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  #1  
Old 09-20-2011, 12:26 AM
byte72 byte72 is offline
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Default No UPS?

I read an article about Data Centers designed without UPS or generators. The article stated that Yahoo is considering going without UPS for several of their future Data Center projects. The theory is to use the network to route around any power outages. Do you really think this is a feasible concept? It seems kind of risky.
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Old 09-20-2011, 03:29 AM
raid raid is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byte72 View Post
I read an article about Data Centers designed without UPS or generators. The article stated that Yahoo is considering going without UPS for several of their future Data Center projects. The theory is to use the network to route around any power outages. Do you really think this is a feasible concept? It seems kind of risky.
You first need to define what you mean by risky. Are you talking about the risk to the IT or the risk to the business by not delivering the required uptime to a customer?

There is a risk to the IT due to power surges, sags, spikes and brown outs, so you will need it consider your surge protection for the site. You also need to be confident as to how your IT will respond to poor power quality. Power is not just about being on or off, it can also be out of tolerance.

A full dual site model does work well so if customer traffic is shared between two sites already, then most of the hard work has already been done.
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Old 09-21-2011, 08:37 AM
cpios cpios is offline
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What risk do you mean?
What are you afraid of?
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Old 09-21-2011, 02:08 PM
byte72 byte72 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by raid View Post
You first need to define what you mean by risky. Are you talking about the risk to the IT or the risk to the business by not delivering the required uptime to a customer?

There is a risk to the IT due to power surges, sags, spikes and brown outs, so you will need it consider your surge protection for the site. You also need to be confident as to how your IT will respond to poor power quality. Power is not just about being on or off, it can also be out of tolerance.

A full dual site model does work well so if customer traffic is shared between two sites already, then most of the hard work has already been done.
Raid, I was considering both points as part of my comment about it being "risky", as one (risk to IT) leads to the other (risk to business). Perhaps because the need for constant power has been so ingrained that to do otherwise seems like a gamble. I understand that companies considering this are massive and have the network to support such a venture. I can't say I would disagree with the cost savings or the positive environmental impact of a smaller carbon footprint if that is the goal as well, but if there is more downtime for the customer you risk losing them. If I am missing something, I would love to hear it. The article was short and more of a press release, so this discussion is interesting.
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Old 09-22-2011, 12:24 AM
raid raid is offline
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In a previous life the company I worked for had a development site (where all non-production systems lived). When the UPS died we just left all of the hardware on raw supply. For the next three years the site lost power twice, once due to bad weather and the second time due to the FM flicking the wrong switch (the FM always gets the blame). The fault rate on the hardware was no higher than normal and this site had no surge diverters.

Dual site operation is the same, with or without the UPS, remember this is the purpose for which it was designed.
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Old 09-22-2011, 12:14 PM
byte72 byte72 is offline
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The fault rate on the hardware was no higher than normal and this site had no surge diverters.
This is essentially what the reasoning is behind being able to create a data center without UPS or generators. In examining the fault rates it was noted that it was no higher than normal and downtime was no different with than without. With the push for companies to "go green" I see this being one more way for data centers to go in that direction.

Thank you for the dialogue.
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  #7  
Old 09-22-2011, 01:16 PM
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KenB KenB is offline
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I think dual- or multi-site operation without backup power aims to provide the same service continuity by using load balancing and excess processing, storage and networking capacity while removing the UPS and generator. With rapid workload mobility provided by virtualization and good load balancing, this should work fine in certain situations. There may be some performance issues, though, introduced by distances between sites. I can see this working better for multiple sites, where a site's worth of excess capacity is distributed among several locations and is used to accommodate the extra workload in case a site fails. With dual sites, each site would have to have double its normal capacity. As with power and cooling infrastructure, N+1 is more affordable for larger values of N.

The real test may be simple economics: Is the cost of UPS, batteries, generator, electrical wiring and switching infrastructure and maintenance required for backup power greater or less than the cost of extra servers, disks, networking gear, cabling, software licenses and maintenance required for the excess capacity?

I'd love to hear from anyone who is using this strategy successfully.

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Old 09-22-2011, 02:27 PM
DedicatedNow DedicatedNow is offline
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I don't know. I would have to read sever quality papers on this to really have an opinion. Seems risky to everyone involved to me - but perhaps I am not thinking 'big' enough.
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Old 09-22-2011, 10:59 PM
raid raid is offline
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One thing I should have stated was that over 50% of the hardware in this site was greater than 5 years old, only 20% of the hardware was new. Management didn’t care about equipment damage because all hardware was purchased with a 3 year warranty and once that expired they dropped all support for hardware at this site to save money. The loss of a development platform had no impact on the business.

If I were to build a site for this purpose I will always provided extensive surge protection.

In my experience, whenever I suggested two T1 (or less) sites to provide redundancy & diversity, management would go to water. They would typically say “That’s not current best practice” (whatever that is). In reality they are worried about who would get the blame if something went wrong, even though the cost difference was less than one quarter of what they ended up doing (two T3).

To undertake such a change would require managers with vision and leadership… anybody know one?
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Old 09-26-2011, 07:34 PM
byte72 byte72 is offline
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To undertake such a change would require managers with vision and leadership… anybody know one?
Well I certainly do not work for any in my company. They collect their pay checks and as long as they get their raises on time, they care less about improving our functionality. Your issues sound very similar to mine...I work for a company that has old infrastructure. I often joke that MacGyver keeps us afloat with paperclips and chewing gum. To see where other companies are going is like watching a Disney movie to me....a pure fairytale.
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