Critical Considerations for Data Center Load Bank Testing

Comrent is providing solutions for mission-critical power testing infrastructure.

Data center load bank testing helps you detect problems resulting from faulty designs, improper settings, and defective or damaged equipment. Load banks help provide a rigorous testing environment that validates performance and identifies issues to avoid downtime.

Few, if any, data center operations can survive a power outage unscathed. In many cases, data centers suffer debilitating financial losses from downtime. Using load banks for data center commissioning helps lower serious risks

Consider these eye-opening findings:In 2016, the Ponemon Institute conducted a study on the cost of data center outages. The goal was to produce a benchmark report that estimated the total costs associated with an unplanned data center outage. According to the study’s findings, the overall average cost of unexpected downtime was $740,357 per incident, up considerably from $627,418 per incident reported in the organization’s 2013 report.

Each year, the Blackout Tracker Annual Report calculates the average total cost per minute of an unplanned data center outage. In 2010, downtime cost a data center approximately $5,600 per minute. By 2015, the cost climbed to a staggering $8,800 per minute.

A 2011 study by the Uptime Institute calculated the average outage costs $5,000 per minute or $300,000 per hour. The study's researchers also determined the average power outage lasts 90 minutes. Therefore, the average cost of a single power outage reaches $505,000.These findings show that data center power outages can lead to significant financial damages. Any loss of power, even for just a minute, can be costly for your organization. However, you can minimize the risk of unplanned downtime in your data center operation.

Data center load bank testing helps ensure the most reliable operation possible. Using load banks to test electrical loads during data center commissioning minimizes the risk of a costly outage down the road. Avoiding significant financial losses because of unplanned outages is the number one reason to use load banks during data center commissioning.

How Data Center Load Bank Testing Helps Avoid Power Outages

Testing power systems after installation is a critical step in data center commissioning. Load bank testing ensures the electromechanical systems supporting a data center will function as expected per manufacturer’s specifications.

Some have used the power grid to conduct your load test instead of load banks. However, using the grid leads to issues such as:

  • Increased Risk of Outages -- When connected to the grid, you increase the likelihood your operation will experience a power outage. You have no control over the grid's power delivery system or the grid operator's ability to meet your energy demands.
  • Inability to Control the Load -- Unlike the grid, data center load bank testing provides a precise, controllable load so you can test your systems at peak capacities. If you don’t test your data center operation at maximum load, you may not know how your equipment will perform at peak loads. This uncertainty can lead to future outages.

Load banks allow you to manage the load delivered to each of your critical systems, including backup diesel generators, uninterruptible power supplies and DC batteries, power distribution units, switching gear and IT equipment. When you put equipment under a designed load, you’re better able to identify possible faults, correct them and validate the reliability of your equipment at maximum design loads.

  • Lack of Schedule Control – When you use the grid for load testing, you must rely on the grid operator for scheduling. Using load banks provides greater control over scheduling your data center commissioning. By keeping load testing on schedule, you’re able to meet critical project deadlines and won’t risk delaying your facility launch.
  • Inability to Test HVAC Equipment – Integrating load banks into your data center for testing allows you to evaluate the computer room HVAC equipment. Load banks generate substantial heat. So you’ll be able to see how well your HVAC system cools the environment.

Why Your Load Bank Vendor MattersDeciding to use load banks to load test your data center is only part of the equation. You must also partner with an experienced load bank vendor to ensure a successful outcome. The best load bank provider will focus 100% on load bank equipment and testing processes. It will house an extensive fleet of advanced equipment so the right equipment gets deployed for every test.

The right load bank provider will offer a rigorous inspection and testing process. The provider tests all equipment extensively before shipping to your project. With the utmost attention to safety, an experienced provider can guarantee all equipment will work on-site, and testing will go as planned.

An expert load bank vendor will meet stringent quality standards to ensure the highest levels of safety for equipment and personnel. They will staff specially trained technicians who earn advanced certifications in their field. This combination of properly tested equipment and well-trained technicians provides a high level of confidence in conducting a successful load test.

By performing rigorous data center commissioning with a proven load bank vendor, you can minimize the likelihood of a future power outage. Creating more reliable performance and increasing availability with load bank testing could save your operation hundreds of thousands of dollars and considerably reduce downtime costs.

Our load bank experts are ready to help ensure your system is successfully interconnected. Comrent provides a complimentary consultation to review your project and propose the right load bank solution for your requirements. Contact us today.

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