Welcome to a regular feature on the Powertecnique blog. Every Monday we talk you through an A-Z of the terms you hear associated with critical power supplies. In this latest post we’ve reached the letter S. S is for SNMP card.
SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol and it doesn’t actually come from the world of critical power. SNMP is a standard method of communicating between devices on a computer network and it’s usually used to monitor for conditions which would warrant an administrator’s attention e.g. a critical fault with a server or a network switch is turned off.
Because critical power equipment is often used to backup data centres and computer networked equipment both UPS and generators come with expansion slots which allow SNMP cards to be installed. SNMP cards are essentially network cards for your UPS or generator which allows them to be monitored in the same manner as your other networked equipment via a web browser.
On a UPS, some of the conditions you may want your SNMP card to monitor would be whether the batteries are fully charged, how much standby time capacity you have remaining and the quality of the power coming into & out of your UPS. On a diesel generator the SNMP card can also monitor fuel levels since you never want to run out.
SNMP cards are very useful and often work as a monitoring solution for some customers because they fit in with their existing infrastructure however, they are the most basic level of monitoring and lack many of the features remote monitoring solutions such as PowerVue provide (such as automated call outs to Powertecnique engineers). Because of this it’s always worth talking through your exact requirements with a critical power expert before settling on a remote monitoring solution.
Hopefully this has given you a bit more of an idea as to what an SNMP card does and why you might want to add one to your UPS or diesel generator. If there’s a topic you’d like covered in our A-Z why not get in touch via twitter. Our handle is @powertecnique.