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power blackout in data centre

You Need A UPS For More Than Just Power Blackouts

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UPS’ provide essential battery backup in case of a failure in the power mains. In addition, they protect the critical load from disturbances in the main power supply during standard operation. There are several different power aberrations that can crop up and UPS’ offer excellent protection from these. UPS systems are essential to large-scale data centres as immediate backup power providers if the mains supply fails. However, their protection extends much beyond this primary role.

The Impact Of Disturbances In Power From The Mains

Anything ranging from heavy industrial equipment to electrical storms can cause disturbances. These can distort the AC waveform as well as impact incoming utility power. Without a UPS system to prevent them from reaching the sensitive ICT equipment at a data centre, these effects can:

  • Cause data corruption
  • Data loss
  • Permanently damage hardware
  • Result in downtime at the facility

This disruption in a business can harm the organization’s reputation. Here we look at various mains-based disruptions that large-scale data centres might experience, and how a UPS system and the associated equipment can prevent these disruptions from causing harm.

Types Of Disturbances

#1 Spikes

These rapid voltage transitions are of a short duration. They affect the AC mains waveform and can destroy electronic & electrical equipment. There are several different causes of mains-born disturbances such as:

  • Thermostats
  • Load switching by utility companies
  • Equipment switching
  • Higher electrical currents
  • Locally grounded lightning strikes

#2 Surges

These are essentially sustained voltage increases over the normal value that last for more than a standard mains cycle. Surges typically surface after a large load has been switched off, or when there is load switching at substations. Since they last for a relatively longer duration, they can lead to premature failure of the power supply components or can degrade these systems as well.

#3 Electrical Noise

This could be a common problem caused by disturbances between the earth and supply lines. In some cases, normal-mode due to line-to-neutral/ line-to-line disturbances might result in electrical noise. These are typically caused by:

  • Cable faults
  • Load switching
  • Nearby radio frequency equipment
  • Lightning strikes

If high-frequency noise energy enters the earth line, it can cause computers to ‘hang’ and can corrupt data too. This is because the noise energy impacts sensitive electronic circuits which use the supply earth as the reference.

#4 Harmonics

Non-linear loads create harmonics; these types of loads draw current in large peaks from the mains supply. The loads containing rotating machines controlled rectifiers or switched mode power supplies are particularly likely to cause interference like this.

Some common sources include variable-speed motors, large computers and other computing and electrical devices. Harmonics can also cause a sudden rise in temperatures and current flow. These can result in equipment overheating, component failure, and other similar problems.

#5 Sags

These are drops in power supply drops and are generally caused by several cycles. They are very similar to a negative electrical spike but of a significantly longer duration. Typically the result of starting of large rotating machinery or large-load switching, deep sags can cause computing systems to reboot. If a facility has a larger number of PCs and large data centres, there can be a progressive build-up of sags.

#6 Brownouts

These are long-duration sags that also have more serious consequences. Brownouts arise when the property’s utility mains supply is unable to cope with the existing load demand at the facility. That is when the generating company reduces the voltage on the network. In extreme circumstances, brownouts can easily last for several hours.

#7 Blackouts

A brownout is a power loss where there is a total failure of the mains supply. This is one of the most obvious reasons for investing in a custom Uninterrupted Power Supply system. Without this protection, a blackout can have devastating effects. The causes include accidents, thunderstorms, supply line faults, and several other conditions.

UPS Systems Provide Protection From Disturbances

Data centre owners looking for effective protection for their facility from the abovementioned disturbances can benefit from getting either an on-line UPS installed rather than an off-line one. It’s important to consult a well-established company for all your UPS requirements.

If you want to know anything more about any of our products and services, don’t hesitate to contact us at KaRaTec Power Supply Pty. You can give us a call at 612 9808 1127. You can also fill in this contact us form and we will respond within the shortest possible time to help you with the guidance and information you need.

Thanks for reading,
Karatec Power Supply Pty
612 9808 1127

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