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System architecture for traditional lead-acid and nickel-cadmium batteries has evolved in particular ways to meet specific application requirements. As users start to consider new technologies such as lithium-ion there will be a natural tendency to maintain the same system architecture that has worked so well for them over the years. But is this the right decision? This paper addresses two applications - telecom OSP and utility substations - comparing existing battery solutions with Li-ion, and how the dc power system can be adapted and optimized to provide for successful application of Li-ion batteries. Recommendations are provided for the user to evaluate competing technologies, with particular reference to a soon-to-be published IEEE standards document.