Power outages

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Those of you who have been following my posts here on GeedBrainDump.com may have noticed that I often talk about power outages. Sure, they happen, but not THAT often, right ? Well, for me, it IS that often, unfortunately.

I live in an ‘urban’ city, but in a rural area. The next largest metropolitan city (Edmonton, Alberta) is over 1200 miles away. Within a 15 hour driving radius, I am in the largest populated city. As you can imagine, this means that the infrastructure we have is a bit limited, compared to major metropolitan centers. Where most of you are on electrical ‘grids’ that have built in redundancy (where you can route power via a different path should a line get cut or have problems), I don’t have that luxury. The electrical delivery system in my city is built around a ‘hub and spoke’ methodology. If someone cuts a main power line, everything that’s connected past that break goes dark until the line is fixed. There is no re-routing a different way or through a different neighbourhood. The same is actually true for our internet pipe, we only have 1 fiber optic line going south, but we’ll save that for another post.

So, what does this mean ? Well, it means that power outages are something I need to plan for when designing networks. We have one client who experiences an outage at least once a week. Yes, you read that right, their power goes out at least once a week. Usually this is only for a few minutes, but none the less, it was a consideration when we were choosing what server to install, as we needed to keep wattage to a minimum so we can run as long as possible on battery backups.

Considerations for things like designing networks aren’t universal. I’d be surprised if someone could point to me a university, college or technical institute where they teach you that power outages are a consideration when deciding on what servers to purchase and deploy. A good engineer knows how to take everything into consideration, even your surroundings and environment, when planning solutions. Remember, sometimes things are not ‘tech’ in nature can have the biggest impact on your projects.

Author

Martin Lehner

Martin Lehner is an technology professional working for an IT services firm in Whitehorse, Yukon (Canada). He has been working in the technology field for over a decade. With a degree in Business Admin and numerous industry certifications, Martin leads a team of IT professionals that provide third party support for clients. Originally starting a company to offer web development services, Martin quickly realized that clients wanted the entire spectrum of technology services. When Martin is not at work (which is not often, since his company offers 24/7 support), he is busy at home spending time with his family.

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1 Comment

  1. Jake Gardner August 6, 2014 at 4:40 am

    Where I live we experience alot of power flickers and outages. All servers that go out need to have at least 1/2 an hour of UPS backup just in case.

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