Tips for managing your backup power strategy - Cavern Technologies

Tips for managing your backup power strategy

There are a number of avenues to mitigate the common issues VRLA (valve regulated lead acid) batteries present in data center UPS systems. Today we’ll share how at Cavern Technologies we manage our data center downtime risk and provide tips on how you can optimize your backup power strategy within your own data center environment.
Every facility — either now or 20 years from now — will have an event that causes a data center power interruption. How you plan, maintain and operate in those situations is what separates an organization from having an epic outage to continuing business as usual without impact. As we covered in our last blog, The Uptime Institute identifies UPS battery failure is the number one cause of data center outages nationwide.1 Because of this, at Cavern we decided to take the necessary steps to remove the issue completely. That’s why we’ve never had a client-impacting outage.
In Cavern’s data center, we operate our UPS systems by using mechanically derived energy in place of chemical batteries. By leveraging flywheel-based technology, we eliminate the guesswork of stored energy in our systems and have time-and-time again proven little to zero degradation in power storage capacity post-discharge and recharge. Yes, the flywheel tech we employ is expensive, but we feel the cost of a potential outage is a comparatively much greater cost to our clients.

Facts about Cavern’s flywheel UPS system

  • A vacuum-sealed mass levitates via magnetic bearings and rotates at 35,000 RPM.
  • It takes only 20 minutes to fully recharge following a discharge.
  • The flywheel has a 20-year lifespan.
  • We designed our data center to only need UPS-generated power for 11 seconds before we are on generator.

Tips for managing your UPS backup power

Here are our quick tips if you are managing backup power on-premise in your data center today, but you’re not ready to invest in a mechanical-based technology:
  1. Right-size your UPS systems so that the full environment is supported for the “rated” length of time as suggested by the manufacturer (i.e. DON’T oversize the UPS to extend its runtime for your IT environment). Why? See our battery failure blog.
  2. Have battery maintenance and replacement agreements for your UPS systems.
  3. Develop a preventative maintenance plan or procedure specific to your UPS equipment that extends beyond the standard maintenance from the manufacturer. This should include checking components such as diodes, circuit boards, capacitors, fuses, power supplies, etc.
  4. Most UPS systems today have battery diagnostic tests. Learn how to run and ready them properly.
  5. Invest in generators onsite specifically built for your IT infrastructure.
  6. Manufacturers are pushing “eco mode” on UPS systems to increase efficiency – understand how this functionality works and what additional risks it brings.
  7. When purchasing a UPS, be sure to include an external maintenance bypass – vendors might not recommend the additional cost, but with current regulations, an external bypass is critical when maintenance items arise.
We continue our blog series on the top reasons for data center downtime with our next blog post: Network failure due to DDoS attacks.

If you are currently designing your own UPS solution, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for assistance.

We’re happy to provide considerations to help you achieve your optimal UPS system design.

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  1. Lawrence, Andy. (2020, January). Houston We Have a Problem. Uptime Institute. Retrieved from http://journal.uptimeinstitute.com/outages-drive-authorities-and-businesses-to-act.

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