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Maintain The Quality Of Your Supply Of Power With UPS Maintenance

Many business owners who deal with uninterruptable power supply UPS maintenance are familiar with the operation of a UPS from their home computer systems. The heart of a UPS is a large capacity battery. This is the reason for the weight and the cost of a UPS. The idea is that computer systems can be damaged when they are shut off abruptly. Computers are designed to go into a shutdown mode, where the equipment is gracefully turned off. This is the main purpose of a UPS, to power the equipment through its shutdown cycle.

A UPS has the added benefit of prolonging the use of a computer through a short power outage. This is a common occurrence in many areas. It allows the computer user to work transparently through a degradation in the grid power supply. It will actually help with low-quality power situations as well. It can filter some of the voltage dips and interference that sometimes travel on wall power.

Obviously, the core specification of a UPS is the time it may maintain a system. One way to make the calculation is to decide on the critical times for your setup. This may be 20 minutes of time the computer may be operated through a power outage plus 10 minutes for the shutdown cycle for a total of 30 minutes. Now, let us say that only your computer and backup drive are plugged into the UPS (you may not want to power non-critical items like printers and the like). If the total power required for both the computer and the backup drive is 500W, then you should choose a UPS with at least 250W-hr of capacity.

Many of the components of your home UPS transfer over to your business setup, with one exception: a business setup rarely allows for a total shutdown. The UPS is used to make sure that the business systems essentially always have power. For this reason, you design and maintain UPS systems to work 24/7.

One strong strategy for UPS maintenance is a rigorous schedule of inspections. One such schedule can work like the maintenance on your automobile, where regular checkups are performed based on mileage, and particular checkups contain more steps than others do. As an example, a facilities manager can perform UPS maintenance checks quarterly, semiannually, annually, and biannually. On a quarterly basis, the inspector can check the UPS for loose connections, signs of insulation burn, and any other types of wear. On a semiannual basis, inspectors can check for liquid contamination from batteries and capacitors. This is also a good time to clean and vacuum the UPS enclosures, and to perform temperature and humidity tests on the environmental equipment. On an annual basis, inspectors should use a heat sensing fun to make sure that none of the connections is generating heat. This is one of the best ways to identify problems early on in their cycle. This is also the time to perform a complete operational test of the UPS. Use a battery run-down test to make sure that no batteries are nearing the end of their lifecycles. As a final part of UPS maintenance, test biannually the transfer switches, maintenance bypasses, and circuit breakers.

Use these steps or ones you determine to complete UPS maintenance and preserve the reliability of your power system.

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Reliability Is The Key To Maintain Mission Critical Power

New businesses that are setting up their office requirements often explore the need for mission critical power as part of their facility planning. A reliable supply of power is necessary to maintain smooth operations for the company, and can be especially important for the IT department of the company.

As companies plan the specifications for their mission critical power, they need to be aware of the three common failure modes for power outages. First is the direct mode, that is, any equipment that depends on electricity for operation will be down. The second is startup time. Many systems, particularly computer-driven systems, must go through a boot up or other startup routine that can take minutes or hours. Precision machinery is particularly notorious for requiring a significant warm up period. This startup time must be added to the downtime to find the total effect on the company’s operational reliability. The third mode is potential stress and damage due to electrical outages. These are often components that can become damaged or fail if the air conditioning goes out, and allows them to overheat. Obviously, this can cause a significant amount of total downtown as equipment must be repaired or replaced.

Companies have two lines of defense as they design their facilities to use mission critical power. The first is power supply reliability, and the second is power supply redundancy. For the former, the reliability of the power supplies for critical components, measured as mean time between failures (MTBF) must be very high. The total MTBF for a system is highly dependent on the reliability of the components most prone to failure. When choosing a power supply, the MTBF should exceed (by at least double) the MTBF of the remainder of the system, in order for it not to be the weak link. By choosing MTBF in this way, a systems engineer can specify the reliability of the computing components, and be sure that the addition of the power supply will not lower the overall system MTBF.

The other strategy for a company is redundancy. In order to deal with component failure of an individual power supply, a second supply should be connected in parallel as a backup. The second supply monitors the first, and at any sign of problems, disables the first power supply and turns on its own outputs. At the same time, it will send a signal to the facilities manager to let him know that at least one of the backup systems is online, and that a part of the system no longer has a redundancy, and needs immediate attention.

Good design for mission critical power also requires that if the main power grid goes offline, that at least the Tier 3 and Tier 4 IT equipment still have power. This is usually done with an independent generator. This requires significant on-site generation capability. It is only meant to last for the minutes that the main power grid is down. Otherwise, the job of the backup generator is to keep the systems powered long enough for a graceful shutdown.

