UPS solution for all-in-one systems!


Limp Gawd
Nov 12, 2010
For a while I've been thinking about how to use a UPS to best secure my all-in-one ESXi with a UPS. I've had a UPS for a long time, but only used it as a "passive" solution - in case of a powerloss ZFS is quite stable anyway, and my UPS didn't have Solaris drivers. When I changed to a all-in-one setup a few years back, the complexity increased but I never did anything with my UPS setup. Now it was time for a better solution.

Looking at forums and blogs, it seems like most want to go the route of SSH'ing in to ESXi and running a bunch of stuff there. A lot of "clumsy" solutions IMHO with a bunch of requirements and pitfalls.

I like to keep things simple and set up something I could trust. My system consists of a Lian-Li cabinet with 18 disks and a separate storage box with 3 more disks (connected with a InfiniBand cable). I bought a brand new UPS (BlueWalker PW UPS VI850 LCD 850VA) to get better management and capacity than I had - and dedicating this UPS to this server and storage box.

In my network - and I guess in most home networks - I don't have IPMI on a separate LAN. So what I did was install the UPS software in one of the VMs, connect the USB from the UPS to that VM, and instruct the UPS software to run ipmiutil ( with something like this:

c:\IPMI\ipmiutil.exe power -D -U ADMIN -P mypassword -N

What this does - in essence - is like using the powerbutton on the computer whenever you get to a point where there is a powerloss situation. This means that ESXi must be set up in a way that shuts everything down cleanly, and in the correct order. It also means that your switch connecting ESXi and IPMI must be on a UPS (I use a separate UPS for this).

In my setup this setup works quite well - it stops all vm's and the ZFS host last using the autostart functionality.

Keep in mind that this shutdown takes a few minutes and should be started quite fast after a powerloss depending on the capacity of your UPS.

A main benefit (and incentive) of this solution (for me) is that my wife can be instructed to just pull the power on the UPS when there is a thunderstorm, or we're away for a few days - instead of using the power button - waiting 5 minutes - checking if the server is powered off (it's quite quiet even when in use, so it's quite hard to tell if it's on or not) - and then pulling the power of two boxes in the correct order (obviously not important if Solaris is down and the previous step was done correctly...).

Hope this helps someone among you. Please share your experiences with UPS in this type of scenario!


Feb 25, 2011
Nice thanks. I had been doing this by installing the vmware perl tools in a ubuntu VM and sending an internal esxi command but this should work better.


Jan 24, 2005
I'm pretty sure I have the APC USB passthrough'ed to a Ubuntu Server vm guest with apcupsd installed. If battery falls to dangerous level, it uses passwordless ssh key and does "ssh esxihost shutdown -h now" (or whatever the command is)

At least, that's how I think I have it set up.... I hope...