Protect Your Data Center from Mother Nature

As the weather gets nicer and the sun begins to shine a bit brighter, it’s important to think about summer storms and their potential impact on our data centers.

Data centers are the backbone of modern infrastructure, housing critical data supporting businesses, governments, and essential services. Their growing interconnectivity enables seamless information flow, collaboration, redundancy, and digital service delivery worldwide.

Yet, with this interconnectedness comes a need for data centers to increase their defenses against the wrath of Mother Nature. In this blog, we’ll explore strategies for storm-proofing your data systems and protecting valuable data in the face of severe weather events like power outages, brownouts, equipment failures, and data loss.

Tips to Storm-Proof your Data Center:

Prepare for Brownouts
Brownouts during storms refer to a temporary decrease in electrical power supply. Often a reduction in voltage levels causes lights to dim or electronics to operate at a lower capacity than usual. Brownouts typically occur when power lines are damaged or overloaded due to weather-related factors, leading to a strain on the electrical grid. Brownouts can lead to equipment damage, downtime, service interruptions, data loss, or performance degradation. Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS), backup generators, voltage regulation equipment, and redundant infrastructure all play a significant role in protecting your data center from brownouts.

Install Backup Power Systems
Install backup power systems such as generators and uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), to ensure continuous operation during power outages caused by storms.

UPS’s serve as a crucial link between the primary power source and critical infrastructure within data centers. During a sudden power outage, a reliable UPS acts as a shield, ensuring uninterrupted operation of servers, networking equipment, and other essential components. It buys precious time, maintaining the power supply long enough to facilitate safe shutdown procedures or seamlessly transition to backup generators. This prevents potential data loss or service interruptions.

Online UPS, also known as double-conversion UPS, offers the highest level of protection and reliability for mission-critical applications. This type of UPS system is commonly used in data centers and other facilities where uninterrupted power is essential for operations.

What can an Online UPS do for my Data Center?

• Constant Conversion: An online UPS converts incoming AC power to DC, then back to AC power continuously, ensuring the load gets stable, clean power, protecting against surges, spikes, and brownouts.
• Isolation from Power Fluctuations: An online UPS keeps connected equipment safe from power fluctuations by always powering them from the inverter’s output, shielding against issues like surges, spikes, and brownouts from the utility grid.
• Seamless Switchover: During a power outage, an online UPS seamlessly transitions to battery power without disrupting the electricity flow to connected services.
• Voltage Regulation: Online UPS systems have built-in voltage regulation and conditioning to stabilize output voltage and frequency, providing consistent and reliable power to connected equipment despite utility power variations.

Deploy Redundant Power Distribution Unit (PDU) Systems
To enhance reliability, deploy redundant PDU systems for critical infrastructure components like servers, circuit breakers, networking equipment, and cooling systems to minimize the risk of vulnerability due to isolated failures.

By strategically distributing power and integrating redundancy measures, data centers can maintain an uninterrupted power supply to vital equipment, mitigating the risk of downtime.

Flexible and scalable power management is crucial for data centers, especially as the number of mission-critical devices continues to grow.

Regularly Backup your Data
Regularly backup critical data and store copies offsite in geographically distant locations. Utilize cloud storage services or remote data centers for offsite backups to ensure redundancy and disaster recovery capabilities in the event of a storm-related data loss.

Understand the Advantages of DC Power
Direct Current (DC) power offers a distinct advantage in storm-proofing data centers over traditional Alternating Current (AC) systems. Unlike AC power, DC distribution provides higher efficiency, produces less heat, and provides enhanced compatibility with energy storage technologies. This not only optimizes energy storage, but it elevates data centers to new levels of resilience and environmental sustainability.

Design HVAC Systems with Redundancy and Resilience in Mind
Design HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) systems with redundancy and resilience in mind. Install water-resistant HVAC equipment and consider alternative cooling solutions, such as air-to-air heat exchangers or free cooling systems, to maintain optimal temperatures and humidity levels during power outages or HVAC system failures.

Develop an Emergency Preparedness Plan
Develop and regularly update an emergency preparedness plan that outlines procedures for storm response, evacuation, and recovery. Conduct regular drills and training exercises to ensure that staff members are familiar with their roles and responsibilities in the event of a storm or other disaster.

Implement Monitoring and Remote Management
Implement remote monitoring and management systems to continuously monitor the health and performance of critical infrastructure components, even during storm events. Use remote management capabilities to diagnose and address issues remotely, minimizing the need for onsite personnel during emergencies.

Next Steps
Data centers in hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, or tornado-prone areas are at a greater risk of power outages during storms. Fortunately, there are solutions available. Implementing these storm-proofing measures enhances facility resilience and reliability, minimizing the impact of severe weather events and ensuring business continuity during challenging times.

When it comes to storm-proofing your data center, Electroline offers 45 years of expertise in extending, maximizing, and optimizing data centers in the Midwest. As the top provider of mission-critical solutions in the area, Electroline delivers comprehensive support for your facility including AC and DC power, battery service solutions, and IT cooling maintenance. Our service and support options ensure efficiency, offering assessments and maintenance tailored to your needs.