Using Improved Energy Efficiency To Increase Mission Critical Elements

Green Building Data CenterMost businesses today rely on computers and modern technology in order to run efficiently and to meet the needs of customers whether local or worldwide. The data center plays an important role in keeping the operations of any business running effectively. However, as more business operations shift to computerization, the complexity and capacity of those systems must increase. This growth can put a strain on the resources and energy efficiency of the data center. When that strain leads to data center downtime, the losses for the affected businesses could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

This presents a crucial dilemma for the data center administration: Maintain a balance between energy efficiency and the mission critical element.

Requirements of Mission Critical Facilities

When a facility has the “mission critical” status, then it must be operational at all hours of the day every day without fail. In a data center, this applies to the air conditioning systems and each server, as well as other crucial systems. It means that any given component of the system must maintain its reliability. In other words, every action taken must have a positive influence on how well the systems in the data center function. In order to maintain or to improve reliability, there are five strategies that data center administration must implement.

1. Redundancy

This is often achieved by maintaining a second set of components which are either running all the time or which would instantly switch on in the event of failure in the primary components. As maintenance is performed on the primary system, the secondary system may need to be operational. The second system of components will also need consistent maintenance in order to guarantee that they will be functional under emergency circumstances.

2. Maintainability

This means that all mission critical components must be available for regular and routine maintenance without disrupting the crucial function of the components.

3. Flexibility

Individual components of the data center and the data center itself must be planned and built so that they will be able to adapt to changes as they occur. Some of the changes that must be anticipated may occur in the following areas:

  • Power requirements
  • Communication and connection needs
  • The availability of physical space for expansion
  • Environmental factors which could impact the efficiency of cooling systems
  • The density necessary for appropriate operation of data center components

Flexibility is best achieved during the initial design stage of the planning and building operations.

4. Hardening

In order to protect the critical data housed in the data center, the facility must be able to stand strong in the face of natural elements, man-made disasters, or acts of terrorism. If a data center has undergone “hardening”, then the facility is capable of withstanding those dangers. The architects of data centers must also be aware of emerging dangers, so that their designs will be hardened in the event of any new dangers.

5. Security

Security measures are closely tied to the hardening steps. Data centers are often home to highly sensitive information, so quality security measures must be put into place. The IT professionals who design the facilities’ security measures must also be continually investigating new threats to computer security in order to stay a step ahead of hackers and other criminals.

Can A Data Center Obtain Both Energy Efficiency And Reliability?

There are several ways that data centers can improve their energy efficiency. With carefully researched planning, many of the measures for improving energy efficiency will also positively improve the reliability of the data center operations. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are three significant strategies which can be employed to improve energy efficiency without losing the reliability of mission critical components: employing stand-by modes, implementing energy monitoring software, and installing efficient cooling systems.

There are other plans suggested by data center planners and architects which can provide additional improvements to energy efficiency without detracting from mission critical reliability.

1. Employing Stand-By Modes

One estimate suggests that 3% of all the electricity used in the United States is used by data centers. As data centers are used more and more to house online information, this percentage is certain to grow. Reducing the energy use of data centers will prove beneficial for the data centers and for the other energy-consumers in the United States, and across the world.

New studies and technology are consistently improving the benefits of stand-by mode. Typically, devices which are running on stand-by mode are drawing on a little power in order to quickly move from inactivity to activity. Traditionally, data centers house servers which are constantly running, creating a great deal of heat, and requiring continual and intense air conditioning. In an energy efficient data centers, servers switch to a stand-by mode when they aren’t in use. This reduces that amount of electricity used, reduces the buildup of heat, and decreases the necessity for air conditioning.

2. Implementing Energy Monitoring Software

The appropriate us of energy monitoring software have dramatic benefits in reducing the energy usage of a building or company. This happens as the software monitors patterns in energy use, tracks utility bill problems, isolates spots of inefficiency, and recognizes areas where energy is being wasted. Utilizing the right software may mean that the data center is able to monitor losses from mistakes on bills to comparing the amount of energy used at different times of the day and in different areas of the facility.

