Maximum power protection

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Telecoms provider Cable & Wireless recently quadrupled its Guernsey operations with three new hosting facilities, all dependent on a clean and secure supply of electricity and standby power from Riello UPS.

Cable & Wireless' IP/IT Engineering Manager Rik Toms, said: "It's not just that we need continuous uptime from our computer and business systems. As providers of secure hosting, our customers rely on our ability to deliver it too. It's a chain reaction - if we go down, they go down and so do their customers."

Power failure has been known to damage a company's reputation and the future prosperity of business - as well as computer equipment.

Unprecedented growth in online business over the last twelve months has lead to a dramatic increase in C&W's need for rack space at its Guernsey hosting facilities. To address this, Riello has installed one of its most resilient UPS solutions, using the latest Riello UPS Master Plus energy-efficient designs and ensuring maximum power protection with as small a footprint as possible.

A two-unit (2 x 400kVA) parallel-redundant system and a three-unit (3 x 200kVA) parallel-redundant (N+1) were both considered but the parallel-redundant (N+1) option was adopted for its ability to meet objectives - including an estimated 35 per cent increase in available rack space and optimum resilience. It also balances power capability with the avoidance of expensive over-specification and a greater need for power-hungry air-conditioning. Master Plus has a small footprint (its smallest configuration is only 0.64 square metres).

"With the N+1, the UPS units can share the load; and if one goes down, the other two can still cope - it's pretty much fail-safe," Toms explains.

A second-line of protection comes from Cable & Wireless' four 440kVA, one 600kVA and one 1MVA standby generators.

The UPS bridges the gap between a mains power failure and generator start-up using a battery set capable of running for 20 minutes. It continuously filters and conditions the voltage, keeping it to within specified levels to maximise performance and minimise equipment wear-and-tear in the face of the power sags, surges, brownouts and fluctuations that can damage hardware and cause data loss or corruption - particularly in a highly equipped environment such as this.

Work started mid-summer in 2007, with a commitment that all facilities would be on-line by November. In fact, the project was completed in just 77 days thanks to meticulous planning and out-of-hours working.

Riello UPS also installed PowerShield³ software, which allows the Cable & Wireless team (internally) or Riello (externally) to carry out UPS monitoring and management.