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Upgrading my VMware home lab UPS & monitoring power usage

Joshua Stenhouse 1

I recently had the misfortune of a 3-minute power outage while presenting a vBrownBag webinar on using PowerShell with vCenter REST APIs (check it out here) and suffice to say, the timing couldn’t have been any worse.

Home Lab May 2018

Thankfully I had a small $55 650VA UPS on the Hyperconverged Home Lab v2.0 (HCHLv2.0), but the HCHLv1.0, router, and my Rubrik r344 appliance were not so fortunate. Internet access dropped, Rubrik rebooted and I had to go and power on the VMs in my second lab. I wasn’t demonstrating anything on these, but I certainly needed internet access. On top of this, a $55 UPS really isn’t going to give me much runtime in the event of a power outage, has no monitoring options, and I have no info on the power consumption of my lab other than the displeasing looks from my wife when she pays the electricity bill.

My solution was to buy 3 of these from my favorite local computing emporium:

APC 1500VA Back-Up UPS w/ Coaxial and Data Line Protection, 10 Outlets

One for each HCHL and another for my Rubrik appliance, giving me a total 4500VA for $567. I moved the existing $55 UPS to my router and I can now cope with any short power outages:

UPS Upgrade

This gives me a respectable 32+ minutes on each HCHL and 13 minutes on my Rubrik appliance, which is fine for backup. It’s certainly no Tesla Powerwall (on the wish list), but it certainly is a lot cheaper.

The next benefit is that I can now get a rough estimate of the lab power consumption based on an average $0.22 kWh cost:


The running cost of HCHLv1.0 is skewed at the minute as one of the ASRock motherboards died on me (RMA in progress), so I expect it to be closer to HCHLv2.0 when running at full tilt with 9 ESXi hosts.

This puts my total lab running cost at $642.4 to $693.5 per year for 11-12 ESXi hosts and a shed load of compute to go with it. Not too bad! I’m not including Rubrik in this calculation because I’m expensing that cost. Can you blame me?!

My next task is to configure USB monitoring using PowerChute business edition and a set of PowerShell shutdown scripts for when each UPS gets down to 5 minutes of runtime. I’ll share my work when done. Hope you enjoyed this post, if so please like and share.


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