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August 8, 2012 -
I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic is dependable power sources.
Depending on the level of uptime dictated by the information technology manager, reliability of the system might require multiple dependable sources of power that could include dual electrical service fed from independent power substations, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), standby power generators, or all the above.
In order for servers and drives to safely shut down, a system that started with a small independent UPS now needs to be upgraded to a centralized system, due to increasing demands and economy.
Uptime requirements might make it necessary to have a standby generator to pick up the power load from the UPS and operate until commercial power returns. This period of time could be hours, days or weeks, depending on the event.
Incorporating a standby generator requires managers to carefully plan and execute the electrical design, fuel storage, fuel maintenance and delivery system, and generator combustion air ventilation and exhaust. Generators are inherently noisy, so managers must determine and control sound levels in order to mitigate disturbances to the surrounding neighborhood, as well as to comply with applicable local noise ordinances.
It also is helpful to have parallel paths of power to the utilization equipment. This service can become very costly, but it is necessary in order to perform maintenance on equipment, such as generators, UPS, transfer switches, and power-distribution units.