User Question: Should I be worried about my APCs power protection with Hurricane Dorian coming?
Answered By a CTO: Well, not if you recently checked and tested them. Sorry, to pull a “Monday Morning Quarterback” remark on you.
I will provide as much advice as I can to assist you. First a bit of general information:
APC is the top company in the market that produces uninterruptible power supplies (UPS). It often comes with a software program called PowerChute which monitors for a power outage or surge in power, and allows servers, workstations, switches, firewalls… to be shutdown. This is very important when there is a possibility of an extended power outage. While the UPS is a battery backup, it will run out of power based on the type of battery it has, how many and what type of devices are relying upon it, how long the outage is, and other criteria. In addition, like a cell phone or any other battery, if it is old, it may not hold as great a change, thus reducing the time your devices will stay available, also called “runtime”.
You can read more about it here at APC’s website: APC Power Considerations
To answer your question, if your current power usage and protection has not been professionally tested periodically by a qualified IT Services firm, there may be a considerable danger. Even if we ignore the potential downtime from Hurricane Dorian, it is possible that if the devices connected to the UPS are not working properly, (such as if the battery is not working – check for a red light!) or if it was not configured correctly, any connected hardware may just crash down. In that case, when power is restored, the result may be crashed servers and potentially lost data.
At this point, my recommendation would be to assess the risk. I am assuming you do not have a Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery plan, based on the fact that those are more costly and complex to setup and manage than the scenario we are reviewing. As such, you may want to minimize risk by powering down your servers, firewall, switches, and even unplug the UPS from the wall when everything is shut down. This will ensure that when power restores, a Jolt Of Power won’t damage the hardware.
As with all business decisions, sometimes minimizing risk with some lost productivity is a wiser decision than taking a much larger and potentially costly gamble.
I hope you and your family (and network) are safe and sound.