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Power Protection: Surviving Hurricane Irene


Power Protection: Surviving Hurricane Irene

August 31, 2011

  By Carrie Majewski (née Schmelkin), Director of Content Marketing, Content Boost

While Hurricane Irene wreaked plenty of havoc along the East Coast of the United States – leaving many without power and with little hope that it would return any time soon – major data center providers in the area appear to have fared much better.

Specifically, Digital Realty Trust and QTS (News - Alert) reported that their facilities had to be switched to generator power as a result of utility power outages, but that the rest of their data centers continued operating normally, according to a DatacenterDynamics article.  

With regards to Digital, some of the company's facilities lost primary utility power as a result of the storm so “these facilities successfully transferred to back-up power sources, which operated as designed and supported customer loads until the primary power sources became available again,” Jim Smith, CTO at Digital, said in an email.

Like Digital, the massive QTS facility in Richmond, Va., also lost utility power as a result of the storm.

Brian Johnston, CTO at QTS, said the Richmond data center transferred to generator power without impacting its customers when its utility power feed was interrupted. “Diesel deliveries will continue to fuel the data center's generators until electricity is restored, ensuring our customers' mission-critical data is secure,” Johnston said in an emailed statement.

While some of the largest data center providers weathered the storm, other residents did not have as much good news to celebrate, as more than five million people up and down the East Coast experienced power outages.

This week, TMCnet sat down with power protection provider Minuteman UPS/Para Systems (News - Alert) to find out about how power protection could have helped people and businesses affected by Hurricane Irene. Minuteman offers a variety of power protection products that are sold in more than 100 countries throughout the world.

“When preparing for such a case, it is best to find a solution that both provides an ample amount of backup time and eliminates any single point of failure,” Duston Nixon, marketing communications specialist for Minuteman told TMCnet. “Managers can use extended runtime capable UPSs, such as the Minuteman EnterprisePlus and Endeavor series, in conjunction with an appropriately sized generator to guarantee uninterrupted power throughout the outage.”

When asked by TMCnet how common it is to lose power during natural disasters, Nixon said that power loss is one of the most common consequences of hurricanes.

“The combination of high winds and torrential rains strain the utility power infrastructure, leading to widespread outages in the path of the storm,” Nixon said. “While power companies are working to better predict when these events may occur so crews can be on standby, it is a fact that our power delivery infrastructure is simply quite vulnerable to all severe weather.”

To read the full interview, click here.

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Carrie Schmelkin is a Web Editor for TMCnet. Previously, she worked as Assistant Editor at the New Canaan Advertiser, a 102-year-old weekly newspaper, covering news and enhancing the publication's social media initiatives. Carrie holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a bachelor's degree in English from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Chris DiMarco
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