Server room power backup

By danielinthelionsden ·
I've been tasked with creating a backup power plan for our server room. We have three tower servers and really only one of them is mission critical. We also have the router, firewall, and phone system which will need to remain on during a power outage. We need at least the one server to be able to stay up through any outage...our most recent power outage was about three hours but I suppose we should be prepared for anything. Any recommended hardware as far as battery backup, generator, etc?

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True. For a smaller install, natural gas can be helpful

by robo_dev In reply to Don't forget to add in Ge ...

While most of the big generators are diesel, natural gas is a convenient alternative for the smaller generators.

Obviously natural gas does not go stale, and you do not need a storage tank, nor does a truck need to deliver fuel.

In the US there are a multitude of environmental regulations related to fuel storage tanks as well as capturing fuel spills, etc.

In high-end systems you install a 'fuel polishing' system that circulates/cleans/filters the diesel fuel, much like a swimming pool filtration system. Algae growth is a real problem in diesel storage tanks.

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RE: Generator Maintenace

by fatman65535 In reply to Don't forget to add in Ge ...

Some suggestions from the trenches:

First, you need to understand the sequence of events that are involved with generators and power failures.

1) Utility power lost.
2) A time out period allowed for utility power to restore before starting the generator. (You do not want to start up a generator for a 10 second outage.) If you can NOT tolerate ANY power loss (mission critical systems) then a UPS system will have to provide power during this interval.
3) Generator start up time, and stabilization. UPS needs to supply power during this time also.
4) Automatic (preferable) or manual transfer of load from (dead) utility service to generator. UPS still needs to supply power until generator is actually connected.
5) Monitor utility power for restoration, with a restoration time delay. What this time delay does is prevent restoration of power from generator to utility when the utility is experiencing interruption issues. (Thunderstorms causing instantaneous power failures, and restorations aka `blinking lights`.)
6) Transfer of load from generator to the restored utility, the UPS needs to supply some power during that interval.

Specifically for # 4 and 6. Most transfer switches are designed so that one side BREAKS before the other side makes. This is done so the generator and utility power do not get ACCIDENTALLY CONNECTED TO EACH OTHER (aka BACKFEED). The switch interval can be only a second or two long, but in that interval, no power, the UPS has to power mission critical equipment.

Maintenance Issues

1) Battery status, BOTH UPS and GENERATOR START BATTERIES. UPSes are useless if their batteries are DEAD. Ditto with generators. Check them periodically. UPS batteries need to be able to provide their capacity for the entire expected power loss duration.
2) You must run the generator periodically to insure that it will be ready when you need it. That usually means a minimum of 30 minutes per month, possibly more depending on the generator set manufacturers recommendations. This is no different that the need to start and run a car that is in storage.
3) On a regular basis, perform periodic oil changes. Ideally, the company that installs your generator will perform a maintenance check at least once a year. This is one form of our sourcing I do recommend. (Since I live in hurricane country, we schedule our yearly maintenance in May, before the season starts.)
4) Also, you should schedule as part of the yearly maintenance, a SIMULATED POWER FAILURE to insure that the AUTOMATIC startup and load transfer occurs as you would expect IT TO.
5) Have enough fuel, make sure the fuel tank is full. Nothing is more aggravating than to THINK you have a 2500 gallon tank full of fuel, only to find out it is less than half full. (Remember when gas and diesel got real expensive??? Some people decided to `help themselves`.)
6) Make sure that your UPS has the capacity to run through the steps to transfer power, anticipate failure to make the power transfer, and still have sufficient power to allow you enough time to do an ORDERLY shutdown. Remember, if it CAN fail, then it WILL FAIL. Cover Your A--.

When my employer found out that in my earlier days, I WAS ONCE an electrician, guess WHO got put in charge of making sure the generator worked? I encountered some **** back from the lower ranked bean counters in Finance, but all it took was a 10 minute discussion with the CEO (read as OWNER) of the company, and those bean counters were told to SHUT UP!

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I just use

by Kenone In reply to Server room power backup

an Eaton UPS that gives me a theoretical 11 hours of runtime (13 servers most virtual) and an orderly shut down after the batteries run to 15%. So far the longest outage I've weathered has been about 6 hours, no problems.

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