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How to Ensure Data Center Uptime and Electrical Safety in the Event of a Disaster?

2020-01-14

When disaster strikes, many critical facilities can face catastrophic consequences, but data centers are particularly vulnerable. Whether it is an enterprise on-premises data center, a hosted data center, or an edge data center, a large amount of business-critical information that it has cannot be hosted to other facilities. Therefore, in the event of a power outage, other facilities will face significant business consequences.


The electrical equipment that powers the data center is also unique. So, although the consequences of a data center outage caused by a disaster are serious, so are the potential risks of electrical safety issues.


The following research studies the impact of disasters on data centers from two perspectives: power outages and electrical safety:


Disaster-related downtime costs


With some recent major disasters in the United States (from hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico to forest fires in California), now is a good time for data center operators to understand how such disasters can affect their operations when they cause disruptions. Uptime Institute's 2018 evaluation survey provides insights on power management trends and current challenges, with a focus on the data center. The survey report found a worrying trend of rising power outages. The number of infrastructure power outages and [severe service quality declines" increased by 6% over the previous year. 31% of respondents said they experienced in their own data centers. Power outage.


Power outages in data centers can cause huge revenue losses to businesses. A recent IT Intelligence Consulting (ITIC) study found that 81% of companies in 47 vertical markets estimate that their average hourly downtime cost (excluding catastrophic downtime) is more than $ 300,000. More than 33% of companies said they would lose $ 1 million or more per hour of downtime.


Although each industry faces its own set of challenges, data centers are special in that their expectations of 100% uptime are directly related to the need to access business-critical data, and any loss of access may occur beyond others Consequences of business scope. The threat of major power outages highlights the need for power backup solutions to protect and minimize the impact of downtime.


Key components of backup power system


To prevent these high costs and keep systems up and running, data centers need an integrated power system for power management and disaster prevention. Start with one or more uninterruptible power systems (UPS) (usually deployed in conjunction with backup generators and power distribution units) to ensure reliable power is provided during power outages and to keep critical IT assets running. These systems help businesses avoid data loss and hardware damage by providing the availability of networks and other applications during power events.


As the trend toward a hybrid cloud environment continues to evolve, surveillance software has now become an important part of power management systems. In addition, some enterprises have implemented virtualized infrastructures that can be used in conjunction with power monitoring software to simplify and maximize their ability to manage power with a low probability of disaster or other events. By combining power management solutions with common virtualization management platforms, such as those from VMware, Cisco, NetApp, Dell EMC, HPE, Nutanix, and Scale Computing, businesses and their IT teams can expand their Usability. This feature allows teams to remotely manage physical and virtual servers and power management devices from a single console.


In the end, data center operators need to know what power management technologies are in their infrastructure and whether these solutions can meet their reliability needs in the event of a disaster. Adopting the right power system can mean the difference between business continuity or lost revenue for thousands of dollars.


Security is imperative


When data centers prepare for disasters, electrical safety may be overlooked. There are several reasons for this. Companies often rely on professionals to install electrical equipment, and even electrical equipment manufacturers themselves to ensure the safety of their infrastructure. But the reality is that every organization has its own role, especially the data center operator.


Data center electrical systems are usually designed for functionality, aesthetics, ease of maintenance, efficiency, and security, but due to the many competing priorities (not to mention many other responsibilities faced by data center operators) Security doesn't always get the attention it needs.


The first and most important step is to take the time to understand the unique environment and challenges that a given location may face. This may include reviewing current distribution assets and reviewing critical load analysis, generator connectivity, availability, and fuel sources to determine where the risks occur and how to address them in the event of a disaster. In addition, you must have an up-to-date one-line diagram of the facility's power distribution system. To ensure that security is a top priority, it may be helpful to consider ways to modernize or update specific equipment that may become unsafe during a disaster and take advantage of these opportunities for change.


After that, data centers can implement emergency continuity plans within their facilities to identify qualified personnel. They can then use the data to enable employees to quickly and safely reduce harm by isolating hazardous devices or placing them in a secure location that restricts access to unauthorized employees. The business team must ensure that the continuity plan is communicated to the appropriate data center staff and service personnel, and disaster drills are performed so that employees can respond effectively.


As with the backup power plan, electrical safety requires a holistic approach to the operation of the facility. The structure, piping, HVAC, and other aspects of facility design play a vital role in safety and can be hazardous if not taken into account in overall disaster planning.


in conclusion


Disasters can happen at any time and can have many adverse effects on the business operations of an enterprise. Data center operators need a comprehensive disaster preparedness strategy that includes both the technology used to prevent outages and the procedures, protocols, and personnel responsible for ensuring electrical safety. With the right methods and plans in place, data center operators can minimize the impact of disasters on personnel safety and overall health of the business.

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