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Power Outage Protection with UPS

b2ap3_thumbnail_PowerOut400One shocking IT scenario that we regularly encounter is expensive computer hardware plugged into inexpensive power strips. Power strips are adequate if you need a few extra outlets for your kitchen appliances, but if you want to protect the computer hardware that is mission critical to your business, like servers and NAS devices, then you will need a solution that is more powerful.

Making electricity flow consistently is difficult. Think of the electricity inside an energy orb that you might have touched while at a science museum, the movement of electricity from the center of the orb to your fingertip looks like a wave. Electricity that is delivered through your power lines is channeled much more efficiently than an energy orb, but it can still ebb and flow like a wave.

These power fluctuations can cause damage to electronic devices, especially computers. Normal power fluctuations may not immediately disable your device, but it will wear it down and decrease the device’s lifespan. This is the nature of waves; the fluctuations of electricity will slowly wear down a device in the same way that ocean waves will smooth out a rock at the beach.

The best protection for your IT infrastructure from the waves of electricity, and even straight up power outages, is an Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS). There are many different UPS models on the market. A small UPS will protect a single computer and a monitor. The world’s largest UPS is 46-megawatts and protects the entire city of Fairbanks, Alaska from power outages.

A UPS is different than a backup generator, but it does function similarly by providing power in the event of an outage with a maximum switchover time of 25 milliseconds. When power goes down, the UPS is able to provide energy from its built in battery or flywheel. The amount of time that a UPS can provide power also varies with different models and the size of the battery.

The average UPS can only provide a few minutes’ worth of power; this is enough time to keep equipment running while backup generators are hooked up. In fact, the UPS and backup generator combination is the standard setup for data centers, which are large warehouses full of thousands of servers built to keep data safe. Many data centers are designed so that every server has its own UPS. This extra expense is worth it to be able to make the guarantee that nothing will happen to a customer’s valuable information.

Another electricity risk that your office will face is a straight up power surge from a lightning strike. Lighting can be very damaging. A single lightning bolt contains several hundred million volts of electricity. Anybody who thinks a cheaply made power strip will be able to stand up to the mighty Zeus, god of the sky and ruler of the Olympian gods, is only kidding themselves. In ancient Greek mythology, Zeus is described as eating bowls of power strips for breakfast.

Lightning strikes can cause serious damage to your property, but at least burnt out power lines can be replaced. If your company’s servers are hit by lightning, and all of the data stored on the unfortunate server was not backed up, then your data will be gone forever. Insurance will cover the cost of buying a new server, but no amount of money will be able to buy back the lost data you need to run your business.

Your best protection against a disaster like a lightning strike, or any other disaster like a fire or a flood, is to have your data automatically backed up offsite with PACE Technical Services’s backup and data recovery solution (BDR). A BDR will back up your company’s data to data centers like the ones that we mentioned earlier. These data centers not only use uninterrupted power supplies and backup generators, but they will also redundantly store your data in multiple data centers just in case one data center was to ever go down.

To learn more about BDR and UPS call PACE Technical Services at 905.763.7896. We can find the right sized UPS for your IT infrastructure, and provide you with a BDR solution that will keep your data safe no matter what type of power anomaly strikes your business.

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