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How to Ensure Continued Access to Power When the Lights Go Out

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How to Ensure Continued Access to Power When the Lights Go Out

September 23, 2016
By Susan J. Campbell
TMCnet Contributing Editor

On the craziest of days, it’s always great when I can put something in the Crockpot in the morning. When everyone gets home at the end of the day, dinner is ready and we can quickly get to our other commitments. The only time this plan isn’t a great one is when there’s an unexpected power outage. The Crockpot goes off and we get home to a raw meal.

There is no backup plan for the Crockpot if the power goes out. It’s not a life and death situation, but it’s still annoying when it happens. We feel the impact. In the business environment, the same is true, only on a much larger scale. Even when cloud IT has become the focus, a power outage can still have far-reaching effects that are difficult to overcome.

A recent Apropos white paper explored this challenge, stressing that one of the best ways to recover from a power outage is to minimize the damage. The best method for doing so is to be prepared to switch to an internal power source, eliminating a reliance on the power grid at least in the short term.

While it is possible to continue access to cloud IT through a second power line, this strategy is not fool-proof. The concept is simple – the utility runs a second line to the business and puts it as far away from the main line as possible. The idea is that if one line is damaged, the other line will pull power. If the outage affects the geographic area, however, this strategy doesn’t do you any good.

Instead, your cloud IT needs access to uninterruptible power supplies (UPSs). By using stored energy to nearly instantaneously cover the gap between the outage and directing to another power source, UPSs help you maintain operations until you make a switch or shut down your equipment as a protective measure. If a generator is your backup option, for instance, the UPS will come online much faster than the generator so you don’t lose data or time.

Even with this kind of system in place, it’s still important to minimize any damage to your system as a result of a power outage. Smart-meter technology is a fast-growing area as the technology can help reduce the frequency of power outages and the time it takes for recovery. Smart meters are often used in cooperation with local utilities and are part of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) systems. Investments in solar technology are also proving to be viable, providing companies with another alternative when the power goes out.

The point is that any cloud IT user has to be cognizant of the impact a power outage can have on the organization and its access to information. With a solid plan in place, you can minimize the impact and help keep the business squarely inline and fully powered, regardless of what’s happening at the utility level.   

Edited by Alicia Young

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