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Uninterruptable power suggestions.

Posted on 2016-12-13
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Last Modified: 2016-12-14
I have an office which is prone to power outages lasting 5-8 hours.. What is the state of the art in setting it up so my servers routers etc continue to operate ?
I am looking for solutions which will keep me for 12 hours max without power.
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Question by:Andre P
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by:CompProbSolv
ID: 41924722
For that length of time, you'll likely need good battery-backups for short-term power loss and generators (gasoline, diesel, natural gas, etc.) for the longer outages.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41924730
We have used the above approach in a business (Battery UPS with Generator backup). That worked well.

Otherwise you would need a massive number of batteries to support the length of time you want to cover. Maintenance of such a battery set would be constant requirement.
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by:pony10us
ID: 41924740
I will also agree with good short term UPS (battery) and long term generator.  The UPS would keep the power until the generator managed to supply power, just a few seconds, and then would just clean the power from it.

 We actually had a dual power generator for a long time. Natural gas and propane.  We moved to a Co-Lo so we dropped the propane.
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by:Andre P
ID: 41924752
what is considered short term ?
and what does the generator solution look like ?
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John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 41924756
With a heavy duty battery UPS and highly dependent on load, you might expect about 10 minutes.

An engine generator set is in a (large) metal cabinet that houses a gas, diesel or propane engine and has an alternator driven by the shaft from the motor.

You need a standby switch in the electrical panel to switch the generator into circuit.

You probably should get an electrical contractor to give you a quote. Theses are not off the shelf items.
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by:pony10us
ID: 41924765
"Theses are not off the shelf items" good point John.
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by:Andre P
ID: 41924769
Any idea what the cost of something like this might be ? I have a client that is considering moving to cloud for this reason . Problem is this would break a few of the apps they use . The primary reason is these outages present a serious business continuity threat .
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41924770
Several thousand dollars. Expect between $5 and $10 thousand fully installed and tested.
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by:Andre P
ID: 41924771
And what about battery solutions . Why cant i run off a battery backup for a period of time ? Surely there has to be more options .
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41924772
Probably even more because of the large number of batteries.

I have not seen a 30 minute plus large load battery only solution. They are not all that practical
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by:Andre P
ID: 41924779
So if they have multiple sites we could perhaps locate the servers in two sites and have one backup the other .. This may get around the outage issue ..   They really need to stay functioning through an outage .. Assuming they have laptops etc ..  I don't know why they dont move .
Would you suggest investing that type of money ? What is the difference between a low end generator and a high end one ?
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by:John Hurst
John Hurst earned 250 total points
ID: 41924782
The kinds of solutions you are looking at are custom solutions. I don't think they come at bargain prices. If they did, quality would be an issue.

Server fail over at multiple sites might not be practical if the power is out at one end where the data is.

I would be inclined to put the server content into the Cloud (Azure, Amazon) or even co-location with backup power. This would make more sense than trying to do it yourself. Outsourcing is made for this kind of issue.
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by:Malmensa
Malmensa earned 250 total points
ID: 41924807
If you use an oversize UPS, and just have it powering a router and switch, then have everyone use laptops with extended batteries, you just might manage 12 hours. 12 hours is a long runtime for a laptop, but it is possible to purchase a heap of 2nd batteries to give users 12 hours.

A ballpark consumption for a 24 port managed switch, hardware firewall and modem is maybe 250W. A UPS designed to keep a server up should manage 12 hours, with a  few extra batteries.

ie, One of these: http://www.apc.com/shop/us/en/products/APC-Smart-UPS-XL-1000VA-USB-Serial-120V/P-SUA1000XL?isCurrentSite=true

and 4 of these: http://www.apc.com/shop/us/en/products/APC-Smart-UPS-XL-24V-Battery-Pack/P-SUA24XLBP
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41924811
I can keep my own modem, router and Wi-Fi going for about 5 hours and I could inexpensively and easily double that. but I thought we were talking about servers as well.
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by:serialband
ID: 41925023
The trick with riding out power outages is to power down all non-essential equipment and mainly put critical equipment on UPS.  Don't expect to be fully functional.  Turn off half of your redundant clusters.  Set up a colo.  It will be cheaper.  There may be other issues in your vicinity when the power goes out.  The ISP equipment might be on the same substation, and they may go out before your UPS runs out.  You may be on, but the ISP connection may be offline, preventing internte access.

How many systems do you need to keep running?  For 2 HP DL360, 2 DL380s + clustered network equipment and a small EMC VNXe SAN, it would cost $40,000-$50,000 for a battery bank and  inverter to keep those systems running for 3-4 hours.  Shut down 2 servers and half the network cluster and it will run 6-7 hours.  If you're just powering the network equipment consisting of 2 clustered switches, 2 clustered firewalls, a Cienna fiber bridge and a Cisco 3960 router from the ISP, a cheap $150 APC Back-UPS 1500 with a $150 extra battery pack can keep that up for about 2 hours if half the clustered switches were shut off.

How often do you have these outages?  After about 8 cycles, you'll need to replace the batteries, and that will cost you $10,000 if you just buy the batteries without the racks, cages, and inverter.  If you don't cycle the batteries, you'll still need to replace them in about 5 years.  Each full, deep cycle drain cuts the battery life by 6 months.

Generators may be cheaper, but you have to test run them periodically them and also use up the old diesel or gasoline or add some conditioner to keep it from solidifying into a gel.  Natural gas or propane won't have that problem, but you'll still have to test it and unclog the feed lines and air tubes of blockages from spider webs, if you live in an area with lots of insects.
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by:John Hurst
ID: 41926158
Thanks and good luck with your project
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