Common Issues with Data Center Hurricane Readiness

Common Issues with Data Center Hurricane Readiness

With Florida facing its first severe storm in over a decade, over 2 million residents have not experienced a hurricane or the resulting effects these storms bring. While customers, manufacturers and contractors all learned from the series of storms throughout the 2004 & 2005 seasons, many in the IT world still don't understand potential issues that may arise.  

While the Computer Room A/C outdoor condensers are securable and designed to stand up to the extreme weather, they are not designed to operate in winds speeds found in storms as weak as a category one. Without adequate walls or wind breaks, the fan motors of data center cooling units often cannot maintain minimum airflow over the coils even in 75 mph winds. Even backup power generators with huge diesels engines can have the same problem when the radiator exhaust is directly facing storm winds. Some of these issues require design changes and structural engineering, however many of the failures seen as a result of these storms are simple fixes such as being sure all the panels are tightly secured on rooftop units with all the required fasteners in place so panels don't become dislodged. Other common failures are from loose items ( like panels) that get blown into coils and air intakes that cause failures during storms.


Server Room During Hurricane Sandy



Extended outages will require your emergency generator to operate while the utility companies are working to repair and restore power.  Tracking fuel usage to meet your data center power requirements over time is important to determine how much available run time exists versus your on-site fuel storage.  But many times, the fuel is available and the generator emergency power system still fails because of dirty fuel.  Fuel contaminants such as water, particulate, rust and fungus are all present in fuel storage vessels.  A constant vigil of fuel conditioning has to be scheduled.  Fuel polishing can provide the required cleansing of the stored fuel.  These systems can be permanently installed or can be performed periodically by mobile fuel polishing service companies.  

If the most recent events regarding fires and outages have shown, ensuring a smooth transition from utility to generator if needed is not guaranteed. Even large companies are not immune from outages. Delta's loss of power due to a failed Automatic Transfer Switch resulting in a fire within the facility cost them $100 million in losses. What would a outage cost your facility?

For a free analysis of your sites hurricane readiness contact Keystone and schedule a specialist survey with report today.