These are some of the considerations for mission critical power for a company. Each business must determine his own requirements for the maximum downtime allowable for his operations, and design his power infrastructure accordingly.

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Energy Providers Ensure Mission Critical Services

Be they solar, gas, electric or other types of power providers, any modern day energy service or provider knows the importance of ensuring its customers that their most critical applications and resources will be protected and able to receive the level of energy and service that is required. To lose electrical power could literally cost lives for a hospital. Military locations could become extremely vulnerable without proper power. A greenhouse operation could lose its crop without proper heat in the winter months. These are just some of the examples of why it is important to make sure you are signed up with a true mission critical power company.

For the average consumer at home, the thought of any power loss is inconvenient for sure. But for businesses, especially those with very sensitive and unique needs, the loss of power goes far beyond inconvenience. Energy companies have departments and teams that work on not just one but multiple programs that are designed to make sure that all customers, but especially those key customers with such urgent needs, can count on power. This includes backup options in emergency situations. A good mission critical power company likely has a series of backup options, including backups for the backup.

In addition, individual companies or businesses will have their own emergency energy plans. A hospital, for example, will have far more than just an emergency generator. The hospital administration will no doubt have a department that is dedicated to emergency planning, of which energy loss is one such emergency for which to plan. This team or department will work together and also with a good mission critical power company to devise a very detail plan for what to do in the case of any loss of power. This may include anything from backup generators to how and when to move patients to another facility.

Protection of data is another concern for many companies, especially those with highly sensitive material that could expose either the company or the public to some risk if not adequately protected. Everything from backup systems, server systems and more can be involved in helping to make sure that valuable information and resources are protected and making a business customer trust that a mission critical power company will be there to make that happen.

The ways that an energy provider may create a strong ability to deliver always on power vary greatly. Some may be by instituting good power saving programs. At a most basic level, these can often times be what makes the difference in having power when needed versus not having power when needed. Most people can remember the power crisis and “rolling blackouts” in California less than a decade ago when residents and businesses there were told there simply was not enough power. Silicon Valley businesses, for example, were highly concerned about information security and hospitals, military institutions and other such facilities throughout the state were watchful for patient and public safety.

Mission critical power companies are very important for our society today with its inherent need for constant power and access to not just comforts but information, security and appropriate lifelines in critical times.

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Critical Steps In Data Center Maintenance

Any business or organization that relies on data for any part of its success should take data center maintenance seriously. It should be front and center on any CEO’s or president’s list of necessary functions for the organization. If this is not given the proper support and focus nor properly executed, the effect of any loss of data could be catastrophic in multiple ways, including financially. Some of the key components that need to be checked and maintained regularly include energy generators, UPS systems, HVAC infrastructure, batteries, breakers, switches and components, PDUs and ATS. In addition, IR scans should undergo routine performance and checks as part of an overall data center maintenance program and plan.

A data center manager should follow a few basic steps in ensuring proper maintenance. This starts with fully defining the goals of the program, what information needs to be protected, what is considered “appropriate” downtime and more. Setting up a procedure for documenting all activity is a critical step. In the event of any problem, having the ability to go back later and try to identify where a problem was introduced can help tremendously in the effort to prevent the same or similar situations in the future. Similarly, if things have been going well, it is equally important to be able to identify the processes and steps that are making that happen in order ot continue them.

Data center maintenance also is best done when many tasks are performed routinely. Setting up regular intervals for different steps helps to avoid the problem of something getting forgotten and not done which has a greater chance of leading to an outage or other downtime than if it had been addressed in a timely fashion. Data center managers should make sure that overall company management is aware of the plans and actual events. This helps them to understand the parameters and also be more willing to help spend necessary dollars to increase data center management efforts because they understand the overall landscape and situation.

A map of the data center can be very helpful. Having an inventory of all components of the data center connected to a schedule of who checks what when and how, goes a long way toward ensuring no balls are dropped or nothing falls through the cracks. Every single component from servers to power cords is important in the efficient operation of the data center. In order to deliver the utmost in uptime or lowest occurrence of data loss, data center maintenance needs to be one hundred percent thorough. It also needs to ensure that every task has an identified owner with a good set of priorities. When every team member knows his or her responsibilities clearly, you have a better chance of making sure they will actually get done.

When creating a data center maintenance plan, do not forget to follow all safety guidelines. There are many hazards in a data center world as electricity abounds and is at the center of all operations. Also, it is important to make sure that all personnel understand safety codes and processes in order to make the workplace safe and hazard free for all. Following these few basic parameters will help make sure that a data center is well equipped to provide the services it is needed for.

