Data Center Generators

Data Center Generators

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Generators are a key to data center reliability. Supplementing a battery-based uninterruptible power supply (UPS) with an emergency generator should be considered by all data center operators. The question has become increasing important as super storms such as Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast United States knocked out utility power stations and caused many downed power lines, resulting in days and weeks of utility power loss.
Data Center Generator Delivery

Beyond disaster protection, the role of a backup generator to provide power is important when utility providers consider summer rolling blackouts and brownouts and data center operators see reduced utility service reliability. In a rolling blackout, power to industrial facilities is often shut down first. New data center managers should check the utilities contract to see if a data center is subject to such utility disconnects.

Studies show generators played a role in between 45 and 65 percent of outages in data centers with an N+1 configuration (with one spare backup generator). According to Steve Fairfax, President of MTechnology, “Generators are the most critical systems in the data center.” Mr. Fairfax was the keynote speaker at the 2011 7×24 Exchange Fall Conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

What Should You Consider Before Generator Deployment?

  • MTU-Onsite-Energy-Data-Center-Gas-Generators
    MTU Onsite Energy Gas Generator

    Generator Classification / Type. A data center design engineer and the client should determine if the generator will be classified as an Optional Standby power source for the data center, a Code Required Standby power source for the data center, or an Emergency back-up generator that also provides standby power to the data center.

  • Generator Size. When sizing a generator it is critical to consider the total current IT power load as well as expected growth of that IT load. Consideration must also be made for facility supporting infrastructure (i.e. UPS load) requirements. The generator should be sized by an engineer, and specialized sizing software should be utilized.
  • Fuel Type. The most common types of generators are diesel and gas. There are pros and cons to both as diesel fuel deliveries can become an issue during a natural disaster and gas line feeds can be impacted by natural disasters. Making the right choice for your data center generator depends on several factors. The fuel type needs to be determined based upon local environmental issues, (i.e. Long Island primarily uses natural gas to protect the water aquifer under the island), availability, and the required size of the standby/emergency generator.
  • Deployment Location. Where will the generator be installed? Is it an interior installation or an exterior installation? An exterior installation requires the addition of an enclosure. The enclosure may be just a weather-proof type, or local building codes may require a sound attenuated enclosure. An interior installation will usually require some form of vibration isolation and sound attenuation between the generator and the building structure.
  • Cummins-Lean-Burn-Industrial-Gas-Generators
    Cummins Lean-Burn Gas Generator

    Exhaust and Emissions Requirements. Today, most generator installations must meet the new Tier 4 exhaust emissions standards. This may depend upon the location of the installation (i.e. city, suburban, or out in the country).

  • Required Run-time. The run-time for the generator system needs to be determined so the fuel source can be sized (i.e. the volume of diesel or the natural gas delivery capacity to satisfy run time requirements).

What Should You Consider During Generator Deployment?

  • Commissioning The commissioning of the generator system is basically the load testing of the installation plus the documentation trail for the selection of the equipment, the shop drawing approval process, the shipping documentation, receiving and rigging the equipment into place. This process also should include the construction documents for the installation project.
  • Generac-industrial-gas-generators
    Generac Generator

    Load Testing Typically, a generator system is required to run at full load for at least four (4) hours. It will also be required to demonstrate that it can handle step load changes from 25% of its rated kilowatt capacity to 100% of its rated kilowatt capacity. If the load test can be performed with a non-linear load bank that has a power factor that matches the specification of the generator(s) that is the best way to load test. Typically, a non-linear load bank with a power factor between 75% and 85% is utilized.

  • Servicing The generator(s) should be serviced after the load test and commissioning is completed, prior to release for use.

What Should You Consider After Generator Deployment?

  • Caterpillar Industrial Diesel GeneratorsService Agreement. The generator owner should have a service agreement with the local generator manufacturer’s representative.
  • Preventative Maintenance. Preventative Maintenance should be performed at least twice a year. Most generator owners who envision their generator installation as being critical to their business execute a quarterly maintenance program.
  • Monitoring. A building monitoring system should be employed to provide immediate alerts if the generator and ATS systems suffer a failure, or become active because the normal power source has failed. The normal power source is typically from the electric utility company, but it could be an internal feeder breaker inside the facility that has opened and caused an ATS to start the generator(s) in an effort to provide standby power.
  • Regular Testing. The generator should be tested weekly for proper starting, and it should be load tested monthly or quarterly to determine that it will carry the critical load plus the required standby load and any emergency loads that it is intended to support.
  • bloom-energy-server
    The Bloom Box by Bloom Energy

    Maintenance. The generator manufacturer or third party maintenance organization will notify the generator owner when important maintenance milestones are reached such as minor rebuilds and major overhauls. The run hours generally determine when these milestones are reached, but other factors related to the operational characteristics of the generator(s) also apply to determining what needs to be done and when it needs to be done.

 PTS Data Center Solutions provides generator sets for power ratings from 150 kW to 2 MW. We can develop the necessary calculations to properly size your requirement and help you with generator selection, procurement, site preparation, rigging, commissioning, and regular maintenance of your generator.

To learn more about PTS recommended data center generators, contact us or visit (in alphabetical order):

To learn more about PTS Data Center Solutions available to support your Data Center Electrical Equipment & Systems needs, contact us or visit:

Quorum onQ Archive Vault for Backup and Disaster Recovery

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Quorum onQ Archive Vault provides customers with the ability to create long term archive backup of their critical data. The Archive Vault solution assists organizations with compliance needs as well as increasing operational efficiency, mitigating risks and enables litigation readiness. The Archive Vault solution is an extension to our award winning and patented onQ™ High Availability solution that provides everything you need for immediate One-Click Recovery™ of all your critical systems after any storage, system or site failure. The onQ solution maintains up-to-date ready-to-run virtual machine clones of your critical systems that can run right on the appliance, transparently taking over for failed servers within minutes.

