24/7 Maintenance Plan

When Power Outages Happen, It Pays To Have A 24/7 Data Center Maintenance Plan. It would be a big help for businesses of all types if the power company could give you an iron-clad guarantee that you will only ever have power issues on a regular workday, and maybe even first thing in the morning.  Unfortunately, that is just not reality.  In fact, due to the nature of storms it might even be the case that your power is more likely to have issues of blackouts, brownouts, or other disruptions in the middle of the night.  

24/7 Maintenance Plan

If you are counting on your power supply, as would definitely be the case if you have a data center that provides information, storage, and access for thousands or millions of people or even just your own company, then it is almost a necessity that you have some plan in place for dealing with power issues no matter when they happen.  The plan should not just be theoretical.  It should be written and tested and everyone who will play a part in the plan should know their duty.   If such a plan includes backup power such as ordering it from a different provider or simply having a generator turned on when needed, then testing these power supplies long before the crisis occurs is a vital part of your load bank testing.  
There should also be regular maintenance to make sure that things are always working and that everyone involved in your maintenance plan understands how and why each step occurs and how they will contribute.  Nothing should be left to chance or it is almost certain that things will go just as terribly wrong as it is possible for them to go.

Fortunately, having a maintenance plan that is developed to work around the clock does not necessarily mean that you have to have an employee sitting on site to monitor the power system.  In fact, with today’s communication technology, you might be better not having an employee on site and counting on their awareness of problems and their ability to detect difficulties.  Instead, the power system can monitor itself, much better than your eyes can, and can notify you or any of the people involved in the plan wherever they are, whenever it is needed.  If the power starts to fluctuate, without actually going out, things can be done to shut down less important systems and push the power toward vital areas of your data center and this can be done in the blink of an eye by the computer that runs the system.  It could also let you know that this has happened so that you can know what to do next.  If human input is needed, that might even be able to be done from home with simply logging into a website and telling the computer what to do.  Or, if more input is needed, then the right people can be notified so they can physically go into the data center and get things working right.  And yes, this could even be done with a power outage.  You would simply need to make sure that there is an automatic backup power source that will allow the computer in charge of notifying people to do so before the power source dies.
Never leave things to chance.  This all needs to be developed far in advance for implantation no matter when or why a power outage happens.

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Importance of Data Center AC

How Proper Computer Room Air Conditioning Can Keep Data Center Equipment Running At Optimum Performance

Any time that computer system equipment is contained in a typical sized server room, the environment can fluctuate quickly.  Computer room air conditioning is an essential part of data center designs.  The equipment in a computer room is usually running all day long, every single day of the year, non-stop.  This generates in immense amount of heat that can inhibit the functions of the computer equipment in the room as well as the network users.  When the heat increases, many problems can occur such as slow performance and system breakdowns.  However, these problems can be avoided by making sure that the data center has a proper computer room air conditioning system installed.

Computer room air conditioning not only cools the temperature of the machines, it also lowers the humidity in the room.  All electrical equipment needs the correct humidity level to operate effectively.  If the level of humidity were to rise above 55%, then irreparable damage can occur. While this isn’t a factor everywhere, in areas where high humidity is likely, then humidity control is required so that malfunctions and breakdowns do not occur.  Moisture can build up inside the equipment and will definitely destroy it. Replacing this equipment costs money and creates stress that data center operators do not need.

There are many innovative ways to keep computer rooms air conditioned.  Before electricity was available, building designers had to find ways to provide ventilation to the buildings they designed.  One way this was done was by using eyebrow or clerestory monitors.  An eyebrow monitor is described as a raised section of a pitched roof that contained windows that could be opened for increased airflow.  A clerestory monitor is slightly similar except that it is a raised section of flat roof that had windows around the side that could be opened as well.  When put into operation, the clerestory monitor provided huge amounts of natural light and an efficient way for outside air to flow through the building thus providing cooling.