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Data Center Construction & Importance Of Reliability

Explore Requirements For Modern Data Center Construction

Data center construction began to be an important consideration for many businesses, schools, and other consumers of computing power since the 1970s. At that time, large mainframes would take up an entire room. Another room could be taken up with the data backup tape drives. These early data centers had two things in common: they used a lot of electricity and they generated a lot of heat.

Interestingly, the computer power that used to be contained in a single room is less than is found on the common garden-variety laptop today. Similarly, the data in all the tape drives in the second room could be held on a single modern flash backup drive. However, the need for computing power has grown at least as quickly as the industry’s ability to shrink the size of computer hardware. Now that computing has become a critical requirement for many companies, data centers are built as a part of many campuses. Similarly, with the increased use of distributed computing such as used in cloud computing, stand-alone data centers have been constructed to supply the need.

Data center construction has some specific hardware and software requirements to be reliable and efficient. The main hardware in a data center is a server. Groups of servers are mounted in rows forming corridors, like the arrangement of many libraries. The standard 19-inch rack-mount servers, also known as 1U servers, are one implementation. Servers can also be constructed as a silo that can occupy several square foot of floor space. When servers fail, the entire group can be replaced at a time.

The key to an effective data center is reliable communications. This means that both the servers and their power supplies are designed in a redundant fashion. Two storage servers may maintain the exact same data, in order for the backup to step in if the primary unit has any troubles. Computing servers may operate in parallel in order to make sure that the computing stream is uninterrupted in the face of any hardware malfunctions. The other component of reliability is environmental control. This includes air conditioning, fire control, and equipment security devices. In addition, the main power routing must be carefully controlled. For some large data centers, the main power would be enough to run a small town. In the same way, data centers must be monitored for air pollution. They expel gases in the form of diesel exhaust under normal operation.

The software and control of the data center is also important. The regulatory body of the Telecommunications industry Association (TIA) generates specifications for data center construction. The standard is published in TIA942 Telecommunications Infrastructure Standard for Data Centers.

Data center construction follows one of four tiers, in order of increasing reliability. Tier 1 offers little hardware redundancy, and guarantees a maximum down time of 3290 ppm (parts per million). Tier 2 adds redundancy components with a maximum down time of 2590 ppm. Tier 3 guarantees multiple, unique distribution paths. Each component must have redundant power supplies. The downtime is 180 ppm max. Tier 4 requires environmental controls be redundant as well, and has a maximum downtime of 50 ppm.

As businesses specify the requirements for their own data center construction, or the specifications for the cloud they plan to use, they match their requirements to the capacity and reliability of the data centers they are considering.

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Data Center Lessons from Hurricane Sandy

Nevada Data Center When the world watched as Hurricane Sandy made landfall, everyone’s thoughts were with those living in New York and New Jersey. Everyone was just hoping people could remain safe. The superstorm devastated many locations and tragically had casualties. In the aftermath of the storm, people had to pick up the pieces of the devastation and among the problems of Superstorm Sandy were the issues that many data centers had during the storm. In a world that moves very fast and constant functionality is critical, many data centers experienced extended and very costly periods of downtime. Many data centers did not have proper disaster recovery plans in place. Unfortunately, natural disasters, regardless of your location, are not something you can anticipate fully or predict so the best thing to do is to try to plan for any potential contingency and have a well designed plan that all employees are prepared to implement. Everyone needs to know what the plan is and what their role and responsibility is should a disaster occur. There are some important lessons that we can learn from Hurricane Sandy so that our data centers can be better prepared in the case of an emergency.
The important lesson to learn is that building infrastructure and power capabilities are of critical importance. If you are given any amount of time to prepare before a storm or event occurs, checking to make sure backup generators, equipment and structure are fully functioning is very important. By doing this, should any last minute adjustment need to occur, you will have the opportunity to ensure your facility is prepared. If you have the opportunity to design your data center from the ground up, considering natural disasters and major storms should be part of the design process for the infrastructure. Things like location should be considered when trying to avoid things like water damage. The basement may not be the best location for a data center or any critical electrical or mechanical assets as they could become gravely damaged. Backup generators are incredibly important and should be routinely checked. They could mean the difference between an extended and expensive downtime. Additionally, many data centers found it difficult to obtain fuel for their generators in the wake of the storm. Some other options, diesel or natural gas generators, should be considered as an alternative.
Additionally, there are other options to consider when preparing for unexpected events. You may want to consider having an additional location where data is backed up that would theoretically not be affected by the same storm. You may also want to consider implementing the cloud, a much hyped technology. According to Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research, “One of the most understated use cases for the cloud is disaster recovery. The cloud is built for backup and recovery, with geographically disbursed data centers.” These are just a few additional preparedness options to consider.
While we cannot predict where or when the next natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy will occur, we can certainly learn lessons from the superstorm for our data centers. By having disaster recovery plans in place that are thorough and prepared for any contingency, we can avoid expensive downtime and keep our business up and running.

