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Volta Data Centres Blog

When all the lights go out, how well will your London data centre cope?

Posted by Volta Newsroom on 14-Jan-2015 13:11:48

Volta_exterior_low-610520-editedTowards the end of 2014, National Grid warned that the UK could face black-outs and power outages if the country was to experience a particularly harsh winter. With areas of the midlands having already experienced heavy snow over Christmas and the possibility of more to come, organisations need to be sure that their London data centre has adequate back-up facilities in place to cope effectively should the power go out.

For London based businesses, power consumption is often on the list of concerns – but typically this is from a perspective of cost reduction rather than concerns about a shortage. For the majority of organisations the availability of electricity is often taken for granted, particularly as power cuts in London are few and far between and don’t often last that long. However, for those businesses that are dependent on systems housed in a London data centre, the resilience of the data centre to a power outage is critical and an important consideration in the selection process.

Just as a data centre is only as good as its connectivity, a continuous service demands a robust power supply. All data centres have a dual power supply from the grid, as well as some form of resiliency or back up from multiple batteries and/or generators. However, most urban data centres are limited to 11KV of power derived from a single grid substation – meaning that if that goes down, the data centre will lose both its grid feeds.

A data centre should take dual feeds from different substations to provide true resilience – however, given the limitations regarding power supply in London this is becoming harder and harder to achieve creating potentially huge risks for Managed Services providers.

Volta Data Centre benefits from two separate 33kV supplies from two wholly owned and   dedicated transformers. These two separate on-site supplies from the substations in our basement provide two direct feeds on separate redundant grid rings, providing a level of resilience that no other central London facility can match. In the unlikely event both of these grid rings were to fail, whilst a considerable amount of London would be in complete darkness, at Volta our resilient backup generators will ensure that the lights will never go out at our Great Sutton Street site.


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