3. Installing Efficient Cooling Systems

This crucial step becomes much easier when other strategies have been implemented to decrease the amount of energy being used and the amount of heat being generated. Nevertheless, there are a couple of important factors that can affect the efficiency of cooling systems, whether or not those other strategies have been employed. These factors include:

  • The climate and weather patterns of the physical location of the facility
  • The actual occupancy and power loading rate of the facility
  • Continuous maintenance of the cooling system equipment
  • The forethought of architects in developing an energy efficient building
  • State and local energy costs and energy efficiency incentives

There are many methods employed by data center planners to improve the efficiency of the facilities and the cooling systems. Some plans involve recycling warmed air throughout the buildings’ heating systems and some plans involve structured ventilation to maintain cooler temperatures.

Energy Efficiency Improves Mission critical Reliability

It should seem reasonably clear that improving energy efficiency allows more resources to be diverted to reliability. Reducing the dangers created by over-heating also improves the safety of the information housed in the data center. Money originally allocated to paying energy bills could be spent to research better ways to increase security for the facility. Improving the overall energy efficiency of data centers can reduce the number of man hours required to manage the data center and this reduction in human traffic at the data center can also improve the level of security at the facility. These examples and many others illustrate how mission critical elements improve as the energy efficiency of the data center increases.

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Plan Your Data Center With The Future In Mind

Plan for the Future Data Center NeedsBusinesses today rely on computers and technology more than ever before. The earliest beginnings of email in the 60s marked a rapid change toward today’s almost complete reliance on computers. When considering the degree of change that has taken place over the last fifty years and the current rate at which changes are now taking place, it is clear that data centers must be planned with expansion and future operations in mind. As you consider the specifics of your data center design, you must always consider how well the design fits those needs of today and how well the design will meet your future needs.

Crucial Elements of Data Center Planning

The basic elements of designing the data center facility and the factors which affect the efficient operation of the data center can be planned with an eye on the future as well as meeting current needs. Many of those elements and factors are as follows:

Design Elements of Data Centers

  • Facility Location
  • Facility Occupancy
  • Power and Communication Capacity and Availability
  • Ease and Schedule for Maintenance
  • Power Density

The location of the data center facility plays a very important role in determining how well the center will run today and in the future. Features such as the vulnerability of the site to natural dangers and the ease of access to a consistent power supply must be carefully considered. Planners must consider physical vulnerabilities of potential sites such as the proximity of earthquake fault lines, whether or not the area is a flood plane, and how well the soil drains the amount of water that the area typically experiences. Other important factors such as how isolated the data center is or how prone the area is to political or criminal activity must also be taken into consideration.

Some locations may seem ideal today, but a look at future planning maps may show that traffic and construction activities are likely to increase. It is more cost effective to plan ahead for your growth and neighborhood growth than it is to rebuild because your current location is no longer appropriate.

In many situations the facility occupancy of today’s data center will be less than the occupancy needs of the future. However, efforts to maintain a facility which is large enough to accommodate future needs can create energy efficiency problems. The initial design plans can incorporate expansion plans while providing for energy efficient use of the facility during current operation. A couple of examples for doing this include using modular data center units and allowing for expansion without fully maintaining the entire structure.

Establishing access to an adequate power supply will be a major concern during initial construction and will continue to be a major concern especially as power needs increase. The power capacity of the facility will present similar concerns. The same will be true for access to secure communication systems. Neglecting to make accurate predictions about the necessary power and communication requirements of the facility now can become a very expensive problem just a few years down the road.

The ease of maintaining the facility and all necessary equipment is an element of data center design that is sometimes overlooked. If air conditioning equipment is mounted on the roof of the building, then the maintenance which affects the efficiency of that equipment will be more difficult than maintenance on equipment which is easier to access. With a little bit of foresight, the necessary maintenance on future expansions can be as convenient as the maintenance on current facilities and equipment.

