Smart Grid

July 02, 2012

OnRamp Claims 100 Percent Uptime Despite Anticipated Texas Power Grid Shortages

OnRamp Access, a collocation provider based in Austin, Tex., claims 100 percent reliability in the face of a crunch on the state's power grid.

“Without an adequate supply of power, it is hard to guarantee the reliability of systems and accessibility of data maintained through an ‘in-house’ data storage operation,” OnRamp Founder Chad Kissinger said. “OnRamp boasts several advantages in the maintenance and delivery of power required for its client’s racks, which provides assurance for its customers considering the future straining of the power grid expected from the region.”

ERCOT, which operates the electric grid for most of Texas, recently released a report that anticipates shortages of power due to increased demand and the inability for power generation facilities to keep up. ERCOT struggled to power the state in 2011, resorting to rotating outages in the winter to keep the grid functioning.

In the “Capacity, Demands and Reserves (CDR) Report” released in May, ERCOT predicts decreased energy production and increased demand of electricity by 2014. This means that the grid has lower target capacities for dealing with emergencies that can damage infrastructure, which is important in a state that often experiences severe weather.

The report only has more bad news for businesses trying to keep their servers running in the Lone Star State. The ability of the grid to keep up is only expected to worsen for a decade before rebounding in 2022.

Downtime means not only lost time, but in many cases, lost money. In health care applications, the inability to access patient data can even cost lives.

OnRamp has several measures in place that it says gives them “100 percent uptime.” While most data centers have enough backup power to keep their servers up, OnRamp can power the entire data center if the grid goes down. This means that the company can keep its servers running and cooled even with record high temperatures causing strain on the main power system.

Additionally, OnRamp gives servers extra protection against outages and power spikes by using double conversion in its Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) units, as well as Power Distribution Units (PDUs) to protect its servers from shocks. The company operates at an “n+1” level of redundancy, meaning that one component can fail or be taken down for maintenance and the data center will still run smoothly.

The company also draws its power from a high-priority substation that also serves an AMD semiconductor factory, a Veterans Affairs hospital and the Austin Energy (News - Alert) control center.

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Edited by Rachel Ramsey