Emergency Generators: Making it Possible for the Show to Go On

Just like for any plant, it is critical for the data center to sustain minimal to no interruptions to normal processes. The amount of (often sensitive) data housed in the data center servers makes it imperative that data centers continue to run, no matter the conditions.
This is why backup generators are so important. In the event of a power outage, backup generators allow the servers to continue to function—an absolute necessity. This is also why this next post in our data center maintenance series will be dedicated to emergency generators.

The following is a list of the standard components of a data center power system:

  • Utility power—main source of power
  • Emergency generator—backup power source when main source goes down
  • Switch gear—routes utility or emergency generator power throughout the facility
  • Automatic transfer switch—routes utility or emergency generator power to switch gear
  • Uninterrupted power supply—including battery bank, charger, and inverter

Components in the data center are broken up into critical and non-critical. Critical components will be given priority in the event of utility power failure.

When utility power is lost in a data center, the emergency generator plays a critical role:

  • The uninterrupted power source (UPS) recognizes the loss of utility power and may provide temporary power backup
  • The emergency generator automatically starts
  • Switch gear routes power to critical and non-critical components
  • The emergency generator takes over normal and necessary data center power functions
  • Once normal power resumes, the automatic transfer switch routes power back to the utility and the emergency generator ceases function

You can see how integral an emergency generator is to the life of the data center, which is why it is critical that you understand how they function.

Our next post will cover the importance of precision measurement skills for those working in data centers.

by Acoem contributor | June 13, 2022
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