What Would it Take to Bring Down Your Data Center?

RJ Tee
October 05, 2016

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Earlier this month, the massive Global Switch data 2 center in London experienced an outage when a high-voltage circuit breaker failed in a diesel rotary UPS device.

According to Data Center Dynamics, the circuit breaker was part of Global Switch’s multi-floor H1 system. The system did successfully switch to the facility’s mains (alternating current electrical power) supply. However, the fault caused a 222-millisecond power break in the facility.

Some customers experienced performance issues as a result of the short outage. After a few hours, the majority of issues were resolved.

For cloud hosting provider Claranet, however – the facility’s largest customer – it took two full days to recover fully. This is because Claranet has two feeds connected to the H1 system. And both failed.

“We are configured to keep the power turned off if we see a failure in both of our power feeds,” explained Claranet technical director Martin Saunders. ”If both fail, you have to expect the worst.”

Fortunately, there was no lasting damage from the outage.

“Incidents of this nature are extremely rare,” stated Global Switch London managing director John Stevenson following the incident. “The Global Switch infrastructure protected supplies, but one of the four power stations experienced a 222-millisecond switching event. Throughout the weekend we sought to keep our customers fully informed at all times.”

This is a good lesson for data center operators, though: It’s the “extremely rare” incidents that can sneak up on you and create problems. Remember Murphy’s law – whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.

So, how secure is your data center? What would it take to cause an interruption in your power supply? And further, how quickly would you be able to recover if one were to occur?

Unfortunately, we here at Server Technology can’t prevent unexpected incidents from occurring. But we can keep your equipment safe when they arise.

For example, we offer the rack-mount Fail-Safe Transfer Switch (FSTS), which features two input power feeds from separate AC circuits. It can supply a single-power supply device with dual, redundant power sources.

Should a primary power source suddenly stop working, the FSTS switch will provide seamless connectivity to the secondary power source. There will be no interruption, meaning your business operations will be able to continue working as normal.

The great part about the FSTS is that you can easily toggle between the primary and secondary power sources. What’s more, it’s also possible to toggle between a high voltage (208 to 230V) or a low (110 to 120V) operating range on the AC power source.

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