Many older data centers cannot handle the same power density that newer facilities can handle. As data center technology improves, the power density of growing facilities should also improve. It may be difficult to determine exactly how technology will improve, but careful planning can leave options open so that facilities don’t become obsolete.

Clearly the expansion potential of the building site must be an acknowledged priority for facility planners.

Factors Affecting Efficient Operation of Data Centers

  • Anticipating and Preparing for Risks
  • Quick Fixes Can Create Problems for the Future
  • Security and Hardening of the Facility

One of the major benefits to preparing for the future of the data center is that potential risks can be headed off before they cause expensive down time. It is very important to the well-being of the data center and the businesses whose information is stored at the data center are protected against all natural and man-made risks. By anticipating risks, the administration of the data center can fully prepare to withstand those risks without losing power, information, or control.

Many problems facing data centers are experienced over and over again – sometimes by the same facilities. This is because there is a tendency to solve today’s problems as quickly and easily as possible. Those quick fixes are often temporary fixes, and may sometimes actually cause other problems for the future operations of the facility. This happens because quick fixes are often focused on just one area of the system at a time and the changes made by the fix may have operational consequences for the future of the data center.

The initial hardening of a data center should be done during the planning stages of the building process, but it should also be a continual focus for facility administration. The security of the data center will be constantly at risk. Cables and telephone lines present an easy to reach point of vulnerability. Non-security personnel such as maintenance people or even strangers wandering in off the street can often gain access to important areas of the data center if the staff hasn’t been trained to be on guard and vigilant. Other risks may be posed because of outdated wiring or software. Lack of familiarity with emergency procedures may lead to chaotic events which increase the chances of intruder vulnerability or loss of equipment and information.

Protect the Future of Your Data Center

Protecting the valuable information stored in data centers must be a top priority for data center administration. This protection cannot be achieved without careful planning for the future. Emergencies, natural disasters, terrorist infiltration, and other risks must be anticipated and prepared for in order to prevent significant losses and dangerous information situations. One of the best ways to protect the information stored in the data center is to plan the design of the data center with an eye on the future and not just today.

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The Success Of A Mission Critical Facility Starts With Good Construction

Nevada Data CenterThough many considerations go into the design and implementation of a mission critical facility, few are more important than the physical construction. Mission critical facility construction has to be reliable, secure, and safe for the valuable equipment and data stored within, and so it is generally much more difficult than the construction of a standard office or business. Even if you plan to have your mission critical facility at the same location as other parts of your business, you may want to hire additional or different contractors just to make sure your mission critical facility construction is the very best that it can be.

Use premium building materials

Just as you wouldn’t outfit your mission critical facility with a computer cobbled together from spare parts or power it with a second hand generator, likewise you should not skimp on the materials you use in constructing your mission critical facility. Make sure the material you use for the facility is appropriate for the area. For example, brick is an excellent insulator and can help keep computer equipment at a stable temperature in places where the external temperature fluctuates wildly. However, it can easily become damaged in places where earthquakes or similar natural phenomena are common.

Additionally, make sure the internal materials of your mission critical facility are of high quality as well. Use good quality wiring and insulation and both will be less likely to cause you problems later on. When choosing heating and cooling units, as well as computer equipment, opt for electronics whenever possible. While there are cases where second tier or off brand electronic equipment can work just as well as their premium counterparts in mission critical facility construction, it is not a chance you want to take when the safety and operation of your entire facility is on the line.

Hire an experienced contractor

You probably wouldn’t hire a contractor who only has experience working on residential buildings to design and construct your office building, and it is doubtful that you would get a contractor who specializes in working on restaurants to work on your grocery store. Similarly, it is very important to find a contractor or construction company that specializes in mission critical facility construction to work on this very important part of your operation.

