Power Outages

July 26, 2011

We have all experienced power outages whether for 5 seconds or 5 hours. There is never a good time for a power outage, and they can often cause disastrous results to computers and other electronics. In the unusually hot and humid weather we have been having in Minnesota, we have noticed a lot of power outages recently and have been getting a lot of calls as a result. Everybody is running their air conditioners on full blast, and the drain on the power grid is a lot higher than normal. This is causing temporary power outages and leading to a lot of frustration. Here are some tips and information on what you can do to stay safe.

One of the first things you can do is make sure your computer is hooked into surge protector. Plugging directly into a wall or a power strip is not ideal. There is a big difference between a power strip and a surge protector. See this article for more information. A surge protector will help protect against voltage spikes and can help keep your computer safe if that were to occur.

Emerson Technologies feels strongly that every server or computer functioning as a server should be hooked up to a UPS, which stands for uninterruptible power supply. Essentially, this is a backup battery which means that when the power goes out, your server is able to stay on and run off of battery power. Depending on the size of the UPS unit and how many devices are hooked in, they can keep your server up and running for roughly 5 to 45 minutes, but again it depends heavily on the load that is drawn from the battery. If the server is up and running but all of your computers are down in a power outage it’s not going to really help you be productive or get work done, but it is extremely important to the integrity of the server that it doesn’t get suddenly shut off.

Any computer that is in the middle of a “write” operation on the hard drive (saving a file, downloading anything, copying anything) when there is a power outage has a chance of data corruption or hard drive failure. This is because hard drives (with the exception of SSDs) have moving parts in them. When a sudden loss of power occurs, there is no way for the moving parts to stop moving in the way that they should. That is why having a UPS is so critical for servers. Additionally, UPS units have the ability to safely shut down your server so that if there is an extended power outage and the battery is going to run out, it will first shut down your server the way it is designed to shut down. This is a very important feature and can save your server from damage.

If you have any questions about a surge protector or are interested in getting a UPS, please contact us. There are many different models and manufacturers for UPS units, and we want to be sure to provide one that can handle the power load at your location.

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