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Power Generator That's Safe for Servers - Options for Extended Power Outages

Posted on 2006-11-17
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Last Modified: 2008-02-26
here's the situation.  i have battery backups on our servers that will last 4 - 8 hours in the event of a power outage.  but i want to plan for an extended power outage that lasts more than a day.

i'm assuming that i'd need some kind of power generator.  i don't want to just run down to home depot and grab a power generator and hope it doesn't mess up my servers.  is there a power generator that's safe for servers?  or some other means to keep servers up more than a day?

thanks
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Question by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
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by:JamesTX10
JamesTX10 earned 50 total points
ID: 17966522
Hi zephyr_hex,
As long as the generator can provide enough power to run all your battery backups you should be ok.

JamesTX10
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Callandor earned 300 total points
ID: 17966660
If your battery backup UPS'es are of good quality (ie, generate waveforms that are not harmful to your servers when on battery and have built-in RF filtering and voltage conditioning), they can smooth out the power from a regular generator.  A dedicated generator that can be used directly by electronic equipment tends to be very expensive and doesn't do anything more than what a regular generator teamed up with a good quality UPS can do.  Ideally, an online UPS http://www.pcguide.com/ref/power/ext/ups/typesOnLine-c.html would make whatever power source you use transparent, as the equipment would always be running off the UPS and the UPS would be charged by the power source.
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by:Dynamic1
Dynamic1 earned 50 total points
ID: 17968931
Adding to callandors answer Leibert makes some real nice equiptment for that purpose also I would go with a good automatic transfer switch. Here is a link to get started http://www.criticalpowerexchange.com/
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by:pjtemplin
pjtemplin earned 100 total points
ID: 17971228
Phooey.  Generators make pure sine wave power, because they're rotating.  It'll be clean power unless you have other loads on the generator that make it dirty.

Several key points to consider:

Sizing - you want to select a generator that's large enough to power all of your equipment, all of your cooling and related systems, AND have enough reserve to recharge your UPSes.  If you need to do some maintenance on the generator during an extended outage, you want the UPSes to have recharged fully so you again have that 4-8 hour window to work on the genset.

Governor - you want to select a generator that is governed by frequency.  I believe it's called isochronous.  Without strict 60Hz AC power, your UPSes will be very unhappy, and may choose to power your equipment off battery instead of the generator, so you've done nothing for your reliability.
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by:zephyr_hex (Megan)
ID: 18032636
thanks for the info.
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