You may or may not be surprised to find out that mission critical facility construction is a growing business. A number of recent seminars have been held to discuss construction techniques that maximize safety and efficiency. There are special certifications that contracting and construction companies can get if they elect to specialize in mission critical facilities. It is very important to do your research before deciding on a contractor.  See what other facilities the company has worked on and whether former clients are satisfied with their work. Many companies will have a list of references that you can call and find out what other customers’ experiences were like.


The success of a mission critical facility starts from the ground up. Making good decisions in the early construction stages of the facility will often make the day to day operations run much more easily and smoothly later on.

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Five Mission Critical Facility Design Strategies

Mission critical facilities are vital to the continued safe and secure operation of many business and governmental operations. However, the necessity of mission critical facilities is a fairly recent development, and so many laypeople do not understand the fundamentals of mission critical facility design as well as they might.

A lot of unique considerations go into mission critical facility design. These facilities often house delicate and sensitive equipment which needs specialized climate controls to keep it in good working order. Reliable power and security features are also necessary for mission critical facilities. To top it off, many times it is the facilities themselves that need maintenance before the equipment being stored in them does, so ease of care for the facility must be factored into the design process.

These five basic design strategies will help your mission critical facility remain reliable and secure for years to come.


Make sure to have backup systems in place in case primary systems go offline or fail. Some important systems to take into account when planning for backups are power, heating and cooling, and facility locks and physical security measures. Even the very best mission critical facility design cannot prevent the inevitable power outage or equipment wear and tear that are the reason backup systems are in place.


Regular inspections and repairs are necessary events in the life of a mission critical facility. It’s a good idea to implement steps at the mission critical facility design stage to make this maintenance as easy as possible. Whenever possible, standardize machines and equipment. It is also important to keep detailed inspection records and make sure that equipment is easy for maintenance personnel to find and access.


You will want your mission critical facility to be able to grow and change in order to meet future challenges. Though it may seem like a tricky step in the mission critical facility design process, it is very important to leave room for expansion and equipment upgrades. Keep in mind that upgrades and changes will have to be implemented in such a way that they run smoothly without interrupting or affecting ongoing critical applications.


Depending upon where your mission critical facility is located, the building may have to face a unique battery of environmental forces. When choosing construction materials and implementing design options, try to be prepared for the worst. If your facility is in an area that is prone to earthquakes, for example, use flexible earthquake-safe materials and architectural techniques. If you live in an area that frequently has strong rainstorms, then reinforce roof areas to prevent leaks from damaging the building.


Mission critical facilities should be designed with an eye towards protection from security breaches and man made threats. Your facility will likely be housing a great deal of sensitive equipment and information, which unfortunately may make it a tempting target for thieves. Make sure that security features are built into the design process and not added as an afterthought.

There are a number of skilled professional contractors who have experience designing and building mission critical facilities. If you are ever in doubt as to whether you have adequately implemented the above strategies, then don’t hesitate to consult a professional.

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Working Together With A Computer Room Power Company

data center buildComputer rooms and other data centers are becoming increasingly important in today’s fast-paced business world.  Computers are indispensible technology and are responsible for helping employees do more; with resources kept close at hand, a business can become more independent and less reliant on outside organizations.  Cultivating a technical team with up to date skills and strategies is important though there are some facets of your business where outside expertise is still vital.

It’s to your advantage to contract with an outside computer room power company because their entire staff is dedicated to the well-being of your data center.  Even if your organization is able to create a sizable team of data center technicians, it’s not likely that they’ll be able to match the number of skilled individuals that a power company can make available to you.  The benefits of working with a computer room power company don’t stop at personnel.  Technicians from your preferred computer room power company can assist you with the design of your data center.  This includes evaluating the available space and making suggestions about the computer racks and ventilation system that would work best.

