Powering the Data Center Through Hurricanes and Tornadoes

May 27, 2015 Himanshu Patel
Himanshu PatelHimanshu Patel 

Every June, Americans who live and work along the East Coast start preparing for hurricane season. And while 2015 is predicted to be one of the quietest storm seasons on record — thanks to El Nino in the central Pacific — it only takes one major storm to cause widespread destruction.

North Carolina State University (NCSU) forecasts between four to six named storms this season, with only one to three developing into hurricanes. Meanwhile, Colorado State University (CSU) expects around seven named storms and three hurricanes. (A typical season sees 12 named storms, with six of those developing into hurricanes.)

But even a brief power outage can wreak havoc on your data center, costing the business thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars. And a hurricane or tornado can mean long-term power outages — or worse.

Since applications, servers and networks are essential to running a business, it’s crucial (and in some cases mandatory) to have a disaster recovery plan in place to ensure business continuity in the face of Mother Nature’s wrath.

That disaster recovery plan should be designed for a range of possible storm scenarios and include backup and remote maintenance capabilities.

Visualizing Hurricane Damage

A reliable Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system was a lifesaver for Montgomery County Hospital District (MCHD) in hurricane-prone Texas. The local government agency provides public health and emergency medical services to the region. Because of the location of its new data center — just north of Houston — it was greatly affected by Hurricane Ike.

For MCHD, a power outage means ambulances could be delayed on their way to 911 calls — so downtime just isn’t an option. It’s not about dollars and cents; it’s about saving lives.

But smart design helped MCHD prepare for just such a storm. Rather than multiple in-rack UPS devices, it deployed Smart-UPS and the 100 kVA Galaxy 5000, with two 750 kVA natural gas generators to power the entire facility. MCHD saved valuable time by allowing IT staff to hard-boot servers remotely, versus paying someone to go on-site (which might not be possible during a hurricane).

Want to learn more?  Check out these two on demand webinars:

Power Season Webinar: Part 1 – Now available on demand

What storm? Maintain “business as usual” even during extreme weather

Thanks to advancements in meteorological forecasting most damaging storms don’t come without warning. Such insight should inspire a proactive approach to protecting your business from weather-related disruption and the costly downtime that inevitably results.

Specifically, network protection should be at the top of everyone’s preparation checklist. If you’re a small or medium business, your uptime, sales, and, perhaps most important, reputation can depend on your ability to ride through a storm.

Even only a few missed sales or unavailable customer service can spoil the five-star social media rating you’ve worked so hard to achieve.  Without a doubt, properly protecting all customer-facing mechanisms — including point-of-sale apparatus – is paramount.

Learn how to storm-proof your network based on your specific business needs. Register for the on demand Webinar here.


Power Season Webinar: Part 2 - Now available on demand

While you can’t control the weather, you can control your uptime!

Just as relevant as customer interfaces are your behind-the-scenes needs: safeguarding equipment and data. From the router that connects you to your CRM database or your local e-mail server, your business applications deserve your proactive attention throughout the year. 

1. How do you ensure that your network stays up and running during power disturbances? 
2. How do you protect your converged voice-data network?  
3. Have you virtualized your servers? 
4. Now, the million-dollar question: when was the last time you replaced the batteries in your UPS? 

It goes without saying that every season potentially is power season. Learn how to Storm-proof your network based on your specific business needs - register for the on demand webinar here.

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