When utilizing this technique in a data center, cooler outside air comes in through ground level vents then it is vented vertically.  The only step in this process that requires assistance is venting exhaust air away from the server cabinets . Once the hot air is away from the equipment, it will continue to rise until it is removed through the clerestory monitor.  A vacuum is created by the air flow through the clerestory monitor and the exhaust fan operation which keeps the air flowing and cool.

It’s very easy to see how this cooling technique is not only possible to do and is beneficial but is energy efficient as well.  The only mechanical requirement is the use of exhaust fans to vent the hot air away from the server cabinets.  It’s also extremely easy to accommodate outside temperature changes by simply closing or opening different windows.  There are a few tips to making this type of cooling system work.  It’s important to size the clerestory monitor to adequately fit the size of computer room being used.  In addition, by orienting the monitor along the side towards the prevailing winds the optimum airflow is provided.  Lastly, avoid utilizing this cooling type in areas or regions that have little or no natural airflow or in areas with long lasting high temperatures as it will not work and will cause damage to the equipment.

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Customized UPS Maintenance To Meet Your Needs

Data CenterWhether you have a fairly standard data center, or one that is designed uniquely for your business, you still need to have a plan in place for regular maintenance of the uninterruptable power supply (UPS). Without proper and regular UPS maintenance, your system has a higher potential to fail, leaving you stranded without power, jeopardizing your data and hampering your company’s productivity for what may become a significant period of time. Depending on what kind of system you have, it may be beneficial to get a plan customized specifically for your needs.

What you require in your data center maintenance plan will often depend on the design of your data center and your power needs. Some of the most common things that regular UPS maintenance can address include UPS battery failure, exceeding the power supply capacity, equipment failure, and water- or heat-related failures. Your needs will be different from another business based on what your facility looks like, how much power you use on a regular basis, and how you are storing your equipment.

data center maintenanceThere are three basic phases that are crucial for UPS maintenance—physical examination as a preventive measure, calibration and checking the protection settings, and complete load testing. These procedures should be conducted at least every six months, more often if you believe that you may have a problem.

If your system is more prone to equipment failure, your plan may include more emphasis on maintaining the actual unit to identify areas where excessive heat or other factors could jeopardize the unit. One of the best indicators of a power problem is a higher-than-normal temperature in the unit. Your customized plan may include the use of infrared scanners that can show you the areas where your UPS is experiencing higher temperatures. While you are examining the unit, some additional work may be required to check for loose connections on the power supply and other components, and make sure there is no swelling, leaking, or pressure in the capacitor.

A system that is at risk for exceeding capacity may require checking the protection settings on your unit and calibrate it so it’s prepared in the event of an emergency. In order to check these settings, a UPS maintenance technican can simulate the emergency conditions that would trigger the alarm, then monitor all the settings and alarms to ensure they function properly.

This type of plan may also involve load testing to ensure the ability to handle any capacity you need. Testing things like input and output voltage, input and output current, output frequency, input current balance, and output voltage regulation are all part of this process. In addition, testing the system at different load volumes is important, for example, at 0 percent, 50 percent, and 100 percent load.

Finally, a system at risk for battery failure (one of the most common reasons UPS systems fail) should include a battery check. Identifying a degrading battery early can help you properly plan for and replace it before it shuts down the entire system. Checking things like the temperature, voltage and currents can help you identify potential problems early on.

Proper UPS maintenance is essential for an effective and long-lasting system, and a customized plan can benefit any company looking to maximize its effectiveness and minimize costs in the long term.

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Essential Tips For Replacing Your UPS Battery

data center maintenanceYour uninterruptible power supply (UPS) is your emergency plan to keep your business running in the event of a power failure, and one of the most critical components of that system is the battery. When the battery dies, speedy UPS battery replacement is important to keep your system ready and available in case it is needed. Here are a few essential tips for replacing your battery.

