Generator and UPS Power for Datacenter

Industry: Energy & Power, Film & Plastics


Industry standards have created a number of levels to identify datacenter reliability relating to power distribution. To attain a certain level of reliability for a datacenter, specific power distribution requirements must be met. For a client's datacenter with a global reach, increasing reliability and distribution could have powerful benefits.

Before working with Optimation, a client's datacenter located in Rochester, NY, had limited backup power in the form of dual UPS systems. However, these UPS systems didn't provide redundant power and were different sizes; if one failed, there was no guarantee that the other could pick up the demand. The under-floor power distribution to the equipment was difficult to manage and the dual feeds to equipment didn't always come from the differing UPS systems. In addition to redundancy issues, the power system was vulnerable to the impact of a utility outage. If service from the client's energy provider failed, the entire system would shut down. Because the datacenter served worldwide operations, this posed a big risk with an even bigger impact. Recognizing the risk, the client called on Optimation to provide design and build services to give the datacenter dependable power and improved power distribution.


An Optimation electrical engineer/high voltage specialist led an engineering investigation to determine various alternative solutions to provide the datacenter with more reliable power. Optimation did a building code analysis and coordinated with the client's insurance carrier for design requirements. After investigation and planning, Optimation determined that an 800kw generator should be installed in the building to provide the stability needed.

Optimation designed and constructed a generator room at the client's site, working with limited access space and close tolerances for equipment installation. The generator room included a sprinkler system, provided by Optimation pipefitters; lighting, emergency lights and fire alarms, provided by Optimation's E&I mechanics; and a generator combustion exhaust and air supply, provided by Optimation sheet metal fabricators. To create sufficient space for the generator exhaust ducts, sheet metal workers also rerouted the existing air exhaust systems.

Optimation also planned to upgrade the unreliable UPS systems. E&I mechanics installed two new 275kva UPS units, and structural engineers designed a new UPS room adjacent to the client's existing UPS room. E&I mechanics reconnected existing datacenter HVAC water supply pumps to generator powered circuits, existing datacenter HVAC units to generator powered panels, and existing datacenter distribution circuits to the new UPS systems. These reconnections provide redundant power distribution to the datacenter equipment, such as servers.

With the upgrade, if one UPS system fails, the other will be able to pick up the load. Optimation also increased the UPS capacity to account for potential future expansion, and revamped under-floor power distribution, so that the redundant power to the datacenter servers would originate from different UPS systems.


The standby generator installation allows the datacenter reliability to be greatly improved to withstand power outages without impacting their datacenter equipment for worldwide operations. As a result, the client now has the capability of redundant power for its datacenter equipment, so the client is able to withstand any piece of equipment failure. Our close interaction with the client's safety representative allowed the project to be executed with no injuries or environmental incidents. Detailed discussions and coordination allowed the equipment to be started up and tied in with minimal impact to the existing operating datacenter equipment.

This project was completed on time and under budget, in large part due to Optimation's Concept to Completion approach to projects. Optimation's design/build concept allowed the client to save money from a contract management standpoint: the client didn't have the red tape of managing multiple contractors; one Optimation project manager oversaw the whole project. The complete team of engineers, designers and skilled tradesmen worked seamlessly together to overcome project challenges that may have derailed the schedule or eaten into the budget.

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  • Energy & Power
  • Film & Plastics

  • Construction Management
  • Electrical and Instrumentation Design
  • Electrical and Instrumentation Engineering
  • Electrical and Instrumentation Mechanics
  • Machinists and Millwrights
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Pipefitting
  • Project Management
  • Rigging and Crane Operation
  • Sheet Metal Fabrication
  • Structural Engineering

  • Building Services Design
  • Electrical Codes (NEC) / Electrical Safety
  • High Voltage Electrical
  • Installation / Dismantlement

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