Building out an enterprise IT infrastructure can be challenging. One of the most underestimated components of designing one is ensuring that you have enough power protection for your end users. More importantly, how do you ensure that you have a consistent power source for your server closet?
Let’s say that you’re a Small-to-Medium Business (or SMB) that has under 200 employees. To provide services to employees, you must have some sort of server infrastructure in place. If your data center is located within your place of business or corporate headquarters, what will you do to continue operations in case of a power outage?
Any extended loss of power could become a disaster for your business. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 40% of businesses that go through a disaster (such as a natural disaster, building destruction, or extended power outage) never reopen. That same study went on to say that nearly 1 in 4 businesses impacted by a disaster will fail within 12 months afterward.
If you suddenly lose power for any extended timeline, there is a chance you’ll also lose the important data you need to function. Unexpected shutdowns and power outages have been known to cause data on disks to become corrupted, giving you plenty to be worried about when planning for emergencies.
What strategies can an SMB implement to mitigate against a sudden loss of power?
Businesses that are building an enterprise class data center typically use Uninterruptible Power Supplies. Known simply as UPS, these devices house large batteries that will continue to keep servers powered in the event of an outage. The most popular lineup of UPS’s are made by APC. When you purchase an APC UPS for your business you’ll likely also receive a program called PowerChute. With a network interface card, you can plug your UPS into the network and use PowerChute to monitor your server’s power source.
You can also set up your UPS to send out emails whenever an irregularity occurs within your power source. Whether it’s a surge, low voltage, or another random power issue, hooking your infrastructure up with a UPS will ensure that your equipment receives consistent power during an outage — giving you time to execute emergency procedures without risking data loss.
When you buy an APC, system administrators usually set up the PowerChute program to monitor power activity. The PowerChute program that works alongside your APC UPS gives you the ability to shut down servers, hypervisors, and other server room hardware based on the amount of battery life remaining.
If it’s 3 am and your servers suddenly lose power, the PowerChute app can safely power them down before the backup battery runs out. This preserves the integrity of your data, while ensuring that your hardware is able to power back up consistently.
If you go with a vendor other than APC, be sure to check and see if that vendor can provide your organization with some sort of network shutdown orchestration capabilities.
While most system administrators will use Uninterruptible Power Supplies in their server closets, they may not always use them at their end user’s desks. Businesses can buy a personal UPS that will fit under an end users desk and power their computer for up to an hour in the event that your building loses power.
These backup power units can cost between $50 and $100, making them a potentially serious investment depending on the size of your business. Having one of these for each end user, however, could save you thousands in lost profits in the case of all your computers going down at once.
You must weigh the costs associated with utilizing UPS for end users. If your end users primarily use laptops, they would simply switch over the battery power should the lights go out in your office. Having UPSs for these users would be impractical and not worth the investment. If, on the other hand, your business is a data or call center and you need to ensure that your representatives are available no matter what, it’s worthwhile to invest the money into making sure their hardware is able to operate through brief power outages that could occur during operating hours.
Unsure of an APC UPS is the right choice for you? We’d be happy to help you learn more about the technology and how it could save your bottom line if disaster strikes. Disaster recovery and data backup for everything from enterprise-level to SMBs are just two of our specialties. At BACS, we provide knowledgeable and experienced Managed IT support from technicians who are trained to work with your requirements and grow your business with you. Contact us by phone at (650) 887-4601 or online to schedule your IT assessment or learn more now.