Essential Standby Generator System Requirements for Next Generation Data Centers

Posted by on May 8, 2012

White Paper 90

Standby power generation is a key component of a high availability power system for data centers and network rooms. Information technology systems may operate for minutes or even a few hours on battery, but local power generation capability is key to achieving high availability. In locations with poor utility power, local power generation may be needed to achieve even a minimal requirement of 99.9% availability.

Generator systems with diesel or natural gas engines are, in most cases, the solution for standby power generation. A generator system includes not only the standby generator, but also the automatic transfer switch (ATS), the output distribution, and the communication or management system as shown in Figure 1. The ATS is fed by two sources, the utility and the generator, with the utility the preferred source. When the preferred source is unacceptable, the ATS automatically switches to the generator. White Paper 93, Fundamental Principles of Generators for Information Technology, provides a detailed explanation of the operational principles of generator systems.

Standby generator systems are typically used in conjunction with UPS systems. There are several issues that need to be considered when choosing, installing and operating a generator system that operates seamlessly with a UPS. This paper outlines the key problems and requirements for effective selection and operation of a generator system to support today’s mission critical data centers.

“Essential Standby Generator System Requirements for Next Generation Data Centers” Full White Paper (Download Here)

Executive Summary:

Effective standby generator system installations must address the known problems and challenges relating to current and past designs. This paper presents a categorized and prioritized overview of generator system challenges and the requirements needed to overcome them.


  • Inadequacy of current generator systems for IT managers
  • Generator system challenges in mission critical installations
  • Standby generator systems for mission critical installations


A systematic analysis of customer problems relating to generator systems provides a clear statement of direction for next generation systems. The most pressing problems related to generator systems today stem from the custom approach to their design, installation and maintenance. Legacy systems require site specific engineering and installation expertise that not only increases capital costs but also increases operational costs due to their unique management and service requirements.

In many industries, a maturity level is reached when new advances in reliability, cycle time, and cost lead to standardization and pre-engineered solutions. Designers of mission critical installations, designers of the power equipment used in them, and owners should consider whether this point has been reached.

The findings of this paper suggest the time has arrived for a new generation of integrated standby generator systems for mission critical installations.

White Paper Written By:

Matt LePard

Find out how Universal Networking Services (UNS) brings a comprehensive solution from the utility pole to the server and assists with navigating the complex waters of most size and scope of projects. Whether you are upgrading, retrofitting or developing a new design-build, UNS and its partners generate efficient, scalable, reliable and manageable critical infrastructure solutions to your organization. For the power your operation depends on, UNS and Caterpillar (MacAllister CAT – Generator Division) has diesel generator sets (12kW to 17,460kW) and natural gas generator sets (11kW to 81,050kW).  Our holistic, common sense approach lowers our clients Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and maximizes efficiencies offered by the advancements in critical power and cooling infrastructure.

Please feel free to contact us to learn more.

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