This year’s hurricane season is well underway, and initial signs of weather activity suggest it will be very active. Tropical storm Andres made history as the earliest formed East Pacific tropical storm on record, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s (NOAA’s) Climate Prediction Center is expecting another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season. Early forecasts predict 20 named storms, including nine hurricanes and four “major” hurricanes.
Hurricane paths can be unpredictable, making it imperative for data center managers to be prepared with strong disaster avoidance plans. One of the most effective components of a strong disaster preparedness strategy is having a robust power management system to keep facilities up and running in the event of an unplanned outage to maintain business continuity.
In this article, we’ll review advancements in power management technology that can help data centers effectively manage power to avoid disaster. Then, we’ll look at an operator that successfully leveraged power management infrastructure to do just that.
Key Components of Effective Power Management
Because many multitenant and colocation data centers provide services to a variety of clients who rely on mission critical data — from health care to government facilities — maintaining 100% uptime is essential to driving revenue. When disaster strikes, an integrated power management system provides the best chance at avoiding downtime and protecting critical infrastructure from surges, outages, and other issues. Key components of a stable power management system include the following.
- Uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems — When outages occur due to weather or other unplanned events, UPSs deliver reliable power and serve as a critical bridge to generator power to keep infrastructure up and running. Recent advancements in UPS technology include lithium-ion batteries, which deliver a long life in a small footprint, and integrated network cards that enable enhanced connectivity to software and services.
- Disaster avoidance software — To help maintain control over power infrastructure, disaster avoidance software is essential, especially when on-premises IT support staff is limited. The software applications integrate with power management devices to enable remote monitoring and management of critical infrastructure, allowing IT to mitigate power events before they cause damaging outages. This software solution now offers enhanced visualization and contextualization options to better ensure system uptime and data integrity of IT equipment from anywhere at any time.
- Predictive analytics — Advanced preventive monitoring services for power management devices go hand in hand with power management software to help anticipate failure of critical components before they occur. Using predictive analytics, these services can notify managers when to schedule maintenance, repairs, or updates before system components fail, avoiding emergency service calls and using convenient maintenance windows.
Being prepared for all types of disasters is key to maintaining business continuity. Having a strategic emergency response plan in place that doesn’t overlook power management is critical. A plan that leverages the right backup power technology combined with ongoing routine maintenance allows data centers to be prepared for any disruption that comes their way. One operator that successfully implemented a power management system in preparation for storm season is ColoHouse, a multitenant facility based in Miami.
Disaster Preparedness In Action
Since 2007, ColoHouse has been providing clients with reliable, secure, carrier-neutral data center services designed to foster business continuity. The foundation of the company’s business model is to deliver quality, always-on infrastructure and the most responsive support available. The success of this commitment has been demonstrated repeatedly — when surveyed year after year, ColoHouse customers cite reliability as the primary reason they recommend the firm.
Currently partnering with approximately 500 clients, ColoHouse maintains more than 10,000 servers within its Miami data centers — MI1 and MI2 — the majority of which are essential to customer operations.
“We are running critical infrastructure for our clients, and a loss of power for even one second could be catastrophic,” said Paul Bint, CEO and president of ColoHouse.
Preparing for the Inevitable
Since opening its doors, the organization has relied on a comprehensive power protection solution to ensure continuous uptime and high availability — no small feat considering Miami is constantly pummeled by lightning, hurricanes, and electrical storms.
“We can go day after day with the city of Miami losing power,” Bint said. “The power backup that we provide is absolutely the most critical reason our customers buy from us. We’ve had constant power here for more than 11 years without any problem or interruption.”
That impressive statistic can be attributed not just to the high quality of ColoHouse’s UPSs and related power protection devices but also the ongoing care and maintenance of the equipment.
Fortifying the Defense
Ongoing, optimal performance for the entire slew of power protection equipment is ensured through regular care and maintenance from an expert field services team. Bint credits the service team for ColoHouse’s ability to maintain 100% uptime.
“If there’s even the vague possibility of something being not quite right, we replace it proactively,” he said.
With its entire power protection infrastructure safeguarded by robust service plan, ColoHouse is able to focus on what matters most — its core business — as opposed to worrying about downtime.
Preparing For the future
Whether a facility is based in the storm-ridden sunshine state or not, it is still susceptible to Mother Nature’s wrath. With this especially active storm season, it's more important than ever to have a coordinated disaster avoidance strategy with a robust power protection system as the foundation. With the right system and components in place — and the ability to maintain them — data center managers can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing their critical infrastructure is protected in the coming hurricane season and beyond.