Ventilation is should be a primary part of this computer room design.  Ventilation, heating, and cooling should be kept in mind regardless of how the computer room will be used, though data centers have particular needs.  It can be difficult for an inexperienced team to determine the precise ventilation needs of a data center.  The average rate of air flow through the space has to be carefully calculated; temperature shifts have to be considered, too.  Climate control is a necessary part of every data center so an experienced perspective is especially helpful.

A common mistake made by inexperienced computer room designers is a refusal to buy the computer racks needed for the equipment.  Also called server racks, these items lift servers off the ground and mount them securely in vertical orientations.  Initially, the cost of a dozen or more server racks may appear prohibitive; purchasing them on the say-so of an outside contractor may seem like an unwise idea.  Computer racks actually serve many purposes.  To start with, they help facilitate the necessary air flow through the collection of computers.  This helps to keep the ambient room temperature at a reasonable level.  It also helps disperse the warmer air that collects between server towers.  Racks also make access easier during repair and maintenance.  And finally, server racks allow efficient use of the available space.  Storing servers near the floor ignores the considerable vertical space available in your room.  Space is put to better use when server towers are stored vertically as well as horizontally.

A computer room power company does a lot more for you than simply provide you with a reliable power source.  They can connect you with a qualified team of professional engineers and technicians.  These technicians will assist in every aspect of computer room design and operation.

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Planning A New Computer Room

Technology is an important part of our lives and it’s sure to become even more important.  Most people use a computer on a daily basis to send email, print out forms, check their bank account, and much more.  As a result of this increasingly wired lifestyle, computer rooms and technology centers are becoming a frequent fixture in all kinds of locations.   Hotels, motels, schools, hospitals, and public libraries are making technology resources some of their basic offerings.  Before new computer equipment can be brought into a building, a correctly designed space needs to be prepared.

Planning A New Computer RoomSeveral considerations have to be kept in mind when starting a new computer room design.  First, there needs to be adequate power sources; the wall outlets placed in the room have to be carefully placed with regards to the building’s overall electrical design.  Computer rooms tend to use large amounts of power which can overload the circuits if not balanced correctly.  Keep in mind that computer monitors, stereo speakers, and other auxiliary devices will need their own electrical supply.  Planning the power sources in a computer room should be done by an experienced electrical engineer.  This is especially true for older buildings that weren’t initially designed to supply the power required by modern computer room design.

Technology selection is the next thing you should consider.  How many computers do you want to make available?  Will there be printers, copiers, fax machines, or scanners?  To a large degree, the equipment you place in the space will determine its use; further, the available equipment will also determine who uses it.  A computer room with a couple basic terminals will be used primarily by people wanting to check their email or social networking accounts.  Students will be drawn to spaces with available printers and scanners.  People wanting to do research will need word processing software available and ports for flash drives.

Not all computer rooms are intended for the public. Even in hotels, libraries, and schools where people are free to use a technology lab, there is likely to be another one or two computer rooms at work behind the scenes.  A building’s data center will have to be designed with as much care as user-oriented tech labs are.  Employees need to have their own work stations, too.

Your building’s computer room design will have a direct impact on who uses it and how.  To get the most out of the space you have available, plan the space carefully.  Think about how it would feel to a visitor; are you able to access the services you require?  You might find it helpful to consult with an architect or other design expert.  It’s also helpful to tour facilities similar to your own and see how computer room design has been accomplished in other locations.  That way you can get a good idea of what furniture, electronics, and other items are needed to create a useful and inviting space.

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Protecting Your Data With Backup Power

data center equipmentWith the advancement of technology, some people take for granted what is available to them every hour of the day and night. Being able to hop on the internet or your fun to find information, socialize, or play games has become such an integrated part of many people’s lives that suddenly not having access to it can be devastating. This can be really annoying when it is something as simple as your battery dying on your laptop or phone. For those who are extra cautious, a spare and charged batter could solve the issue. If that is what you do when you suddenly run out of power, what does a larger facility that houses millions of people’s data do when power loss occurs? This is where a data center facility power company steps in.


