How to Speak Like a Data Center Geek

How to Speak Like a Data Center Geek: Power I

Jim Poole
How to Speak Like a Data Center Geek: Power I

If you’ve been following our “How to Speak Like a Data Center Geek” series, you already know the meaning of important terms such as mantrap and CRAC unit (if you’ve forgotten, cheat here). Now it’s time to up your game…Part 2 of this series tackles some key terms related to electricity in the data center. Warning: this post contains NBA (nothing but acronyms), so pay attention.

MSB – Main Switch Board directs and monitors electricity coming into the data center from the power grid. If the MSB detects a loss in voltage pressure, it will automatically kick the load over to battery backup, and eventually to generators, to avoid interruption in power.

UPS – Uninterruptible Power Supply provides backup for the entire data center in case of power outages. Protection by these battery- or flywheel-powered systems is near-instantaneous, and they fill in until a secondary power source, such as a generator, come online. When used in reference to data centers, UPS does not refer to the Men in Brown (MIBs) who provide “specialized transport and logistics services.”

ASTS – Automatic Static Transfer Switches transfer power between multiple sources – typically from an unstable source to a stable one .

PDU – Power Distributions Units distribute power to gear in cabinets and cages in a data center. They could be compared to functionaries in government agencies; you have to go through them to get to the power.

BCM – Branch Circuit Monitoring measures and monitors how much power each customer uses. These devices ensure that the power feeding into customers’ systems is operational and also tracks how much power is consumed. Note that these devices DO NOT monitor how many snacks from the data center vending machine each customer consumes.

We’ll wrap things up here, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t add that data center geeks have a thing for interconnection, since it’s essential for the enterprise to compete. Download Equinix’s IOA Playbook, which describes an interconnection-first architecture that securely connects people, locations, clouds and data.

And check out every post in the “Speak Like a Data Center Geek” series. (Please note: We welcome binge readers):

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Power I (see post above)

Part 3: Connections I

Part 4: Cloud

Part 5: Buildings

Part 6: The stuff we sell

Part 7: Security and reliability

Part 8: Connections II

Part 9: Sustainability

Part 10: Networks

Part 11: Power II


Avatar photo
Jim Poole Former Vice President, Business Development
Subscribe to the Equinix Blog