[nSLUG] Power Loss and UPSs

Michael Wheadon mikeat10500 at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 5 17:53:58 AST 2007

 We had wind,rain and even thunder but the power did
not flicker on my street in the north end of
 Nothing critical on my desktops but one has uptime of
343 days (no UPS), so I let it run. 
--- Jim Haliburton <jim at on-site.ns.ca> wrote:

> Hello all:
> Well it is mostly over as I write this on Sunday
> evening.  This afternoon 
> was delightful in Metro as those around here could
> see.  In my office the 
> power came on between 1:00pm and 2.  Am not sure as
> I was out.
> I am impressed that someone on the list has UPSs
> that will hold 50+ 
> servers up for 2 hours.  That is a lot of battery
> power.
> I am not so lucky.  On Friday I picked up 3 gallons
> of fresh high test 
> gas for my backup generator.	Sometime after 5:00
> this AM I realized the 
> clock was not visible and as I bcame fully concious
> could hear the 
> symphony of beeping coming from the server room
> which is almost under my 
> bedroom.
> Scrambled madly to find the flashlight.  Threw on
> some footwear and went 
> and checked the status of all servers.  All were
> still up and running and 
> could see the world.  Quickly fueled the generator
> and ran the power line 
> to the server room.  Once the generator was started
> connected up, the 
> wailing of the alarms stopped.
> At this point I found the Novell server's UPS had
> run down as had my 
> desktop system.  I just powered the UPSs off and
> left them.
> Some post mortem points and items about the other
> responses.
> 1)  I should have fueled and test run the generator
> on Friday.
> 2) I should have run the extension cord to the
> server room Friday as 
> well.
> 3)  Should have made sure I knew where the
> flashlights were last night.
> 4)  Really must track down the UPS control software
> for my all my 
> servers.
> You can apply these observations to your business
> case.
> Test the UPSs before they are needed.  I know the
> Novell version of the 
> software I had before would allow you to under
> software control switch 
> over to battery power and monitor the life left as
> the voltage dropped.  
> The app ran as an NLM on the server and a Windows
> app on a workstation 
> talked to the NLM.
> Plan ahead and decide which servers are needed to
> stay up and which can 
> be powered down to extend the run-time of the UPSs. 
> I should have done 
> this Saturday evening.
> Can virtualization allow you to reduce the server
> count in times of power 
> instability?
> Can you move to a hot site easily if the power
> outage is accompanaied by 
> infrastructure damage that will last longer term. 
> For example if the 
> roof is blown off over your server room, where do
> you move to?
> From this I will refresh my planning.  Even as a
> small web hoster I have 
> obligations to clients to keep running.  After Juan,
> my little generator 
> ran 110+ hours without a break.  Once my ISP
> connection was re-
> established we served our clients without shutdown. 
> And without power 
> from NPSI.
> It would be intersting to hear from others about
> their post mortem of the 
> power outage.
> Now most of my UPSs are back to 90+% fully charged. 
> Over the next few 
> weeks I will test the run-time of each and start to
> replace ones whose 
> run-time is less than what it should be.  With the
> low price of 
> relatively good capacity, I have found it seldom
> useful to replace 
> batteries.  The older UPSs are likely linear power
> supplies with large 
> transformers etc.  New ones are far more efficient
> and give longer run 
> times with the same amp hour capacity batteries.
> One person mentioned putting car or truck batteries
> in their UPSs to 
> extend their run time.  That may not be a good
> solution.  The batteries 
> in most UPSs are designed with slightly different
> chemistry and a 
> different charging plan than the batteries used in
> automotive use.  I 
> have found when trying this, that the automotive
> batteries die in a short 
> time from the charging that UPSs do.  In most cases
> less than a year of 
> life.  It has all to do with the charging.  I was
> told that the UPS 
> battery uses a "float" charge.  I do not know what
> the difference is 
> between that and what a standard charger for
> automotive batteries does.
> I look forward to hearing the experinces of others
> over this week-end.
> Regards
> Jim H
> James A. Haliburton
> On-Site Computer Services of Halifax
> Suite 100, 25 Walton Drive
> Halifax, Nova Scotia
> Canada     B3N 1X6
> Office/ Cell           : (902)499-5250
> Home/After Hours : (902)477-8342
> e-mail      : jim at on-site.ns.ca
> Please avoid sending me MS Office attachments.   For
> an explanation see 
> this:
> http://www.nothingisreal.com/dfki/no-word
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Mike Wheadon B-3715,HEMP#1
Higher Expectations for Modern Parachutists.

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