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Feb 08
2016

The Importance Of Redundant Backup Power For Data Centers

By: Patti Dinneen

 

Importance Of Redundant Backup Power For Data CentersAccess to reliable redundant power is essential for data centers. Despite the importance of redundant backup power, many data centers have backup power systems that fall short of desirable.

Since businesses rely on data centers for day-to-day operations, outages are costly, though the exact cost depends on the business. According to The Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council's 2014 Disaster Recovery survey, 20 percent of respondents "experienced data center outages that caused more than $50,000 in losses, all the way up to $5 million" (Source). Frankly, data center customers don't care if there was a massive storm, rolling blackouts or another issue leading to an outage; they expect infallible delivery of data center services.

In this post we will discuss the importance of redundant backup for data centers, while offering several solutions to improve your businesses’ approach to backup power.

Planning For The Future

In order to create the right system for your data center, you must attempt to anticipate future growth and needs. As you know, backup power solutions are constantly evolving. So, while you may have a backup power plan that worked well in years past, it may not align with your businesses’ growth strategy.

It is important that an experienced technician performs regular audits of your backup system. The fundamental power components of a data center include (but are not limited to) the backup generator, uninterruptible power supply (UPS), internal power supplies, power distribution unit (PDU) and much more.  A fully redundant power supply will have adequate amounts of power supply to completely support the data center and all of its components with no single points of failure.

Generator Must Be Synced With UPS Systems

Ideally data centers must ensure that their generators are properly synchronized with UPS systems so that there is no interruption of service when transferring to generator power. While there are some data centers with low loads that can rely on a uninterrupted power services (UPS) to handle power for a short outage, those systems alone are not enough to handle the growing emergency power needs of today's systems. So, in addition to UPS, most data centers should rely on a backup generator in the event that local utility electricity fails. Even a generator with a sufficient fuel capacity may not be enough to provide truly redundant power, so it is wise to invest in a second generator to rely on as a backup in case the primary generator fails.

Cooling Requirements

Also, provision of back-up power for protected loads in case of an outage brings with it the accompanying cooling requirements for the operating equipment, which if not satisfied can cause permanent damage to the systems on account of overheating. To learn more about cooling systems, check out this post.

Prevention Goes A Long Way

In order to safeguard your data center against power failure, you need to develop a disaster recovery plan, but you should also focus on preventing outages before it is too late. Emergency power systems are quite beneficial to have installed in the event of a disaster, but prevention is the best strategy for staying ahead of the curve, keeping your data center online so you can perform your necessary business functions. Power monitoring PDUs (Power Distribution Units) can help data centers track power usage and environmental factors (i.e. temperature & humidity). With a power monitoring PDU in place, you have access to information about the status of your server rooms, allowing you to take steps to ensure outages don’t occur.

Kinsley Power Systems

Redundancy is only effective when installed and maintained properly, and it’s a service best left to the savvy electrical engineers here at Kinsley.  We have experts available to answer your technical questions regarding backup power redundancy, so feel free to contact us at info@kinsley-group.com if you would like additional information.


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