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Ways to Save Money in Your Data Center

With the economy slowly in recovery, we are all still trying to save money. Running a data center requires a lot of energy usage as well as other expenses. Every year we learn more and more about energy efficiency, “going green,” and best practices for data centers that can help lower operating costs and save money. There is also certainly the added benefit of being more environmentally friendly, which we can all appreciate. In a data center that focuses on having one hundred percent uptime if possible, things like uninterruptable power supply systems, computer room air conditioners, cooling and humidity control systems, and more can be very costly. Many attempts to go green with your data center or save money may seem daunting and expensive themselves so some are reluctant to take them on. But, you do not need to innovatively break ground with green initiatives in order to become more energy efficient and save money. Companies like Google and Facebook make headlines for their creative efforts in energy efficiency. It has recently been reported that Google’s data centers use recycled waste water to help cool their data centers, essentially, flushing a toilet helps cool their data centers. It is incredibly creative and great that large companies can take these steps to become more energy efficient but there are baby steps that many companies can implement as well.
To begin making changes and help your data center save money you will need to begin with knowledge. You need to learn where energy expenditures are going and look at the trends of your data center to see what is using the most energy. By starting there you can make an educated decision as to where to begin with your energy efficiency changes. It may not be worth your time and money to make the change to energy efficient lighting first if it is only less than 1% of your overall energy expenditure. You want to start with what is the most doable and will save you the most money immediately. You also need to evaluate the design of your data center and its infrastructure. The placement of your computer room air conditioner exhaust or intake may fool it into working harder than it needs to and will cost you more money. Consulting a data center design company is a great way to become informed of what could be problematic for your data center and if you should redesign your data center. A professional opinion will give you the insight into potential energy drains that you make have overlooked. Something as simple as turning off lights and unused equipment can save thousands of dollars! Also, when checking your data center design you will want to make sure you have optimal air flow as poor air flow can lead to vastly increased cooling expenditures.
The key to saving money in your data center is taking it step by step. It does not have to be overwhelming or incredibly expensive to make your data center more energy efficient. Start with consulting data center design professionals who can guide you towards the most savings for your data center.

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Different Types of Data Center Cooling

data center construction company Data centers utilize a lot of equipment that also uses a lot of energy. The amount of energy used emits a lot of heat. If overheating occurs, it can cause a lot of problems including potential fire hazards and the possibility that equipment could become overheated and fail. Data centers cannot afford to have the downtime that these problems would cause. That is why sufficient cooling is needed in any data center. It is crucial that, not only is the area cooled but, that heat is actually removed from the space. Every data center is different and has it’s own unique cooling needs. Meeting a data center’s cooling needs should be a top priority.
A great place to begin is with the hot aisle/cold aisle technique. It is a simple yet practical and efficient way to contain hot air and use row-based cooling. By preventing the mixture of hot air and cold air you can focus your cooling where it is most needed. Using this technique provides you the ability to effectively cool your data center while reducing your overall energy consumption and also will save money on your energy bills.
Next, a great way to sufficiently cool your data center is with rack based cooling. You can ensure that the cooling is delivered directly to the rack, keeping it, and it’s components, at an optimal temperature. Another type of cooling used in data centers is called CRAC (computer room air conditioners). They are very commonly used in data centers. These nits monitor the data center’s temperature, air and humidity. They work differently than traditional air conditioners because they cool but also remove energy from the air and redistribute it to an outdoor space.
In addition, something that has been used for a long time is a raised floor. Some debate the merit of raised floors now with new technologies available. Raised floors allow cool air to flow under the floor and into the server area through specially designed perforated tiles. An alternative to raised floors is a slab floor. With a slab floor air conditioning systems are installed above racks and forced down towards the floor. There has been much debate within the data center industry as to which technique is better. The issue is a complicated one and one that should be decided on an individual basis, based on the needs of each unique data center.
There are, of course, more specific things to consider for cooling a data center such as glycol-cooled chillers vs. air-cooled chillers and more. If you begin with these basics of data center cooling you will have the perfect jumping off point for your data center. A professional data center designed can guide you in the right direction based on your data center’s individual needs. Proper cooling of your data center is crucial to the efficient functioning of your equipment. It will help your equipment last longer and function efficiently.

