5 Tips to Ensure Power Quality in Your Data Center and Facility
If the responsibly to ensure power quality in your facility falls on your shoulders, you know that major power quality problem can lead to an equipment failure, down time and angry customers. As power professionals, we need to plan for the worst case scenario and assume that a major power failure could happen at any time. We live with the reality that we must provide 24/7 connectivity and instant availability of information. Any change in power, voltage, current or frequency that interferes with the normal operation of electrical equipment is a threat and can interrupt the normal operation of your facility.
So how do you prevent power quality problems and ensure power quality? You can’t. But you can plan for them and you can take steps to minimize their impact on your business. To help, we’ve put together the top 5 tips to ensure power quality in your data center and facility.
Tip #1 – Have a Plan B
There is tremendous pressure on IT and facilities personnel to save money where possible. Sometimes that means that the battery back-up for the UPS is reduced to the absolute minimum, or the batteries haven’t been replaced on time. An industry standard for UPS run time is around 5 minutes. That is generally enough time to allow for the generator to start up and start producing clean power (by generator standards) or for the site personnel to recognize that the generator isn’t going to start as expected and initiate Plan B. Speaking of, what is your Plan B? A gentle shut-down? Another power source?
Tip #2 – Identify possible points of vulnerability
- When was the last time your Disaster Recovery plan was thoroughly reviewed? Best practices suggest a review of the DR Plan every 12 months or whenever there is an equipment change that affects the power path.
- A Risk Assessment Service can be the perfect way to get a set of trained eyes looking at your power systems and data center infrastructure to help identify possible points of vulnerability.
- Electrical rooms housing switchgear and the major electrical systems for your site frequently go unseen and unchecked. Regular maintenance and inspection of all equipment is important but even more so for aging infrastructure. Consider keeping your power system equipment under a service and maintenance contract for added peace of mind.
Tip #3 – Confirm the operating environment is within recommended standards
Batteries need to be protected from the elements, heat can interfere with the proper operation of servers, and humidity can cause water damage. For equipment such as battery banks, housed outside of a traditional data center it’s important that the temperature and humidity is controlled as carefully as it is in the data center. This applies to network closets and branch offices. Consider a network closet assessment service to review the condition of all these non-data center areas of your facility.
Tip #4 – Check the service and maintenance schedule for your equipment
The hardest problems to fix are the ones you didn’t see coming. Regular periodic preventive maintenance visits for your data center power and cooling equipment and the facility electrical systems helps predict failures before they occur. When possible, service by the manufacturer is recommended as they typically have the most highly trained technicians and can guarantee genuine factory replacement parts. Most manufacturers offer extended warranties and factory service plans for data center power and cooling equipment.
Tip #5 – Consider modernizing aging equipment rather than replacing it
Budgets are tight and for many, getting approval for capital expenses and new equipment has never been more difficult. In response to these challenges, many manufacturers are offering modernization services for their equipment. These large-scale upgrades can have almost the same net effect as purchasing new equipment, but at a fraction of the cost. With UPS modernization, customers are saving money on equipment, avoiding installation costs, and eliminating the need for downtime. Switchgear and power systems modernization are having a similar effect.
For more in-depth information, see our whitepaper.
Today, power quality goes well beyond thinking about surges and sags. Today’s challenges include a remote workforce, the Internet of Things, and Edge computing. All have one thing in common, the tolerance for downtime is zero. Power Solutions has partnered with the best in the business at power protection and conditioning. We are experts when it comes to planning for the worst case scenario and we can help you put together a comprehensive service and maintenance plan so you can be prepared for the next outage.