Quorum onQ Archive Vault for Backup & Disaster Recovery (BDR)
Quorum onQ Archive Vault for Backup & Disaster Recovery (BDR)

Comprehensive Solution

As an add-on to onQ, customers benefit from onQ’s High Availability and Disaster Recovery capabilities as well as long term backup and retention.


A single instance of the Quorum onQ Archive Vault can be extended to more than 200 TBs across 8 disks storage modules. It is possible to have multiple instances of the Archive Vault, thus allowing unlimited growth potential.

Ease of Use

Quorum onQ Archive Vault appliance can seamlessly pull backups from onQ. Archive Vault can be configured locally and/or remotely to create a repository that is off-site for reliable disaster recovery capabilities.

Major Features

  • Virtually unlimited growth potential
  • Leverages High Availability (HA) & Disaster Recovery (DR) compute resources, lowering cost & U space
  • Multiple HA & DR tenants/appliances can access a single Archive Vault
  • Retains customer data de-duplicated in the archive repository
  • Selectable level of redundancy, HA only, DR only, HA & DR
  • Archive repository data encryption option
Hardware Features

  • 2U 12-drive add-on storage module to the onQ HA and/or DR appliance
  • Supports hardware alerting
  • Supports “spin-down” of unused disk drives to conserve energy
  • Supports hot-swap disk drives and RAID-6 configuration for extra reliability
  • Utilizes a NV-CACHE battery-backed disk controller to protect data during unexpected power outages
  • Utilizes redundant power supplies
Scheduling Features

  • Allows for scheduling of archive backups on monthly, quarterly, and year schedules, with appropriate expiration
  • Maximum yearly retention is unlimited
  • Daily and weekly backups will reside in the existing onQ repository

To learn more about PTS consulting services to support Data Center Consulting, Data Center Management, and Enterprise IT Consulting, contact us or visit:

Quorum onQ Appliance for Backup and Disaster Recovery

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Quorum® onQ™ appliance was engineered from the ground up to provide enterprise level Disaster Recovery Solution without the complexity or cost of traditional solutions. onQ™ One-Click Recovery™ puts all of your applications and data back online within minutes of a storage, system or an entire site failure. Deploy onQ™ to meet your needs—locally for High Availability (HA), remotely for Disaster Recovery or both as well as Hybrid Cloud Disaster Recovery Solution. onQ™ appliances are offered in a range of sizes to match your requirements and also as a service via a hybrid cloud solution.

Quorum onQ Appliance for Backup & Disaster Recovery (BDR)
Easy Continuity & Comfort


  • One-Click Recovery™ system
  • One-Click Testing
  • Replicates anywhere—compressed & encrypted
  • Protection for storage, system & site failures
  • Integrated server monitoring
  • Email and text alerts
  • Scheduled email health reports

Data Protection & Recovery

  • Full local backup of entire system
  • Supports physical and virtual servers
  • Sub file-level incremental updates
  • Global deduplication at source
  • Powerful exclusion rules
  • Restore to any snapshot level
  • File-level recovery to any snapshot level
  • Windows Share Restore

Flexible Deployment

  • Offsite or in the cloud
  • Bandwidth throttling
  • Internal and External storage
  • No GB or monthly storage charges
  • Supports all apps without add-ons
Ultra-efficient Incremental Updates—RPO as low as 15 minutes
  • Incremental Forever: After the initial full image is made at installation, onQ™ only transfers one copy of any changes since the last interval.
  • Just the Changes: We detect not only which files have changed, but which parts of the files have changed so when that multi-gigabyte database has one record change, we don’t copy the entire file.
  • Deduplication: We only send the parts of files that don’t already exist on any other server we’re protecting. That means that if the same “chunk” exists on any server protected by the appliance, it doesn’t need to be sent.
Windows Share Restore
  • Allows browsing and retrieving files directly off of the onQ or Archive Vault repository by mapping a share on to a windows machine.
One-Click Recovery™
  • Current Forever: Each ultra-efficient update is merged into the virtual machine recovery nodes, which are full current images.
  • Ready-to-Run: We don’t wait until you need them to build your virtual recovery nodes, allowing one-click recovery at any time.
  • Point-in-Time Recovery: Even though we merge the changes into the ready-to-run recovery node, you can restore files or an entire system to a prior state.
Server Monitoring
  • We continuously check the health of your servers, sending an alert if any service interruption is detected.
Site-to-Site Replication
  • We compress and encrypt changes and synchronize them with a remote appliance. You get instant remote recovery for complete disaster protection.
Redundant storage
  • Our appliances provide hot-swap protection from any single-disk failure, and with your remote onQ, you’ll have additional protection.
Network Storage Support
  • You can use standard IP network storage to extend or replace our integrated storage.

Quorum onQ™ Specifications

Quorum onQ™ appliances are sized based on how many Recovery Nodes you need and how much data you need to protect. Storage is always expandable, so you’re not locked into a rigid platform. With our incremental-forever and deduplication technologies, the amount of new data that needs to be sent to the appliance per snapshot is usually quite small, minimizing not only storage requirements, but also reducing the load on your LAN and WAN.

  1. Select one appliance to be placed on your LAN for High Availability
  2. Select a second appliance to be synchronized to your own remote site

To learn more about PTS consulting services to support Data Center Consulting, Data Center Management, and Enterprise IT Consulting, contact us or visit:

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