Lightning and the data center (GNAX goes boom).

Sounds like a bad sitcom, doesn’t it? I don’t think it’s close to what the folks who are affected by the lightning related GNAX data center outage are saying.

This is one area that doesn’t get talked about where the data center DC power plant really shines. When the classic power protection technology of surge suppressors and lightning arrestors aren’t enough, the data center DC power plant helps to isolate the server loads from bad things that happen on the AC main power. Couple that with the ability of the DC power plant battery string to absorb spikes and improve power quality and you have an optimal environment for your equipment that’s difficult to match (compare this to a modern “eco mode” AC UPS that ties your servers directly to the commercial AC power most of the time).

Add in the ability to easily replace DC power plant equipment without interruption power to the server loads and you can sleep easy the next time it rumbles out.

Email or call me or visit the SwiftWater Telecom web site for green and reliable data center DC power engineering, construction, and operation.


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3 responses to “Lightning and the data center (GNAX goes boom).

  1. A few thoughts for you on the article. I do agree with you that DC is a much better way to go – but for the reason that the servers use dc so its easier and more cost effective to deliver dc to the server and only rectify the AC from the street once.

    The server manufacturers have not made this possible though – they keep dc transformer supplies very expensive.

    A UPS takes AC and turns it into DC just like a dc rectifier plant but then goes and turns it back to ac through inverters. This is where the inneficiency comes in – that last step to go back to ac to send it the server that then turns it back to dc once again. The straight dc plant however does not hold an advantage as you say in that it doesnt send straight street ac power to the servers – because the UPS does not either.

    If you could have the server manufacturers install 480 volt dc transformers in the servers you could also cut the wire size way down on the distribution plant and things would run much cooler.

    It makes a lot of sense but no one is doing it unfortunately.

    • That’s absolutely true for an old style double conversion UPS, however, in the chase for efficiency, most UPS manufacturers are building “eco mode” UPS systems that gain their efficiency by bypassing the rectifier, batteries, and inverter altogether and connecting the load directly to the commercial AC power except in the case of AC power failure. So, AC UPS units get you both ways, either suffer with the inefficiency of the double conversion UPS or expose your equipment to commercial power excursions with an eco mode UPS.

      The trouble with running high AC voltages directly to the server is that the required step down transformer at the server would kill you in terms of size, efficiency, and cost. That’s why you typically only 480 3P in things like mainframe installations.

      Thanks for the comment!


  2. I’ll immediately seize your rss feed as I can’t find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you’ve any?
    Please permit me know so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

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