Have You Checked Your Data Center Batteries?

Batteries have emerged as significant contributors in several recent data center outages, underscoring the need to monitor and maintain battery banks. Here’s a recap:

  • Battery failure was cited as the root cause of a May 23 outage at HostDime and Surpass Hosting. “The diagnosis conducted revealed there was a fault within a battery string which is connected to the UPS. It is this fault that disabled the UPS from being able to fully sustain continuous power to the load. … While the age of the battery supply being employed was well within the manufacturer’s life span expectancy, the entire battery supply was replaced with a new set.”
  • Battery issues were also noted in a June 21 downtime event at AdHost in Seattle. “Very early indications suggest that the underlying nature of this failure was a significant drop in amperage from the battery strings which might have caused, for an as yet unknown reason, the (UPS) unit to go into an uncontrolled over-voltage situation to compensate. The end result was significant heat and smoke damage to the UPS unit.”

Advocates of flywheel (rotary UPS) technology say they are preferable to batteries, contending that repeated brief “bumps” to grid power can affect the life expectancy of the battery.

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About the Author

Rich Miller is the founder and editor at large of Data Center Knowledge, and has been reporting on the data center sector since 2000. He has tracked the growing impact of high-density computing on the power and cooling of data centers, and the resulting push for improved energy efficiency in these facilities.