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Backup When the Data Center UPS FAILS

It’s painful when the UPS fails. At the basic level, an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) provides backup power in case of a power outage, and also conditions and regulates power by smoothing out any fluctuations in voltage and frequency in the data center. And UPS failure is a major concern for data centers because it can cause significant downtime and data loss. 

According to a study by the Ponemon Institute, UPS failure accounts for about 5-10% of all data center outages. This makes it essential for data center operators to understand the consequences of UPS failure and implement solutions to prevent or minimize the impact of such failures.

Three Consequences of a UPS Power Failure:

  • Data Loss: One of the most significant consequences of a UPS failure in a data center is data loss. This can happen when a power outage caused by thezonit mdf idf main distribution frame rack power distribution Z PDS UPS failure leads to a loss of power to the servers and storage systems, causing data to be lost or corrupted. According to the Uptime Institute, 43% of the outages that cause downtime and financial loss are classified as significant, and the single biggest cause of power incidents is uninterruptible power supply (UPS) failures. Unfortunately, 94% of the companies that experience a catastrophic data loss don’t survive, with 43% never reopening, and 51% closing within two years. This alone should highlight the importance of having a proper backup system (both data and power backups) in place to protect against data loss in the event of a UPS failure.
  • Downtime: Another major outcome of UPS failure in a data center is downtime, which can have a significant impact on the businesses that rely on the data center’s services. Downtime can occur when a power outage caused by the UPS failure leads to servers and other equipment being shut down, preventing users from accessing the data and services they need. According to one study by Gartner, the average cost of an unplanned data center outage is around $5,600 per minute, highlighting the significant financial impact of downtime. And this is the low end!
  • Equipment Damage: A third outcome of UPS failure in a data center is equipment damage, which can occur when a power outage causes servers, storage systems, and other equipment to shut down suddenly. This can lead to damaged equipment, which can be costly to repair or replace. Research by the Ponemon Institute suggests that the direct and indirect average cost of a data center power outage is around $740,357, with a significant portion of that cost being attributed to equipment damage.

3 Reasons Why a UPS Can Fail:

  • Battery failure: The batteries in a UPS system are responsible for providing backup power in case of a power outage. If the batteries are not properly maintained or are past their useful life, they may fail, causing the UPS system to fail as well.
  • Overheating: UPS systems generate heat during operation, and if the system is not properly cooled, it can overheat and fail. This can be caused by poor ventilation, a malfunctioning cooling system, or a buildup of dust and debris.
  • Power surges: Power surges can cause damage to the electronic components of a UPS system, which can cause the system to fail. This can be caused by a variety of factors, such as lightning strikes, power grid fluctuations, or equipment failure.

The Importance of Redundancy in the Data Center

The UPS also provides battery backup power to keep the data center running for a short period of time, but an Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS) switches to the secondary power source when the UPS batteries die.

That makes the ATS another essential component of a data center’s power infrastructure. It is designed to automatically switch power from a primary source to a secondary source in the event of a failure or outage. This ensures that power is continuously supplied to critical systems, preventing a complete loss of power and minimizing downtime – especially when the UPS fails.

How an ATS protects against data center power outage when a UPS does fail.

  • Power Switching: One of the main functions of an ATS is to switch power from the primary source to the secondary source. In a data center, the primaryzonit mdf idf main distribution frame rack power distribution Z ATS install source is typically the utility power, and the secondary source is a backup generator or alternate power source. When a UPS fails, the ATS will automatically switch to the secondary power source, preventing a complete loss of power to the data center. This means that critical systems can continue to operate, minimizing downtime and preventing data loss.
  • Power Quality: An ATS can also improve power quality by providing a reliable and seamless switch to a secondary power source that is not affected by power quality issues such as voltage fluctuations and harmonic distortion. This can help to protect the data center’s equipment and even prolong the life of the UPS system.
  • Redundancy: An ATS can also provide redundancy for the data center’s power infrastructure. By having a secondary power source in place, the data center can continue to operate even if the primary power source fails. This can prevent a complete loss of power and minimize the impact of a power outage on the data center’s operations.
  • Safety: An ATS can also improve safety in the data center by switching to a secondary power source that is not affected by power surges or other dangerous electrical conditions. This can help to protect the data center’s equipment and personnel from damage or injury.
  • Maintenance: An ATS is also relatively easy to maintain. The device is typically self-monitoring and can provide notifications of any potential issues or failures. This means that maintenance can be scheduled and carried out in a timely manner, preventing any disruption to service.

Both a UPS and an ATS are essential components of a data center’s power infrastructure.  When working together, the ATS and UPS provide a seamless transition of power to the data center in case of an outage, and also provide protection against power disturbances and power quality issues. The ATS is there to ensures that power is continuously supplied to critical systems, preventing a complete loss of power and minimizing downtime.

Just remember, regular maintenance and testing of the UPS system can help prevent or mitigate these failure scenarios. This includes monitoring the battery status, checking the cooling system, testing the system regularly, ensuring that the system is properly designed for the load and the environment, and is protected against power surges.

How Zonit Can Help You Backup Your Data Center When the UPS FAILS!

The Zonit Z-ATS Micro is simply the easiest and most cost-effective way to minimize downtime and provide redundant power at all times. The Micro was designed to automatically switch from the primary power source (A) to the backup source (B) as needed.

Benefits of the Z-ATS Micro:

  • It’s fast…in less than 14ms the load is secure
  • Takes up ZERO-U in the rack
  • No programming, software, or firmware updates
  • Cost-effective 1-to-1 solution
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