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Five ways to protect your IT against outages

Eaton Corp outlines best practice tips for utility giants

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ANALYSIS

With Ramadan almost upon us, and the heat of the summer still at its baking height, utilities across the GCC are gearing up to add capacity in any way they can to prevent the outages that blight the industry at this time of year.

Eaton Corporation has come up with five best practice tips to protect IT infrastructure and critical business systems during this difficult time.

Although Eaton’s suggestions are timed to coincide with North America’s hurricane season, they are just as relevant to periods of high capacity and potential blackout, such as we are facing now.

Know your risks: Power outages are often assumed to be rare and unlikely events but severe weather is a major threat to power systems. Eaton’s Blackout Tracker is an interesting tool that provides a snapshot of reported outages throughout North America. To the best of our knowledge, there’s no equivalent in the Middle East, but the development of such a valuable item would be of huge benefit to companies here.

Consider your investments: “Even a small server configuration and local area network (LAN) represents an investment of tens of thousands of dollars,” says the Eaton report. “To that, add applications, management systems and critical databases, and it is clear that significant company assets depend on power that is not always dependable.”

Power problems are equal-opportunity threats: “Computers, servers and networks are just as critical to a small business as a data center is to a large enterprise,” Eaton says. “In addition to severe weather, equipment failures, lightning, copper thieves, even wayward snakes can cause power disruptions that have the potential to bring business to a halt. Look beyond generators and surge suppressors and consider an uninterruptible power system (UPS).”

Treat any IT equipment location as a data centre: “In small to medium-sized businesses the rack environment may be the data centre, but when planning this environment it is still important to consider the same logistics as in a large data centre: access control, thermal management, power protection, power distribution, cable management, flexibility and monitoring,” the Eaton report outlines.

Determine the level of power protection needed: Eaton’s advice is to consider what type of UPS, best deployment strategy and how much UPS capacity is required for your business. “Assess how much battery power you need to shut down systems or switch to backup generators in case of an emergency. If an outage extends past the limits of backup systems, power management software can orchestrate the selective, sequential shutdown of loads to extend available battery backup time,” the report concludes.
 

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