Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Power to the People

Have you got power? Do you know where your power comes from? How long can you survive without power? Many companies in Kent are asking these questions as they face a third day without electricity. Up to 100,000 homes and businesses have been left without power after a suspected vandal attack on an electricity substation in Dartford. Many businesses have had to close as they cannot function without power and only facilities with backup power generation have been able to continue their operations as usual.

For those who need to keep their businesses going, there has been a huge demand for generators and fuel. EDF who own the substation have been trying to restore power and have been providing backup power in 3 hour long, rotated sessions where possible. A number of Data Centres in the area who do not have generators on site have been paying higher than usual prices to source power at short notice. They are starting to realise how fragile the national grid is in the UK and how there is an increasing need for standby generators with present and expected, future power problems.

So do you know where your Data Centre gets its power? Do you have diverse feeds to maintain resilience? In a worst case scenario, how long could your facility survive without mains power and without generator fuel? For the majority of Data Centres with standby generators, no more than 24 hours worth of fuel is kept on site. According to the Uptime Institutes tiering standards, a tier 4 facility is only required to have 4 days of fuel while a Tier 3 only 3. What happens if fuel trucks cannot get to your facility to refill the tanks? Some Data Centres claim to hold enough fuel for 90 days of normal operation. This may seem very expensive and sound like overkill, but talks of London running out of power in the near future and past fuel price strikes are leading business continuity experts to recommend larger fuel tanks to minimise potential impact on critical business systems. How vital are your systems and how long could your facility survive?

Migration Solutions are a specialist Data Centre consultancy focusing on design, build, operation and migration of facilities throughout the UK and Europe. Contact us now for advice on how to make your Data Centre or Computer Room more resilient for the future at

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