The Problem with Power
We live in the Information Age where countless
data is created, transmitted, and stored.
We live in the Electronics Age where numerous
electric-powered machines aid in business
and household tasks, as well as entertain
and inform us.
The reality of living in this time of
technological innovation is that the power
to run these machines can't keep up (at
least not yet). In many locations around
the world, electricity generation, transmission
and distribution have not evolved at the
same pace as computer and communications
equipment. What was built years ago for
powering factories producing manufactured
goods is struggling to adapt to provide
continuous, sufficient-grade power to
sensitive electronics processing valuable
What Is a Power Event?
Sags, surges, noise, spikes, blackouts…what
really happens to connected devices when
they experience a power anomaly? A lightning
strike is a frequent example, although
it is just one of countless problems that
can strike your equipment.
Imagine lightning has just struck a nearby
transformer. If the surge was powerful
enough, it travelled instantaneously through
wiring (AC, network, serial, phone lines
and more) with the electrical equivalent
force of a tidal wave. For PC users, the
surge could have travelled into your computer
via the AC outlet or phone lines. The
first casualty is usually a modem or motherboard.
Chips go next, and data is lost.
The utility responds to overvoltages by
disconnecting the grid. This creates brownouts
and blackouts. If the voltage drops low
enough, or blacks out, hard disks in computing
machinery may crash, destroying the data
stored on the disks. In all cases, work-in-progress
stored in cache is instantly lost. In
the worst case, password protection on
the hard drives can be jumbled, or the
file allocation tables may be upset, rendering
the hard disks useless.
The Costs of Downtime
In the Information Age, data is quite
valuable. It is the livelihood of
businesses across the globe, whether
in the form of financial transactions
or online purchases or customer demographics
or correspondence or spreadsheets
or any number of business applications.
The Internet has emphasized that availability
equals viability. If companies do
not have reliable solutions for the
continuing operation of their equipment,
they lose money. If one company's
Web server goes down due to blackout,
customers are apt to click over to
a competitor's. If mission-critical
computers involved in manufacturing
are damaged by a surge, inventory
runs behind and schedules are missed.
If electronic noise penetrates sensitive
testing and measurement machinery,
delays are inevitable.