Ah, summertime – sunshine, vacations and occasional devastating power outages! That’s right – blackouts are poised to steal the #1 spot from mosquitoes, on the list of top summer nuisances. And a power outage can do a lot of damage, especially when your business relies on a functional server.
In January, the middle of summer in Australia, a heat wave caused a power outage that shut down the data center for iiNet, the country’s second-largest DSL provider. The Perth-based business was inoperable for six or seven hours, after several air conditioning units failed. This type of service interruption is said to become more common throughout the United States in the near future. Read on to find out why.
In the U.S., between 2003 and 2012, extreme weather (not just heat, but ice storms and other nasty weather) caused 80 percent of all power outages. Power-related outages have also doubled in that time.
Weather alone, of course, doesn’t cause power outages. When large swaths of the country are running air conditioners at full bore, sometimes the aging power-supply infrastructure can’t handle the higher demand. Beginning this summer, new federal guidelines may put additional strain on power plants.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan will take effect this summer. The EPA’s intent is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2020, but some people wonder if the plan will cause inefficient power plants to close, thereby overloading remaining power plants until new ones can be constructed.
You can’t control the weather or predict the reliability of power grids, so it’s time to embrace pessimism as a business strategy – that is, assume that one day, a weather-related power outage is going to take out your server and have you scrambling to recover. Now is the time to begin doing what you can to prevent that from happening.
The problem with servers is that they’re their own worst enemies: They don’t do well in heat, and yet, they generate heat. So keeping them healthy requires some complex environmental controls – systems that draw heat away from servers and pump cool air towards them. And then you need some way to keep this process going when the power goes out.
Good news: Colocation data centers are up for this kind of challenge. They are designed to be ideal environments for servers; as such, they are equipped to handle fluctuations in temperature, relative humidity and dew point. They also have multiple redundancies and power back-ups in place, resulting in 99.9995 percent uptime.
Don’t spend your summer vacation worrying about the safety of your server. Schedule a tour of Lifeline Data Centers today and see why we’re the best defense against weather-related power outages.