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Data Backup Struggles

data center designWhen you have spent countless hours and a lot of money designing a data center, the last thing you want is to have a problem and lose precious data without a proper backup system in place. The loss of this data could take enormous amounts of time to recover and you may never fully recover all of it. It would be an incredibly expensive mistake! There are many things to consider such as how to backup your data, how often to backup your data, do you have enough space to backup your data, and more. By choosing to implement an effective backup system for your data, you can save yourself a big headache, hours of time, and incalculable amounts of money. Whatever system you choose to implement, it is imperative that you periodically check your backup system to ensure that it is working correctly and that you can in fact, access the data, should a problem occur. Having a peace of mind that you have a well functioning backup strategy in place for your data is invaluable.
Backup for a data center is not as much about the product or software you use, as much as the process and strategy you implement. One way in which you can properly protect your data center is to implement redundant, duplicate or multiple different forms of backup. Do not pull all of your eggs in one basket, so to say. Relying on one backup system could be detrimental. You should also plan the frequency with which you backup around your business needs.
As with any system you put in place for your business or data center, you should put your backup strategy in writing. When you have your strategy in writing, if a problem occurs, anyone who is authorized will know exactly what to do and everyone will be on the same page. Update your written strategy as any changes or adjustments to the plan occur. Write your strategy in easy to understand ways so that there will be no confusion should the need for recovery be rushed or should the data center be in crisis mode. Along with having a written backup strategy, you should make sure you have properly trained everyone as to their role in the data recovery process. The last thing you need when trying to recover your important data is to have people scrambling and confused.
There are many different specific ways to backup your data such as disk, cloud based, online, tape, and more. You can choose specific types of backup based on your data center needs. The important thing is that you consult a professional that can help determine your needs and the appropriate way to backup your data. With the recent superstorm Sandy affecting many businesses and data centers, it is an important reminder of how crucial backup is. According to Buzz, “With 90% of people not backing up data, this means much of that data is gone forever. For businesses, some will shut down due to this loss of data.” 93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more went bankrupt within a year, according to the National Archives and Records Administration. Data loss is often incredibly personal, but it also has a tremendous economic impact. We cannot predict what tomorrow will bring, but, with proper backup strategies in place, we can protect our business.

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Data Center Must Haves

When you invest in building a well designed data center you want to ensure that your data center will give your business security, have a superior overall service level, and be able to adapt to any needs that may arise in the future. There are, of course, all the technical aspects, like cables and wires that a data center needs but there is more to great data center design than that. With the extremely high costs of downtime, and the headaches that accompany it, you want to ensure that your data center will be able to remain up and functioning under any circumstances. The last thing you want to have happen is spend a lot of money and time designing your data center and find that in three or four years, your data center no longer sufficiently supports your business and is, in essence, obsolete. By tailoring a data center to your needs but also creating flexibility in your design you can have a data center that will continue to service your business for the long term.
The first data center must have may be unseen but is incredibly important: flexibility. You have to consider the future needs of your data center and that expansion and change will be inevitable at some point. You need to be able to grow within your existing data center. Things like adding extra racks and extra server space as well as the ability to add extra power to accommodate changes is crucial to saving time and money down the road. It can be our instinct to want to cut corners at every turn but this can lead to a lot of problems down the road for data centers. Flexibility and expandability is crucial to the design of any data center.
The next essential thing you will need in your data center is adequate and steady power. The reliability of power in a data center may be the most crucial thing. Without constant, reliable power, should any external problem occur that shuts down power in the area, your data center could experience extended and costly lengths of downtime. We cannot anticipate when a power outage will occur but we can prepare for the worst. By ensuring you have adequate power and employing the help of backup power, you can have pace of mind that your data center will be prepared. Backup power includes generators as well as uninterruptible power supply (UPS) that will kick in should a power outage be experienced.
Additionally, your data center will need adequate cooling to support your data centers changing needs. Data centers use a lot of energy and generate a lot of heat. You will need adequate air conditioning and may want to use techniques like the hot aisle/cold aisle technique that can help racks remain cool and properly functioning.
Lastly, it is vitally important that your data center have proper security. You cannot overlook the sinister aspects of this world. When data and crucial company information is involved, there is the potential that someone will try to tamper with or steal data. You need to have both proper physical security as well as virtual security.
If you begin with these data center must haves you will set yourself up for success. When a lot of money and time are invested in the design of a data center you cannot cut corners. By properly preparing for unforeseen circumstances and future needs your data center investment will be wise and will continue to pay off in the future.

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