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Tornadoes Rage Through Texas, Power Protection Measures Tested


Tornadoes Rage Through Texas, Power Protection Measures Tested

April 10, 2012

  By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

An upsurge in catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and tornadoes, has caused data center administrators to consider investing in power protection to keep their data safe and accessible. Likewise, these individuals are challenged to reduce their data center power consumption to control costs as data demands continue to soar.

According to a recent DatacenterDynamics report, companies in Texas were recently given another reminder on how important power protection is when multiple tornadoes touched down in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Luckily, no fatalities were reported during the violent storms, but structure damage and power outages were widespread.

Flights to and from the area were cancelled as around 600 homes were damaged by as many as 12 different tornadoes that ripped through the area. Damage estimates were at around $300 million and climbing. A number of forecasters were not predicting these tornadoes, nor were the data centers in the area, most of which had backup power protection procedures in place.

Companies located in the area utilizing cloud-based data centers were breathing a sigh of relief as more and more areas of the city were experiencing power outages. Nirvanix (News - Alert), a Dallas cloud-based storage service, offered customers the option of moving their data to locations in Europe, Asia and the West Coast as the storms ripped through the area.

Nirvanix has backup generators, but the site never lost power and they weren’t needed. However, power protection assurances inherent in cloud-based centers were realized that day as the unpredictable storms raged.

Area companies, ViaWest, Digital Relay Trust, Telx, and CyrusOne (News - Alert) all reported to have been in the clear and running smoothly during and after the storm. Power protection is an important step in planning a data center, especially in Dallas-Fort Worth, which is a data center hub with at least 40 facilities hosting data center services.

A representative from SoftLayer (News - Alert), one of the largest hosting providers in the world, said that although the weather has made a mess of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, its business as usual for their data center services.

Power protection in data centers helps to maintain an uninterrupted flow of juice, but power protection also helps to quickly solve power system faults as they occur. Most power failures are attributed to ground faults.

Many times, power protection measures are taken to keep lightning from draining a data center’s batteries. It is well known that it’s not the one large strike that can take down operations; it’s the repeated smaller strikes that take a toll on batteries. Power protection measures include ensuring that redundant power is available and critical power protection supervisor systems (CPPS) are installed. CPPS makes sure that backup power coming from a generator is turned on when it at the most critical time.

Edited by Carrie Schmelkin
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