The musings of an IT Consultant

Jul 5 2008   7:30PM GMT

Power Planning

Raj Perumal Raj Perumal Profile: Raj Perumal

One of the most overlooked items during a server implementation is power planning. I have seen many administrators get excited about ordering their new servers or other network equipment, plan the outage for the day of the install and then once they have all their equipment realize that they can’t even plug them in because they either have the wrong type of outlets or they don’t have enough circuits or UPS’.

 Here are a few tips to follow when power planning:

  • Always get dual power supplies for your servers, it doesn’t cost much more to purchase these and it’s worth the extra money.
  • Always plug dual power supplies into separate UPS’ and plug the UPS’ into separate circuits. There is no point plugging them into the same UPS and/or circuit. This gives you a single point of failure and basically defeats the purpose of having two power supplies in the first place.
  • Power strips for racks with readouts for the amount of amps being drawn are great for seeing how much of a load your are placing on circuit. Many different companies sell these.
  • A cheap meter for measuring the draw on a piece of equipment can be your best friend in troubleshooting issues. Sometimes a large enough power spike during boot up can trip a breaker and you can use a meter to determine what’s going on.
  • Use an online power calculator before your installation day to determine how many circuits, UPS’, power cords, etc. you will need for all of your equipment. Then budget accordingly. It can be quite embarrasing if you don’t think about this beforehand and you get stuck up the creek without a paddle on the implementation day.
  • If you are worried about increased power costs, look into blade systems and virtualization. The amount of money and energy you can save is quite substantial.
  • Do some reading on electricity if you don’t understand all the terms. There are plenty of resources out there on the web.


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