The Importance of Ensuring True Redundancy in a Data Center

A data center often prides itself on its ability to maintain uptime in the face of significant power and data loads.  Downtime is seen by customers and consumers as simply unacceptable and while there are many ways to avoid downtime, one important protection all data centers need to utilize is redundancy.  Data center hardware and power needs are constantly evolving and because of this, it can be difficult to anticipate and properly ensure power supply redundancy.  With a dual-path power supply true redundancy can be achieved but it is critical that both paths are capable and managing all equipment and power needs in the data center.  ComputerWeekly describes the importance of redundancy in a data center, ” Redundancy has a negative connotation when the duplication is seen by the business as unnecessary. Yes, for some businesses this datacentre capacity excess is an issue, but for the majority, the other form of redundancy – the provisioning of a datacentre to survive a range of failure scenarios – has become even more of an issue. IT infrastructure is part of an organization’s DNA. If someone were to cut off the IT service for an organization, it would not be a small snag, but a corporate catastrophe for its operations. Business processes would halt, customers would be left stranded, suppliers would be unable to know what was required to be delivered, the organization would struggle to pay its employees what they are owed, communication and collaboration would be severely impaired. The overall availability of an IT platform means that an approach of a single application on a single physical server with dedicated storage and individual dedicated network connections is a strategy to oblivion. It is incumbent on IT to ensure that the IT platform can continue to operate through failures – as long as the cost of doing so meets the organization’s own cost/risk profile.”

The purpose of having a dual path is that, should a failure occur in the power supply, the other power supply will be able to pick up exactly where the first left off and maintain uptime.  Having a redundant power supply today is simply best practice for any data center.  One of the most important parts of creating true redundancy is ensuring that, should a failure occur somewhere in one path, it will not affect or impact the other path in any way. While many data centers choose to employ redundant power supplies, many data centers fail to realize just how much power their supplies will actually need for true protection.  The sad fact is, many data center managers simply do not have an adequate grasp on the power supply needs of all of the equipment in the downstream.  Because new equipment is constantly being added to data centers, the additions can frequently get overlooked and suddenly, without realizing it until it is too late, the power needs exceed the redundant power supply.  The power demands should be constantly checked so that the power redundancy is never exceeded.  The best way to do so is through the implementation of a monitoring system that routinely checks and ensures that all is as it should be.  When discussing redundancy, many may raise an eyebrow at the concept and think it is not very efficient. But, to properly run a data center, redundancy is necessary.  To ensure optimal efficiency, it is best to run the data center on the most efficient power supply and reserve the less efficient power supply as the redundant supply that is only used should a failure occur.

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