Rolling Power Cuts
While the energy crisis shows no signs of improving there is a distinct possibility that rolling power cuts will take place in the UK.
What is the purpose of rolling blackouts?
When there is insufficient electricity to supply all homes and business in the UK simultaneously, the Electricity System Operator (ESO), could instigate emergency power cuts to reduce the overall demand of electricity.
It is important to understand that any emergency power cuts only happen to protect the electricity network from more damage.
If left unprotected this could be much more disruptive and cause problems for a much longer period of time.
While there are no guarantees, it would be unusual to have unannounced power cuts today. However, you can use this link to Check for power cuts in your area.
All IT systems need a consistent supply of power.
Businesses will or at least should have a UPS (Uninterruptible power source) already be in place for critical parts of their IT infrastructure to protect them from power cuts.
However, it is important to remember that they are going to be limited to between 30 and 60 minutes in terms of providing a sufficient power source.
When selecting a UPS think about the advanced features, which should include an auto shutdown of the equipment it is supporting should all power be lost.
To help you understand and identify the UPS capacity you need, add together the wattage of every device you are going to connect to the UPS to.
This number is your load, which you then multiply by 1.25 to give you the capacity you require.
If all power is suddenly lost equipment will go into a dirty shutdown. This is when the correct shutdown procedures are not engaged, which can lead to lost data and other problems.
But what else can be done to protect valuable IT assests?
Here are a few tips on what you can do:
Rolling Power Cuts – Test Battery Life
It is important to ensure that batteries hold their charge by testing them and that they cover your requirements.
You should definitely test them at regular intervals so introduce a schedule if you do not have one implemented already.
It is also critical to confirm that remote shutdown features are arranged correctly.
As you would expect the peformance of batteries deteriorate over time so if your UPS is 3 years old or more it might be time to consider an upgrade.
Rolling Power Cuts – Consider Upgrades
Even short rolling blackouts today could be for 3 hours or more so you must know if your UPS will protect you when you need it.
Majority of UPS devices will be unable to supply a large number of assets for 3 hours. Therefore any solution must be able to implement a clean shutdown but also rebooting when power is restored.
Consider obtaining a new UPS now rather than leaving it to chance.
Investing in this equipment now could save you a lot more should the worst happen and all power is lost.
It is important to give yourself sufficient time to carry out the implementation and to ensure that it is set up correctly.
Use the time to maximise value for money. Know the wholesale cost and the supplier margin you are paying. Tech Buyers Club covers Power Protection items under Computer Systems.
Planning upgrades properly can generate discounts from the supply chain. Where possible, look to cover all requirements at the same time rather than making multiple purchases.
This will make your business more attractive and help you to obtain additional discounts.
Rolling Power Cuts – A Back Up Plan
Loss of power can happen at any time and for many reasons so a back up solution must be in place.
Utility workers, construction companies often inflict damage on the infrastructure, which can result in power cuts that have nothing to do with the energy crisis or the national grid.
Depending on location, severe weather can also lead to disruptions in power supply.
Plan updates, data backups etc., when you know the power supply is guaranteed.
Equipment such as servers, switches and routers should all be arranged correctly and all data should be securely backed up, ideally both on-site and at a separate location.
Office 365 provides an excellent way for even the smallest of businesses to have the security of knowing that the same information is across all the computers they use.
It also provides the assurance that the data is available to download should the worst happen.
Standby generators could also be an option for some businesses.
These are a backup electrical system that runs automatically with the ability to restore electricity within seconds of a power loss from a rolling power cut or any other cause.
Once the noraml power supply has been restored, the electrical load is transferred back to the utility by an automatic transfer switch.
This signals the standby generator to shut off until the next time there’s a power shortage.
There is a choice to choose between traditional standby generators or portable generators, which can be lower in cost.
Rolling Power Cuts – Head To The Cloud
While Cloud solutions are not the answer for every organisation, on-site equipment can be seen as a comfort blanket.
These do carry risks so it might be time to consider a new approach.
It should be understood that there are other factors that lead to businesses considering a move to the cloud.
A stretched IT team tasked with tkeeping computer systems and software operational is going to struggle to help staff with problems and handle routine maintenance.
Moving to the cloud could provide the additional capacity that they need.
Cloud solutions have developed significantly recently and are now seen as one of the safest forms of storing data.
This could be the perfect time to move to the Cloud or even a hybrid solution.
Protecting against potential power outages is not the only reason.
We have explored a few other reasons in another one of our articles HERE