifications, SNMP, SSH, etc. You can log into a network management card to test even at [http://testdrive.apc.com] so that you can see if you like it. I highly recommend doing this and would be happy to assist you in configuring it.




> Question #4. I have tried installing the PCBE Agent on the SBS server. It is unable to auto detect the UPS. I checked and confirmed I am using the correct APC serial cable. I also made sure the COM port is configured in the suggested way. Any suggestions on why the server can't see the UPS?

If this is on the interface expander, as I mentioned before, it will use simple signaling. You'd have to manually choose simple signaling mode/interface expander with a Smart UPS. If you are using the smart signaling port, I am not sure why it couldnt detect it. I'd first recommend removing the simple signaling devices/cables from the UPS and trying again.

Hope this helps!! please let me know if you have any other questions or comments.