A typical battery will last about three to five years, but that is just an estimate and could change based on the power load and the environment where you store the system. Optimal conditions for storage are a cool, dry room with proper ventilation. Systems that are housed in hot, humid environments, or in areas where power outages are more frequent (thus requiring the use of the UPS system more often) may require more frequent UPS battery replacement.

data center designAssuming you have a modern UPS system, it should come equipped with an alarm that will signal when the battery is getting low, in most cases it will be both a lighted signal and an audible alarm. When the alarm is triggered, pay attention and address the problem immediately to avoid complete battery failure. Even if you do not see or hear an alarm, if your system is not working, it’s a good idea to check the battery and find out if a UPS battery replacement will fix it before scrapping the entire system and purchasing a new one, which can be costly.

It may seem like keeping spare batteries around would be helpful in case you need a UPS battery replacement, however, this is not the case. Purchasing and keeping a battery on the shelf for an extended period of time without using it will reduce the battery life unless you have some way to keep it charged the entire time it is in storage.

When you are ready to replace your battery, you can explore the options of either purchasing it from the original equipment manufacturer, or as an aftermarket product. The advantage of purchase an aftermarket battery is often a lower cost, but be cautious and make sure you are purchasing one that will fit in your unit. Do not estimate the size, measure to the exact millimeter and identify a replacement battery that is exactly the same size, as even small deviations can prevent it from fitting in your unit.

After you finish your UPS battery replacement, avoid throwing the old battery away with your regular garbage. The batteries contain several toxic agents, including metals and acids. If you’re not sure where to take it to get rid of it, ask the dealer from whom you purchased the battery if they have a recycling program or know of one. If that is not an option, call your local waste facility to find out the nearest place you can take the old battery.

To reduce the need for frequent battery replacement, you can perform routine tests and maintenance on the system. Performance tests, run time tests, and safety tests are all important to conduct on a regular basis.

UPS battery replacement is an essential part of maintaining an uninterruptible power supply that is ready whenever you need it. Knowing the proper steps for replacing an old battery can be crucial to having a proper backup power supply that keeps your business running smoothly no matter what happens.

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Purchasing An Uninterruptible Power Supply

data center designWith the world relying on electricity you may have found yourself suffering from the loss of power. With an uninterruptible power supply you will never have to suffer again. The device has the ability to supply electricity for a certain amount of time after a power outage or utility failure in order for any unsaved data to be properly saved before shutdown. Never again will you lose your unsaved research on your computer because of a utility failure.

An uninterruptible power supply can be used to back up power on computers, servers and any other piece of equipment. Some models can even back up an entire household or business if necessary while acting as a surge proctor at the same time.

If this sounds like something you might benefit from you should consider purchasing one of your own. When making your purchase there is much to consider and think about before purchasing. It makes a big difference if you are only intending it to back up a personal computer versus the server to a large corporation. It all depends on what you are looking for.

Data CenterThe first step in purchasing a UPS device is knowing the amount of devices you may need to protect. Just in the protection of one computer you might need to include the monitor, tower, cable modem and router. If you happen to make the wrong purchase you might think you are protected until a power outage. You will then find out you weren’t protected and it will be too late.

Once you determine what you need to protect and how much power is required, you will want to determine the amount of time you want your devices to remain functioning after a power outage. You might be simply looking for a few extra minutes in order to save data and properly close down programs. Or, you might need enough time for an entire business to shut down properly to save sensitive information or even possibly remain completely functioning for a couple hours. It makes a big difference when deciding what to purchase.

Determining what you need is half the battle when purchasing an uninterruptible power supply.  Once you know what you need your can start your search. Uninterruptible power supply devices come in a variety of sizes, capabilities and even prices. For example, if you know you are looking to back-up a large amount of equipment you will need to look into only those capable of doing so. Otherwise, you might purchase the wrong once resulting in inadequate power supply. Also, know your budget. Don’t set yourself on a certain device you know you can’t afford. There are options for all needs and budgets. Choose the right one for you.