It is important for a data center facility power company to provide continuous power. If you have ever experienced the nuisance of not being able to get online to do some searching or being able to make a phone call, then you probably understand quite well just how frustrating a loss of service can be. In some cases, you might have even complained to your internet service provider or cell phone carrier. Such losses of power often translate into the loss of money for such businesses. In other words, losing power is out of the question if you want to retain customers and be seen as a reliable source for service.


Companies that provide services that have to do with serving millions of customers at once need a lot of data. There will often be entire buildings that are constructed simply to house the data infrastructure needed to keep an internet service provider or cell phone carrier up and running. In order to keep these data facilities up and running all the time a data center facility power company monitors it. If you’re wondering what such a power company does, it’s pretty simple: the power company does its best to ensure that the power supply is not interrupted no matter what the power outside the facility is doing. This means that hopefully even when a huge storm knocks out a lot of power, this critical facility will still be able to function.


Companies work with a data center facility power company in order to please and protect you as the customer. These companies know how important it is to their customers to have access to data or use of their devices. It doesn’t matter what is going on around the main data facility, customers expect certain things of their devices. When customers don’t get what they expect, it can easily amount to huge financial losses for certain businesses. This is especially true if any of your data is actually lost due to power loss. In other words, critical power companies are working just as much to protect you as the businesses that hire them.


You have every right to expect good and reliable service from companies that offer them to you. Mission critical companies often rely on the help of a data center facility power company to keep them up and running no matter what, thus hopefully keeping customers happy and satisfied. Remember the next time you get online or use your cell phone, that critical power company is not only helping out your service provider; they are helping you, too.

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Give Your Data Center Adequate Power

Data centers operate around the clock, every day of the year.  They are responsible for many tasks, including security monitoring and hosting the business’s Internet server.  These tasks can’t be interrupted which is why many data centers have their own separate power source.  Under normal circumstances, this power source comes from the building’s main supply, though will probably be on a different circuit.

Give Your Data Center Adequate PowerThe power supply to your building comes from a municipal electric company and travels to the building via conventional power lines.  Once it arrives at your building, the electricity is dispersed along the building’s own electrical system.  Power usage experiences peaks and troughs throughout the day; while some equipment is left on around the clock, most machines are shut off during the night.  Still, your building continues to consume power.  Heating and cooling systems, security systems, and data centers require a stable power source.  Because the of variable demands made on a building’s power supply, many data centers are give their own circuits to run on; this ensures that they always get as much power as they need.  This way they’re less likely to be affected by power shortages experienced by the rest of the building.

Many businesses choose to install additional data center power systems that aren’t connected to the primary electrical system.  This extra power may be provided by another power company, by an in-house generator, or by a battery back-up.  Generators and battery systems usually switch on when the regular power supply is interrupted.  Data center operators can also switch these systems on manually or test them without disturbing the function of the computers.

Data center power needs involve more than just the computers, servers, and monitors being used.  Ventilation systems also need to receive a steady supply of power to continue to operate.  Computers generate quite a bit of heat, which an internal fan helps to disperse.  When many computers are kept together in a room, the collective heat has the potential to damage the equipment.  For this reason, extra ventilation and cooling is built into these rooms.

There are several data center power companies that you can choose to contract with.  Some are geared to serving the needs of medium-sized businesses while others are particularly geared towards the needs of large businesses and corporate organizations.  Regardless of how large your particular organization is, you can expect that the company you work with to provide you with excellent customer service, skilled technical support, and a responsive help line.  Customer service phone lines are open twenty-four hours to answer your questions and respond to any concerns you have.  You can also arrange for visits from their technicians to perform regular maintenance on the data center and any backup power supplies you are using.

Your business relies on the data center for many things.  A reliable back-up data center power supply will give you considerable peace of mind.

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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.

Maintain The Quality Of Your Supply Of Power 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.

Reliability Is The Key To Maintain Mission Critical PowerAs 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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