Why is power protection important?
No company can afford to leave its IT assets unprotected from power issues. Here are just a few of the reasons why:
- Even short outages can be trouble. Losing power for as little as a quarter second can trigger events that may keep IT equipment unavailable for anywhere from 15 minutes to many hours. And downtime is costly. Some experts believe the South African economy loses between R200 billion and R500 billion a year due to power outages and other disturbances. In fact, the rest of Africa as a continent is not immune to similar challenges.
- Utility power isn’t clean. In practice, electrical power can vary widely enough to cause significant problems for IT equipment. According to current South African standards, the utility voltages can vary from 230 volts to 140 volts or from 230 volts to 280 volts.
- Utility power isn’t 100 percent reliable.
- The problems and risks are intensifying. Today’s storage systems, servers and network devices use components so miniaturized that they falter and fail under power conditions earlier-generation equipment easily withstood.
- Generators and surge suppressors aren’t enough. Generators take time to start up, therefore there is a loss of AC power until the generator comes on-line, (typically 10 seconds), and they provide no protection from power spikes and other electrical disturbances. Generators however, are used to provide AC power during long utility power outages. Surge suppressors help with power spikes but not with issues like power loss, under-voltage and brownout conditions.
- Availability is everything these days. Once, IT played a supporting role in the enterprise, but now it’s absolutely central to how most companies compete and win. When IT systems are down, core business processes quickly come to a standstill.
- Availability is everything, but power costs must be managed. The cost of power and cooling has spiralled out of control in recent years. Data centre managers are typically held responsible for achieving high availability while simultaneously reducing power costs. Highly-efficient UPS systems can help with this goal, and products are available today that were not an option even a few years ago.