After you have researched your purchase and made the best purchase to meet your needs you will need to properly set up the equipment to ensure that it is functioning properly. Again, it is useless to have the equipment if it isn’t functioning to meet your needs. Once set up, the equipment itself requires minimal maintenance and upkeep. However, you will want to make sure the UPS is located in a ventilated area. Do not allow the device to overheat and especially do not store paper products next to it. Just like any other electrical device, it will put off heat. Make sure to keep it clear of clutter and you will be set.

Now that you know what steps to take purchase an uninterruptible power supply today and never suffer from lost data again!

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Keeping Your Mission Critical Hardware Running

data center maintenanceIf you’ve ever lost important information or even potential business because of a power outage or utility failure, you might consider purchasing an uninterruptible power supply.

Almost every business or company today relies on the use of electricity. If you have mission critical equipment dependent on power and don’t want to risk losing out because of a power outage, take the control back with the purchase of an uninterruptible power supply.

What are the benefits of purchasing an uninterruptible power supply? First, you will never lose unsaved data on a computer. Second, you will never have to disappoint a client because you can’t access information or supply them with your product. Lastly, you will save time and money.

UPS devices are designed to maintain the flow of electricity even when experiencing a power outage, utility failure or power surge. Depending on the particular UPS device you choose you can maintain power for a couple of minutes allowing you to hurry and save data you are currently working on or save client information. If need be, you can even purchase a larger device allowing you to keep power for an extended amount of time to keep your business up and running while working on getting power back. You will never lose out because of something that is out of your control. You will still be able to serve your clients or customers the same as before.

UPS maintenance When running a business you are dependent upon those you are offering your service or product to. They are what make your business run. Without them, you would have nothing.

Imagine you are on a phone call with a potentially large client who could possibly generate a substantial amount of revenue for you. You type in the clients contact information and a couple details about them. You’ve also typed on your computer the particular service they are requesting. You hang up the phone, go to hit save and just then the power goes out. All you had just input is lost. Who knows if you will be able to get the clients number again. If you do, you run the risk of looking unprofessional and incompetent to the new client. Potentially, you’ve just lost a client. If a UPS device had been installed you would have had the time to save the information as if the power outage had never occurred.  No business or pride lost.

An uninterruptible power supply is not just used to ensure power to mission critical equipment; it can also be used as a surge proctor. Sometimes, when multiple pieces of equipment are powered together, a sudden power outage or failure could result in the frying of the equipment because of the interference. Spikes in electricity and “noise” can also cause damage. If this were to happen, you would lose all your equipment and have to not only repair the power source but also purchase new equipment before business could return to normal. Money would be going out with no money coming in.

An unexpected power outage has the potential to ruin your livelihood. Your business is important to you and the clients you serve. Protect your mission critical equipment with an uninterruptible power supply and ensure you can keep your business up and running. You will appreciate the time and money saved.

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Why Choose A Modular Uninterruptible Power Supply

Data CenterOne of the most important planning considerations for your data center is getting the right uninterruptible power supply (UPS)—after all, without power, your data center is useless. The common industry wisdom has often been that getting a bigger power supply is better, with many companies going for oversized units and wasting energy as a result. In this article, we will discuss why a modular system can work better for your company and save you money as well.

Uninterruptible power supply is often measured and sold in terms of kilovolt-amperes, or kVA. However, when you calculate the needs of your entire data center, you will likely calculate a total kilowatt (kW) output. It’s important to understand that kW to kVA is not a 1:1 ratio, and generally you only get about 80-90 percent real power out of a kVA system, meaning that a 100 kVA UPS can usually deliver only 80-90 kW of real power. Therefore, calculating needs on a kW basis and using that to determine how many kVAs you need can leave your data center short on power. When you are planning your data center, account for the difference so you can properly plan for the right amount of power.

data center designNext, calculate the power needs of your data center today (in kilowatts), then increase that number to about 125 percent to account for the difference in kVA and kW. Choose the next highest standard size above your calculations to give you a little bit of room for growth in the immediate future.

