Server performance depends a great deal on adequate power supply. Power outages and disruptions will affect performance and even cause damage to the critical hardware like the motherboard, disk drives and other memory devices. While everyone recognizes this requirement and depend on collocation facilities to address this factor adequately, it would be surprising to know that many of these facilities do suffer from inadequacies and can not secure the appropriate power systems running continuously all the time.
Typical redundancies like the UPS, stabilizers, generators of power, circuit breakers and other units that distribute power uniformly always need to be well maintained and must have enough back up support for them to in turn ensure the smooth running of all the servers and data devices in the center.
Some of the problems are as under:
a) No redundancy for the power grids – The multiple power distribution units that are linked to the grids of power and the many uninterruptible power systems must have sufficient redundancy such that any tripping will not cause any unusual spikes in power supply and lead to damage of the systems connected to the supply. However, this is often found lacking in the collocation centers and needs constant upkeep.
b) No redundancy for the UPS – Strangely, some centers compromise on this basic facility. They feel that having provided a redundancy in the form of the UPS, they need not do anything more. However, it is important to provide a redundancy for such systems also, as they can also experience problems. This can happen if during an outage, the UPS fails to provide the back up power immediately. Any delay can affect the network and hence multiple UPS redundancy systems need to be in place to avoid such situations. This redundancy is also useful to prevent overloading of any one UPS and helps prolong its life. You can know the load capacity that it is taking on the display system of the UPS.
c) Failure of the transfer switch to prevent system failures – Since some of the collocation centers use the mechanical form of transfer switches, they sometimes fail to distribute and transfer power at the right time resulting in a power overload leading to the system failure. Circuit breakers are more useful in dealing with such problems and needs to be installed.
d) Not enough generator capacity – The generator that has been installed to function on its own in case of a power failure needs to be powerful enough to do this and must not malfunction. Redundancy in terms of a powerful generator just in case the primary generator malfunctions is a necessity and all the generators must be well serviced at the right time, apart from being stocked with enough fuel.
The above points need to be given careful consideration by the collocation centers to avoid any network failures.