A backup diesel generator arrives at the Datagram data center at 33 Whitehall in lower Manhattan. (Photo: Datagram)

Demystifying Generator Set Ratings

Downtime and resiliency are serious considerations for all data centers. To keep a proactively healthy data center platform, it’s very important to have backup plans in motion. In very many cases, this means deploying powerful generators to maintain uptime.

However, generator sets must be capable of delivering the necessary power required for an anticipated, yet potentially unknown number of run hours per year, to ensure reliable power generation. To meet power and run-time criteria, manufacturers have developed standard ratings definitions for their equipment.

While the International Standards Organization (ISO) has developed guidelines for common rating definitions, many generator set manufacturers are using differing specifications. This whitepaper from Caterpillar directly clarifies the confusion surrounding ratings. Furthermore, the paper outlines standard classifications and discuss important considerations to help you make educated decisions when designing and specifying equipment.

Remember, many generator set manufacturers have different names or variations for their ratings, so it is important to know how those ratings compare to the ISO standards. For example, Caterpillar defines five basic generator set ratings: Emergency Standby Power (ESP), Standby (no ISO equivalent), Mission Critical Standby (no ISO equivalent), Continuous and Prime. Cat generator set ratings differ in certain respects from those defined by ISO 8528-1, but will always meet the minimum crite­ria set forth by the standard. ISO-8528 identifies four ratings:

  • Continuous power
  • Prime power
  • Limited running (LTP)
  • Emergency standby power

Download this whitepaper today to understand that ratings are important because they directly impact the efficiency and effectiveness of the selected generator set based on how it’s going to be used.  Remember, regardless of the application, generator set ratings help to ensure that customers’ power needs are met and that generating equipment is protected from premature wear. As your infrastructure continues to become more important – creating the right generator infrastructure will be critical for uptime, resiliency, and an optimally maintained data center.

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About the Author

Bill Kleyman is a veteran, enthusiastic technologist with experience in data center design, management and deployment. His architecture work includes virtualization and cloud deployments as well as business network design and implementation. Currently, Bill works as the Vice President of Strategy and Innovation at MTM Technologies, a Stamford, CT based consulting firm.

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