One common pitfall that companies run into here is deciding that, even though they do not need all the capacity right now, they will simply purchase the largest uninterruptible power supply so they can use it if and when they need it in the future. The problem with this scenario is that a larger UPS requires significant amount of energy to power and cool, so running one with more capacity than you need is wasting money in the meantime. In addition, a UPS running at lower loads is less efficient.

However, it is also important that a company does not purchase an uninterruptible power supply that only has enough capacity for the power needs today. It is almost guaranteed that your power needs will grow in the future, so you will quickly outgrow a system that only meets your needs today.

Instead, companies should look for solutions that allow for modular growth, like the ones offered by Gamatronic. A modular UPS system will allow you to purchase more than what you need today in anticipation of future growth, then disable the parts that you are not currently using. These systems may cost a little more up-front because they give you the flexibility to expand, but can save you significant amounts of money through energy and power conservation today, and by providing quick and easy access to more power when you need it in the future.

Properly sizing your uninterruptible power supply is important to ensure that you have all the power capacity you need to run your data center, but also to ensure you are not wasting energy powering and cooling a system that is too big for your immediate needs.

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Infrared Thermography Is A Vital Component Of Data Center Tests

Data CenterLarge and small data centers have or are connected to server systems, UPS, computer rooms, networked computers, and many other electronics and equipment. All of those large and small businesses must conduct data center testing, especially in the form of infrared thermography, in order to quickly catch problem areas. The use of infrared thermography provides easy to read pictures of where problems lie. Overheated components and areas of air leakage are identified easily and any thermal insulation with defective or damaged spots can be quickly spotted. Choosing a provider for this infrared thermographic testing may be one of your top priorities if you don’t already have one on your team.

Working in a data center you are well aware of the amounts of heat that multiple large servers and a large amount of other equipment can produce. You should also have a clear understanding of how dependent your business is upon all of that technology. Data centers are routinely and carefully inspected and monitored for signs of trouble, especially in the form of dropping or spiking temperature. The main purpose of data center testing, and specifically infrared thermography, is to identify and pinpoint connections, conductors or other components that are becoming too warm or too cool. Either of these circumstances can lead to problems or emergencies.

Most of the problems facing a data center are caused by a handful of situations. Overheating can occur when connections become loose or when they suffer from deterioration. Any area that experiences short circuiting may also become a fire hazard. As machinery experiences overloads, many types of malfunction can occur. At times, components may have been improperly installed. Load imbalances, faulty fuses or breakers, switches which have been damaged and many other unexpected electrical conditions can lead to problems. These problems may not be easily seen without data center testing that includes the use of infrared thermography. And without adequate warning, an undetected spike in temperature can lead to serious and frightening conditions.

Data CenterEvery time your data center suffers from an electrical system failure, you are sure to experience losses. Whether just one circuit is involved or if a major component and system is affected, you are sure to feel the effects throughout budgets, safety procedures, future trainings and productivity. And so the prevention of such a system failure becomes extremely important. Using data center testing to identify trouble areas before they become problems is very important. A preventative maintenance program that involves the use of infrared thermography as part of routine data center testing is a must have for any technologically-based business, large or small.

As you prepare for your data center to be tested, remember that more than just the data center will need to be monitored. Servers are generally connected to many other forms of electrical equipment. Following the trail from servers to personal computers, to sources of power, to cooling and heating machinery should be included in all routine data center checks.

Infrared thermography should be a part of a complete testing schedule for your data center. When it comes to the data center, remember that it is often the hazard that isn’t seen that is the most dangerous.

