Earlier this week, Mission Critical Magazine released its January 2021 edition. In this month’s issue, the magazine features a piece by our President, Phil Rafferty, discussing ways to avoid pitfalls during a Data Center power outage. Read the article here: Mission Critical Magazine Article.
As we all know, Data Center operations require power 24/7, but it’s not as simple as connecting to the power grid, turning on the servers and HVAC system, and walking away. Owners and operators must pay close attention to the electrical system. Understanding the power requirements – access from the utility, the load and how much power is needed to maintain the Data Center, and uninterruptible backup power supplies – is critical information for those building a new facility, or those retrofitting an existing one.
In the US, with a power grid that is generally reliable, outages do happen. Even the top performing utilities can experience adverse events like extreme weather, physical or cyber breaches at facilities, or fluctuations in performance caused by the transition from fossil fuel and nuclear-powered generators to renewable sources. Outages are usually unexpected.
In 2019, both Pacific Gas and Electric (serving 5.4 million customer accounts in the northern part of the state) and Southern California Edison (serving approximately 15 million people) made decisions to selectively turn off power to help reduce wildfires caused by their unshielded power lines, typically on high wind days with some advance notice based on the forecast.
That should be enough to convince any Data Center owner or operator to learn what’s important in terms of redundancy and system maintenance to ensure that their electrical infrastructure is in tip-top shape and has an adequate backup system. Given the risks associated with losing power for any Data Center, it’s imperative to have the proper uninterruptible power equipment to handle the unique energy loads of each facility.