When the power goes out:

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24Sep2010

When the power goes out:

  • By Andrew Garrett
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What happens when the power goes out?

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Well, the first sign is normally that the lights go off, but we’re IT folks, so that’s not the main thing we worry about.

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First, do we have a UPS (that’s an Uninterruptible Power Supply) on our servers? Is it working correctly? When did we last test it? Do we know how long we’ve got before it runs out of battery? How long will it take me to shut down the servers that are plugged into it?

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If we have a generator, the UPS only has to last long enough for that to kick in. Assuming it does. When was that last tested? Are you sure it’s going to kick in automatically?

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If you don’t have a generator, I hope you have your stop watch running from the time the power went out, and you know how long it takes to get all the servers shut down. If it takes you 10 minutes to get all the servers shut down, and your UPS gives you 15 minutes of run-time, then 5 minutes after the power goes, you better start shutting everything down.

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If you don’t get there in time, the servers may just power off without you – short of a lightning strike, probably the worst thing that could happen. If you’re lucky, they’ll come back online cleanly, but do you really want to rely on luck?

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So. What do YOU think about when the power goes out? Do you have a plan? Or is it all down to luck?

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