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Why Your Data Center Should Have An Emergency Dispatch Team

Data centerEven when you have put every preventative measure in place, your data center could become site of fires or flooding or other unpredictable emergencies. If this happens, then you want to peace of mind that comes from knowing that the data center spe ts you have called will have the experience to get your data center quickly back to work. You’ll appreciate knowing that the emergency and all of the equipment will be treated professionally and appropriately. You’ll want the assurance that comes from knowing that the spe ts will be able to restore and repair any hardware or equipment that was damaged during the emergency.

When an emergency arises, it will be vital to the health of your business and the consistency of the services that your data center provides, that the emergency team of data center spe ts arrive promptly to your center. The emergency team should be prepared to mobilize at any time during the day or night, over weekends or on holidays. This availability of an emergency team from your regular data center maintenance provider means that you won’t have to hire another crew without familiarity with your data center and its complex systems and machinery.

UPS maintenanceDuring the emergency, as you are focused on providing a continuity of service and simultaneously trying to contain the negative effects of the emergency, knowing that the data center emergency dispatch team has experience with your data center and your equipment. As you work through the emergency with a team of spe ts from a data center maintenance provider that you are already working with, you’ll appreciate knowing that the professionals are prepared with the emergency chemicals and supplies that have been specifically developed with a data center in mind. It will be important to you that you already know what certifications and specialties the data center spe ts hold and that you have a long standing relationship with their company.

As the emergency begins to wrap up and damages become apparent, you may appreciate that the data center spe ts you are working with understand how to provide repair and restoration services. When you are already faced with the costs of dealing with the emergency, knowing that the emergency team can provide you with repair services can provide you with much-needed peace of mind. Instead of facing replacement costs for all of your machinery, you’ll have the option of that equipment being quickly repaired and tested. Getting equipment promptly back into service will be the goal of restoration and repair operations.

A data center and all of its machinery constitutes an environment that can be sensitive to many different situations which could put the business at risk. With millions of dollars at risk, each and every aspect of the hardware will need careful and consistent monitoring. Without the regular services provided by data center spe ts, the data center could be subject to costly downtime, the loss of digital information or even damage done by inexperienced and unknowing personnel. But when you have chosen a team of experienced professionals who specialize in servicing data centers, then you’ll have the confidence that your data center is in safe hands. Furthermore, when those professionals can respond within minutes of an emergency, you’ll know that your data center’s operations are well-protected.

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Thermal Runaway and Hot To Mitigate Your Risk

Thermal Runaway and Hot To Mitigate Your RiskThese are pictures of Valve Regulated Lead Acid (VRLA) batteries that were damaged by excessive heat buildup in the battery causing “Thermal Runaway.” The most typical application for VRLA batteries is in Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) which provide an alternate source of energy, using these batteries, in the event of a power outage. These batteries lost the ability to store current, which causes them to heat up internally. Some batteries became so hot they melted together requiring pry bars and chisels to break the battery free from the tray, rack or cabinet.


What is Thermal RunawayWhat is Thermal Runaway?

Thermal Runaway is an abnormal condition where most of the energy provided by the battery charger results in heat generation, in turn releasing energy that further increases the internal temperature of the battery.  The elevated battery temperature draws more charging current, causing additional heat build-up.  This condition will continue to compound to the point where accelerated dry out and/or melting of the battery will occur and in some extreme cases, cause a fire.

Measures to help prevent Thermal Runaway

-Keep the temperature of the battery environment/room at 77 degrees F as recommended by the battery manufacturer. Every degree above 77 shortens the life of the battery.

-Perform battery replacements on aged or failing batteries according to your service provider’s recommendations, battery manufacturer and industry standards.

-Perform regularly scheduled preventative maintenance on the UPS and batteries to test impedance, resistance and voltage.As a UPS and battery service provider, we encourage customers to follow these recommendations to ensure the continued integrity and reliability of their backup power systems.

As a UPS and battery service provider, we encourage customers to follow these recommendations to ensure the continued integrity and reliability of their backup power systems.

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